During offseason workouts Andrew Whitworth was happy with the progress his knee was making. There is a difference though between that and training camp.

As the Bengals conducted their sixth practice of camp on Wednesday Whitworth was on the sidelines for the third straight session. The veteran left tackle said that the plan is to give the knee time to strengthen a little more.

“The thing you can’t simulate is football. It’s getting out there and doing football and with something like this – it’s a tendon – it has to do something and adjust and then do a little more and then adjust. That’s what we will do” Whitworth said. “It’s just like anything else you have to develop the strength in it. This is kind of the first step in football. We’ll progress through that.”

Whitworth had surgery in late February to remove scar tissue from the knee which had been hampering him the past couple seasons. It is anticipated that he will be ready for the Sept. 8 opener at Chicago. Whitworth has the longest playing streak on the Bengals with starts in 67 straight games including the playoffs. Last season Whitworth was ranked sixth among left tackles according to Pro Football Focus as he made the Pro Bowl for the first time.

With practice a week old many wonder how much work Whitworth needs before the start of the regular season. There might be a bit of a rust factor but the main concern is making sure that they don’t press things too quickly.

“You need to take care of yourself” he said. “It’s kind of getting in that mentality and trying to figure out the fine line in between that so you have steps back and you are going to have to have days where it’s going to adjust and you are going to have to adjust with it.”

Offensive line coach Paul Alexander would like to have Whitworth on the field so that there isn’t any rust noting that he has seen players miss a lot of training camp and not be effective during the season. But coach Marvin Lewis said his biggest concern about Whitworth being ready is if he has the stamina to be in for a 12- to 16-play series.