Updated: 8:20 p.m.
There is still a big unknown among the Bengals up front, but left end Carlos Dunlap is ready.
Dunlap didn't play a snap in a preseason game as he recovered from a concussion early in training camp, but defensive line coach Jay Hayes said after Monday's practice that Dunlap is ready to go and could have played in Thursday night's preseason finale. Dunlap practiced last Tuesday full go and has worked in padded practices but went full Monday as the Bengals worked in shoulder pads.
"This is real action. There is no blanks. You need to be ready and prepare like this is the season," Dunlap said before Monday's practice. "Preseason is over with; you need to be on point. I missed the preseason so one of my things is get my conditioning up because those guys got the game reps I wasn't able to get, so I am getting my conditioning up, doing extra running as a team. The D-line runs with me. We are all getting ready, we are getting ready for the Bears. That's our main focus right now: the Bears."
» Left tackle Andrew Whitworth wore his jersey but not the required helmet or shoulder pads for Monday's practice. Yet a true read on his status for Sunday's opener in Chicago (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) won't appear until head coach Marvin Lewis's first injury report of the season after Wednesday's practice.
Whitworth (knee) is leaving all the talking to Lewis as he tries to keep the club's longest streak of 67 straight starts intact. But he did say he expects to play some time this season.
» Right tackle Andre Smith (knee) did work with the team, as did cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (concussion symptoms). But cornerback Brandon Ghee (concussion symptoms), cornerback Terence Newman (unknown) and defensive tackle Devon Still (unknown) didn't work.
» The big guessing game now is which player is going to replace the guy that goes on injured reserve-recall after 4 p.m. Tuesday. Indications have been for a month it is wide receiver Andrew Hawkins (ankle) going on the list, but since that will leave the Bengals with the usual complement of six wide receivers, the new sign won't be a wideout. It could be an offensive lineman (with Whitworth and Smith dinged) or a sixth linebacker as they try to replace the cover skills of Emmanuel Lamur, gone for the year with a dislocated shoulder.
» But it probably won't be old friend Thomas Howard. At least not right away. Howard, Cincinnati's best all-around backer when he went down with a torn ACL last Sept. 13, is coming in Tuesday to get his knee checked. Anyone signing for this week's game is due his entire year's salary and Howard may or may not be deemed ready.
"Thomas feels like the rehab has gone well; it's almost been a year," Lewis said. "He feels good about things. We'll see where he is."
» Lewis is suddenly raving about new practice squad member Onterio McCalebb, the 168-pound rookie free-agent out of Auburn changing positions from running back to cornerback.
He says McCalebb can line up and move back there and thinks he'll be able to contribute on the 53-man roster by the end of the year.
McCalebb, who ran one of the top 40 times at the NFL scouting combine, goes by the nickname "The Cheetah" bestowed upon him by the Bengals personnel department.
» Dontay Moch has surfaced on the Cardinals practice squad and that's about right. He's from Phoenix, went to Hamilton High in Chandler, and Arizona plays a 3-4 defense. He fits that scheme better as an outside backer than as a defensive end in the Bengals 4-3.