Clayton Fejedelem still has 13 special teams tackles despite five starts at safety.
The Bengals are looking at playing two new tackles Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 19) against the Lions at Paul Brown Stadium after right tackle Andre Smith (knee) went on season-ending injured reserve and left tackle Cedric Ogbuehi sat out with a shoulder injury. They also plucked first-year tackle Justin Murray from the Saints practice squad and signed him to the active roster. The 6-5, 304-pound Murray originally signed with Denver as a college free agent in 2016 and spent his entire rookie season on the Broncos' practice squad. The Broncos waived him during final cuts this year and he spent the first 10 games this season on Tampa Bay's practice squad. The Buccaneers released him from their practice squad on Nov. 21, and he was signed to the Saints' practice squad on Dec. 4.
The leading candidates are left guard Clint Boling making his first NFL start at left tackle and 12-year tackle Eric Winston at right.
-Before Wednesday's practice Andy Dalton saluted his partner in time. He says A.J. Green's bid for the Pro Football Hall of Fame is in his hands.
"He's still writing history. My job is to get him there," Dalton said of his 2011 draftmate. "To get there every year he's been here shows you how respected he is around the league." ….
-Special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons is pleased safety Clayton Fejedelem secured the AFC's second alternate berth on teams. But he's also concerned about the process that elevated New England's Matt Slater to another Pro Bowl even though he's played just seven games.
"Slater has a great history in this league, but he's only fourth or fifth on his own team in tackles," Simmons said before practice. "It's a popularity contest and that's no dis-respect to Matt Slater because it's out of his control. But the process does concern me."
Simmons thought it was a great honor for Fejedelem, a guy he basically hasn't had in his usual four-phase role in five games he started at either safety because of injury and still leads the team with 13 teams tackles.
After George Iloka (shoulder) and Shawn Williams (hamstring) left Sunday's game, it looked like he may have had to start the last two games but both began Wednesday's practice and were limited. Simmons said if Fejedelem didn't have to start at safety and lighten his role in the kicking game, he had a chance to be the AFC's No.1 special teamer …
-How tough is linebacker Vincent Rey? He got popped late in Sunday's game, was prone, and needed stitches for a cut in his mouth, but he was back on the practice field and limited Wednesday. So was starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (concussion) after he missed the last two weeks.
WILL Vontaze Burfict (concussion) stretched with the team but he didn't practice and it looks like he'll miss his third straight game. Fullback Ryan Hewitt (knee) also didn't work Wednesday and neither did linebacker Nick Vigil (ankle).
_Rookie running back Joe Mixon, out after being concussed against Pittsburgh, was fulll go Wednesday .
-Also today, the Bengals signed free agent linebacker Connor Harris to the practice squad. The 6-0, 243-pound Harris signed as a rookie college free agent with the N.Y. Jets this season and was waived on final cuts. He later spent eight games on Tampa Bay's practice squad this season …
Ced gets another say
Record sack race underway
Carl Lawson is one of the many guys happy to see voluble and valued veteran left end Carlo Dunlap surface for this week's mandatory minicamp. Lawson, who usually sets up at right end on passing downs, nearly broke Dunlap's rookie sack record last season and he likes the competition. And on Tuesday he offered a challenge to a guy he calls "like an older brother to me."
Scrutiny is mandatory for offense
Just the presence of the very large Cordy Glenn at left tackle at Tuesday's start of mandatory minicamp is evidence of the effort to shore up the offense since he arrived via trade for a first-rounder. But the hopes of a little-used role player also reflect how this offense may be changed by as much philosophy as looks. Remember Ryan Hewitt, the forgotten fullback?