It wasn't exactly Tom Brady being a no-show up in Foxboro, but when Bengals Pro Bowl left end Carlos Dunlap wasn't on the premises Tuesday for the first of 10 voluntary practices of the spring it looked to be the Bengals' most high-profile OTA absence since Dunlap was a rookie and wide receiver Chad Ochocinco was filming his dating show in 2010.
It's unknown what Dunlap's reasons are (he couldn't be reached for comment via text), but the assumption is he's in his contract year. So is six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins and he was on Tuesday's first line. Head coach Marvin Lewis says he's talked to Dunlap and hasn't asked him if he'll be at next month's mandatory minicamp.
"He's busy. He's working out," said Lewis, when asked what the reasons are after Tuesday's workout. "It's not a story. It's not a big deal." …
Dunlap's snaps went to right ends such as veteran Michael Johnson and third-rounder Sam Hubbard ….
Also moving around is Cedric Ogbuehi, backing up both left and right tackle, and offensive line coach Frank Pollack says he'll move into guard at some point. And Pollack says he won't be the only guy that has to play multiple spots …
Since Lewis doesn't allow reporters to say where his players line up it can be assumed Bobby Hart took a lot of snaps because right tackle Jake Fisher (shoulder) didn't practice. It's believed Fisher's injury isn't major and he could be back late in OTAs, but he should be ready for training camp ….
Pretty sharp for a first practice with Bill Lazor's new offense against new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin's men. New backup quarterback Matt Barkley said it best. The Bengals didn't work on a quick tempo Tuesday but it looked like they were because of what Barkley called "urgency," at the line of scrimmage. For at least one veteran, it was the most urgent they've looked at the line and getting rid of the ball since Hue Jackson ran the offense in 2014-15 ….
Yes, wide receiver John Ross looked good in his first OTA practice ever. It will be recalled that last year's No. 1 pick couldn't do anything until the second week of training camp because of shoulder surgery, a major reason he had no catches, one fumble, and one blown route in just 17 targets and three games.
"I didn't know what to expect because I'd never been in one, but the workload was heavy. I was feeling it," Ross said. "It was good, though. I felt comfortable."
In stark contrast to that deep route in Tennessee he cut short that got him benched back in November, he made a nice adjustment Tuesday on a deep ball where he slowed down to come back and haul it in. He hooked up with Barkley several times over the middle. "He's really improved his route running, just in the (five weeks) we've been here," Barkley said.
Lewis, who said after that game in Tennessee that Ross let the team down, was a bit more charitable after Tuesday's practice. He did remind him to buckle his chin strap when Ross was back there catching punts, but he also said he's confident in Ross' confidence.
"John grew up in Long Beach, California. I have no questions about his confidence," said Lewis, who coached at Long Beach State in the '80s. "I know where he went to school. I know where he grew up. I know the block he lived on. I don't worry about John and his confidence. You have to be confident just to walk every day." ….
One of the debates of the offseason is how much is Austin going to change the Zimmer-Guenther defense of the last ten seasons. Back in March, Lewis said a lot. Last month the players said it might just be a little more multiple. On Tuesday safety George Iloka said not much.
"Sorry, I know you're looking for a story," Iloka said. "But from what I can see there are just some things he wants to be played differently." …
Tight end Tyler Kroft and rookie wide receiver Auden Tate were on the rehab field with minor injuries ...Quarterback Jeff Driskel, in the last stretches of healing a broken non-throwing arm, was on the field but didn't take snaps ...
Former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo was a visitor to practice. He coached with Bengals quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt in Green Bay ...
The NFL owners are meeting this week but Bengals president Mike Brown missed his second straight session with club vice presidents Katie and Troy Blackburn attending in his place. He's recovering from the artificial hip surgery that forced him out of the March meeting, but he chose to stay home to watch this week's practices.