- By Jay Morrison Staff Writer
The Cincinnati Bengals will hold their minicamp Tuesday through Thursday, which marks the beginning of the end for the offseason program.
When the minicamp ends Thursday afternoon, players will scatter across the country to enjoy a six-week break before reporting to training camp July 25.
The only difference between the minicamp and the OTA practices the team has been conducting the last three weeks is attendance is mandatory this week.
Here are five things to watch for at minicamp:
The question at the start of last week was whether defensive end Carlos Dunlap would show up at minicamp after skipping all of the voluntary offseason program.
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But after the Tuesday practice that was open to the media, Dunlap showed up and practiced Wednesday, according to the team website.
By waiting until Wednesday, Dunlap was able to avoid talking to reporters. But all three days of the minicamp are open to the media, so Dunlap will have plenty of opportunities to explain why he skipped the first eight weeks of the offseason program.
Pro Bowl wide receiver sat out 11-on-11 drills the last few OTA practices after taking a knee to the quad May 29, but Friday at his youth camp he said he expects to be full go at minicamp.
The Bengals theoretically could rest Green until the first week of the regular season and have him be at his usual Pro Bowl caliber for the opener at Indianapolis, but that’s not going to happen with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor installing a new system.
Still, it will be interesting to see how often Green lines up for 11-on-11 work.
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After the Bengals took Billy Price in the first round of the draft, head coach Marvin Lewis said he expects the former Ohio State center to be fully cleared for the start of training camp and possibly in time for minicamp.
Price, who suffered a pectoral injury at the Combine, has been doing position work in OTAs but has yet to participate in 11s.
It’s not critical for Price’s development that he participate fully during minicamp, but it certainly could accelerate the comfort level for a rookie expected to step in as a starter.
Following the precedence set two years ago when Vontaze Burfict was suspended for the start of the season, the linebacker is not expected to do much, if anything, during training camp.
Burfict is expected to practice fully during minicamp, as he has during OTAs, but these are the last three practices for the linebackers lower on the depth chart, especially rookies Malik Jefferson and undrafted Chris Worley, to prove they deserve a chance to get some of Burfict’s reps during training camp.
The only time Shawn Williams has seen the field team drills in OTAs practices open to the media has been when the starting safety is running sprints between plays.
The cautious approach with Williams’ hamstring issue has opened the door for rookie second-round pick Jessie Bates to run with the first team throughout OTAs. If that continues during minicamp, it will be a big boost for Bates, whom the Bengals will be counting on when new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin employs a three-safety package.