CINCINNATI - The first day of Organized Team Activities (OTA) on Tuesday wasn't the first time Andy Dalton has thrown since fracturing his thumb in Week 14 of last season. But, he said it felt good to be back on the field.
"It's the start of a new year, so it's good to be back out there," the Cincinnati Bengals' quarterback said. "I've been throwing for a while now. Everything feels good."
Dalton passed for 3,250 yards and 25 touchdowns last season, but missed the final three regular-season games and the wild-card loss to Pittsburgh with the thumb injury. AJ McCarron started in his place.
Since then, there have been some significant changes to the Bengals' offense with the departures of receivers Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, whom many credit for Dalton's development.
The Bengals maintained some level of familiarity in the coordinator position with the promotion of Ken Zampese from quarterbacks coach.
"He's been around this team for a long time," said Dalton, of Zampese. "He's been my quarterback coach ever since I've been here. He'll do very well. He's a little different than Hue. The nature of what he does, we'll get used to that. We'll feel comfortable with whatever he feels comfortable with. We'll see over time."
Dalton and veteran receiver A.J. Green hooked up on several throws during Tuesday's OTAs, but new receivers Tyler Boyd and Brandon LaFell are still getting comfortable.
All in all, Dalton was encouraged and thankful to be back under center.
"First time everybody's here practicing together," Dalton said. "Right now it's just the fundamentals of everything. We're in and out of the huddle and making sure everything's smooth."
--There was some discouraging news for the Cincinnati Bengals on the first day of OTAs when it was reported that tight end Tyler Eifert will undergo surgery on his injured left ankle. The Cincinnati Enquirer cited multiple league sources saying the procedure is "minimal," but recovery is estimated to be three months. Training camp begins in July. Eifert injured his ankle in the Pro Bowl after having 52 catches for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns in 13 regular-season games last year.
--The Bengals just might take a flyer on veteran pass rusher Dwight Freeney, who according to an ESPN.com report, is going to work out for the team this week. It would be the 15th NFL season for Freeney, who had eight sacks in 11 games after signing with the Arizona Cardinals in the middle of the 2015 campaign. According to the report, Freeney wants to finish his career with a Super Bowl contender.