The Bengals second round pick Carlos Dunlap spent four of the team's first five games as a gameday inactive. When asked why Dunlap isn't playing much, Mike Zimmer was forthright (have you known him to do it any other way) saying that he'd "like to see more passion" from Dunlap in practice. Lewis echoed those sentiments, saying:
“Hopefully he’ll continue to grow a little bit and get better and give us some quality snaps. He has all the ability we expect. Right now he’s had more practice than play. He’s got to learn how to prepare and practice in the National Football League to play on Sundays.”
Yet, his playing time has gradually increased, mostly thanks to Antwan Odom's absence and Jonathan Fanene's injury. According to Joe Reedy's playing time/snap chart, Dunlap played 11 of 63 snaps against the Atlanta Falcons and 32 of 68 snaps against the Miami Dolphins. Dunlap, having played in each of the previous four games, turned in his best performance of the year against the Indianapolis Colts recording a quarterback sack and a tackle-for-loss on a Donald Brown third quarter run.
When asked about the progressions of the team's rookies during Monday's press conference, Marvin Lewis brought up Carlos' name first:
"I think yesterday was a step forward for Carlos. He was sick all week last week and really didn't get to practice. He stood out there and came to the meetings on Thursday, stood out and watched on Friday, and then got the work in on Saturday. But I thought assignment-wise, he did a good job and obviously had a couple of good plays. He's got to keep taking steps forward: Learning how to practice is the biggest thing with Carlos, and what it takes to be a pro. He’s been spending some extra time here on Tuesdays, which is good. He needs to keep taking the steps."