The Cincinnati Bengals hit the practice field Wednesday with a new starting quarterback.
Quarterback Andy Dalton was out on the field, but wasn't practicing as he continues to wear a cast on his throwing hand due to the thumb he fractured during Sunday's loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Dalton acting as a lefty, he and @10AJMcCarron hung out during the stretching portion of practice today #Bengals pic.twitter.com/rAABpRoAT2— Elise Jesse (@Elise_JesseWLWT) December 16, 2015
With Dalton out, AJ McCarron will be the starting quarterback, and today was the first practice where McCarron received the first team reps. He filled in adequately for Dalton during Sunday's loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, though his two interceptions proved costly as Pittsburgh converted them into 14 points in a 13-point loss for Cincinnati. Still, it was a promising performance for a quarterback who has never played a meaningful snap in the NFL and said he received zero first team snaps in typical weeks leading up to games.
In addition to the loss of Dalton, the Bengals may also be without star tight end Tyler Eifert this week after he left Sunday's loss with a concussion. He wasn't able to practice Wednesday as he remains under the NFL concussion protocol as a result of a big hit from Steelers safety Mike Mitchell on Sunday. Eifert was seen in the locker room during practice.
Eifert just walked into locker room in street clothes. https://t.co/y1LRMD6SEN— Laurel Pfahler (@LaurelPfahler) December 16, 2015
George Iloka didn't practice Wednesday after leaving Sunday's game with a groin injury that had been lingering for the previous two weeks. Shawn Williams has filled in nicely when playing in Iloka's starting safety spot. Williams briefly left Sunday's game but he did return and practiced today.
Michael Johnson also got Wednesday off, though it's unclear if it was a veteran's rest day or he's suffering from an injury. He wasn't on last week's injury report and didn't appear to be injured on Sunday.
Leon Hall also sat out Wednesday. The veteran corner typically gets Wednesdays off or gets a limited session in. He did leave briefly during Sunday's loss with an unspecified injury, but returned and finished the game.
Rookie tackle Jake Fisher was seen on the rehab field working after missing last week due to a concussion. The fact he's on the rehab field suggests he's close to being cleared to play and return to game action.
The best news to come out of Wednesday was regarding star cornerback Adam Jones who was able to practice. A lingering foot injury caused him to be inactive against the Steelers, but seeing him back practicing on a Wednesday bodes well for his chances to play this week.
Vontaze Burfict was in and out of the lineup Sunday due to a neck injury, but was able to finish the game and practiced Wednesday.
In an interesting move, starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth practiced Wednesday instead of getting his normal veteran's rest day off as he's received every week of the season so far. It makes sense though as he's trying to get used to McCarron being his quarterback and his guidance will be needed to help McCarron get accustomed to being a starting quarterback.
Also, rookie receiver Mario Alford was back practicing after missing last week to be with his father who suffered a stroke, per Jay Morrison.
Be sure to check back later for the full participation and injury report.