Update: Per Bengals.com, Andrew Whitworth is dealing with a shoulder injury.
One of the last players the Bengals can afford to lose is Andrew Whitworth.
Viewed as one of the game's best left tackles and the leader of this offense, Whitworth is as critical to the Bengals’ success as just about any guy on the roster outside of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. It's pretty common to see Whitworth get a veteran's rest day here and there, but when he's missing consecutive practices, then it becomes a concern.
Whitworth sat out Tuesday's practice session while doing work on the rehab field. The same happened on Monday as he was seen with injured tight end Tyler Eifert on the side field. Whitworth also got Saturday off with what looked to be a rest day, but now that he's failed to practice for three straight days, it's safe to think something is up with the 34-year-old tackle.
This could be nothing and the Bengals may just giving Whit some extra time off to give more work to Jake Fisher and Cedric Ogbuehi at offensive tackle. Those two are expected to take on bigger roles in 2016, so giving them as many reps as possible is something the Bengals should be doing.
And let's face it: Whitworth knows this offense and the players like the back of his hand by now, so he can take a few days of camp off, return at some point in the preseason, and still play at a high level in 2016.
It’s also possible the Bengals did not want Whitworth to practice Tuesday with rainfall looming, which occurred just 30 minutes into practice (though that explanation seems unlikely).
Whitworth and Eifert last two off the field, seemingly unconcerned by weather. #Bengals pic.twitter.com/ebkiotgGYe— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) August 9, 2016
Now entering his 11th NFL season, Whitworth started every game last season at left tackle and was a major contributor to Cincinnati ranking seventh in the NFL in scoring (26.2 points per game) in 2015. He also leads the Cincinnati roster in career games played as a Bengal (157) and starts (153).
Whitworth has been one of the NFL's best blindside protectors for much of his career and the honors he’s received in the last year reflect that. He received an AP First-Team All-Pro selection, earned a Pro Bowl berth and was on the PFWA All-AFC Team.
We’ll keep you posted on any developments that arise from Whitworth’s situation.