Paul Alexander has always counted heavily on veterans. Alexander has been coaching the Bengals’ offensive line since 1994. Those first years he had Bruce Kozerski and Joe Walter around to help get his message across to younger players. Willie Anderson learned from them and passed down the process as he became the veteran.

That role is Andrew Whitworth’s.

“I’ve always placed a premium on the older guys teaching the younger guys” said Alexander. “I think you learn it better when you teach it to someone else and I think it’s part of the responsibility.”

Not everyone is up to that responsibility but Whitworth has never shied away from the role even as he takes a few days off from practice. It is part of the rehab process from offseason knee surgery but while he’s not in pads he still councils the younger players reinforcing Alexander’s teachings.

Guard Kevin Zeitler and center Trevor Robinson were starters as rookies last season. The Bengals drafted three offensive linemen this year; guard Tanner Hawkinson in the fifth round and tackle Reid Fragel and center T.J. Johnson in the seventh round.

“Each one of them has a different talent or skill that you say man if this guy could kind of hone this in they could really do well” said Whitworth. “I think they continue to make progress but like anything else this time of year nothing is ever good enough. You got to keep pushing yourself. They are that mentality. They understand that. That's what the progression needs to be and they are all for it and I think that's a positive thing.”

Whitworth was cleared to practice at the start of the training camp. Part of the role of being a veteran is knowing just how much preparation time you need to be ready to play.