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Bengals Dan France taking advantage of opportunities

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"He's a tough guy. He's got a lot of tough nastiness," says left tackle Andrew Whitworth. "He's a true old school lineman. He just likes to get after guys. Finisher. He definitely fits the mentality of something Hue really likes."

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

There is a development.

Offensive lineman Dan France, who played 69 snaps during Cincinnati's preseason opener against the New York Giants, is taking advantage of unexpected opportunities this year. A former starting left tackle and right guard at Michigan State, France spent his rookie season on Cincinnati's practice squad after signing as a college free agent following the 2014 NFL draft.

With first-round pick Cedric Ogbuehi on the Physically Unable to Perform list, second-round prospect Jake Fisher missing practices of late, and Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith rotating days off for veteran rest (or a minor ailment), France is seeing an opportunity to prove himself after studying behind Cincinnati's veterans. In addition to his opportunities, he's developing and leaving a positive impression on his teammates and coaching staff.

"I'm watching Whitworth every play," France said via Bengals.com. "I've been taking pointers from him. He knows so many tricks of the trade."

Whitworth, the 10-year veteran who symbolically handed off the leadership role to quarterback Andy Dalton this spring, has been impressed with France.

"He's a tough guy. He's got a lot of tough nastiness," says left tackle Andrew Whitworth. "He's a true old school lineman. He just likes to get after guys. Finisher. He definitely fits the mentality of something Hue really likes."

According to Pro Football Focus, France scored an overall grade of -1.3 with a -1.1 score run blocking against the Giants on Monday Night. However, these grades are generally subjective; the coaching staff is more than pleased with France's progress.

"He's really come on this year. He's such a good technician and he's a smart guy and competitive," Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander said via Bengals.com. "He was solid. He was good. I thought he did a solid job last week."

Cincinnati's offensive line remains in flux, which will allow France more opportunities to gain significant work during ESPN's Monday Night Football against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.