Cedric Ogbuehi joins fellow first-rounders Willie Anderson and Andre Smith as Opening Day right tackles.
The Bengals have a new starting right tackle Sunday in New York against the Jets (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) when Cedric Ogbuehi is expected to make his first NFL start in a career offensive line coach Paul Alexander predicts will be "very, very successful."
A new Opening Day tackle is a headline in the world of Alexander and head coach Marvin Lewis.
It's a major, if not underrated reason why the Bengals have had solid quarterback play in Lewis' tenure.
In his 13 openers, Lewis had two left tackles start 12 of them with Andrew Whitworth holding down the fort in seven of them and Levi Jones in five. When Whitworth missed his only two games since 2009 with a knee problem, Anthony Collins started the 2013 opener in Chicago.
Lewis has had a few more Opening Day right tackles. Ogbuehi, the No. 1 pick in 2015, becomes his sixth. But only Willie Anderson (5) and Andre Smith (5) have started more than one. Ogbuehi is the latest in a line of first-round right tackles, starting with Anderson in 1996 and Smith in 2009. Anderson started every opener he was under Lewis before Stacy Andrews, Collins, and Dennis Roland each started the next three.
Once Smith got settled in 2011 he didn't miss an opener and has now passed the torch, a move Alexander said could have happened by now.
"He's not a rookie," Alexander said.
He's right, but Ogbuehi missed the first six games last year rehabbing his torn ACL.
"When he came back Week Six he should have started Week Seven," said Alexander, who has been adamant about Ogbuehi since Day One.
"He's a rare athlete. He's got all the components," said Alexander, who gave Ogbuehi (toe) a full bill of health. He's ready to play. He's a very good player. He's not just an athlete. He's a very good lineman and football player with the right mentality. He's got the right temperament. He's bright, he's a team player. He's got everything."
He will Sunday when he gets that first NFL start.
DUNLAP SALUTES JOHNSON: if there is such a thing as glacial intensity, Bengals right end Michael Johnson has it. This brew of heat and calm has been a part of three AFC North titles since he came into the league in 2009 and earlier in the week his teammates recognized it when they voted him his first Captain's C.
It sound likes his tag-team partner on the left end, Carlos Dunlap, gave him his vote.
"Absolutely," Dunlap said before Wednesday's practice. "Mike is the captain of our team. He's more of a vocal leader. He's one of these guys he's vocal and he leads by example. I try to do things the right way and lead by example, but I'm not as vocal as Mike."
On Monday, Johnson talked about how he had mentors on the defensive line when he broke in. He watched nose tackle Domata Peko and end Robert Geathers lead. And even John Thornton, the defensive tackle who retired the year Johnson was drafted, stayed around town and helped him get involved in the community as he became a two-way leader.
"Mike is a guy that people look to and ask him questions about difficult situations or when they need help with something on and off the field," Dunlap said. "That's what you need in a leader. You can't just be a leader on Sundays. You just can't be a leader on just a normal day during the week. You have to be a leader every day. I feel like Mike Johnson brings that to our defense."
Dunlap is a good candidate on defense and is no doubt a future captain. So is linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who has been a captain. Safety George Iloka is also ready and will have his day. And there are others when you look at guys like cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, safety Shawn Williams, and middle linebacker Rey Maualuga, who already sets the huddle.
"We do have a lot of guys on our defense that could (be captain)," Dunlap said. "But very few would do it every single day like Mike Johnson, so that's why we voted him as a captain."
Good news and some bad news in the effort to gauge where the Bengals' health is. After practicing Monday for the first time in a about a month, slot cornerback Darqueze Dennard (ankle) and tight end Tyler Kroft (knee) were out there again Wednesday as the Bengals worked in shoulder pads, helmets, and shorts on the Paul Brown Stadium practice fields. Dennard was listed as limited but everyone else was full go. Also back out there were tackles Cedric Ogbuehi (toe) and Jake Fisher (ankle, knee) after they worked Monday following injuries that took them out for a couple of weeks.
Also going full were two players who missed the last two pre-season games with nicks, cornerback Adam Jones (calf) and running back Rex Burkhead (shoulder). Also full was center T.J. Johnson after his concussion Aug. 28 in Jacksonville.
But Pat Sims (Achilles) didn't go as the defensive tackle spot keeps getting pounded. They only had one backup tackle Wednesday, DeShawn Williams, who makes his NFL debut Sunday, but indications are Sims is going to be good to go Thursday ...
For the Jets, three starters were limited: wide receiver Brandon Marshall (hip), inside linebacker David Harris (shoulder) and defensive lineman Leonard Williams (hip).
SLANTS AND SCREENS:
Linebacker P.J. Dawson's long national nightmare is over. After the former third-round pick got cut by the Bengals on Sunday and then tried out for Tampa Bay, he came running on to the field just as the horn sounded to begin Wednesday's practice. He fills out the 10-man practice squad …
Left end Carlos Dunlap has already made known his annual goal of breaking Michael Strahan's single-season sack record. Before Wednesday's practice he said the defense's goal is to lead the NFL in overall defense after coming in second last year in scoring …
Pro Bowl cornerback Adam Jones joined the Bengals in 2010 when they began their current stretch of seven straight openers on the road. So he thinks everyone, the vets and the few kids they have, know the drill.
"They've seen the road games. We don't have too many young guys on our team," Jones said. "I mean, we've got young guys, but in the secondary everybody has contributed. Everybody has played. Just enjoy the process. There's no better feeling than coming out on 9/11 with 70,000 New York fans booing the (bleep) out of you and you go in there in kick their ass. That's the best feeling in the world."
And it's not like Jones doesn't respect 9/11. He does. But Saturday. Not Sunday.
"I'll honor 9/11 when I first get there, but once Sunday gets here, all that's out of my mind," Jones said. "I have a lot of respect and due diligence for everybody that went through it, but come Sunday at 1 o'clock I won't be thinking about 9/11."
Cincinnati Bengals 53 Man Roster