On Sunday during the Bengals game cornerback Leon Hall suffered a torn Achilles tendon which has ended his season prematurely. With Hall's injury, there is now a glaring hole at cornerback as the Bengals lose their top defensive back for the final seven games.
Injuries are always going to be part of the game. No one can predict when they will happen, how they will happen, or even the severity of the injury. But once an injury occurs there isn't much that can be done. One thing that can be done is remaining positive and upbeat. Despite suffering an injury that prevents a player from contributing on the field they will still be able to cheer their teammates on from the sideline.
"Obviously I'm done for this season but I'll do what the doctor says. I'll be back sooner than they expect me to be back," Hall said.
When a player goes down for an extended period of time coaches have to be able to compensate for the loss. While it won't be easy to replace the production of Hall, injuries certainly aren't something that the Bengals aren't accustomed to. Last season the Bengals defense suffered one blow after another. By the time the regular season ended eight defensive backs were on injured reserve. For a team that ranks fifth in overall defense the loss of Hall is a major blow, some might even say devastating. But Bengals secondary coach Kevin Coyle wouldn't term his injury as devastating.
"I wouldn't describe it as devastating. I think as you go through the season this type of thing happens throughout the league," Coyle said. "It's disappointing as Leon is a terrific player and person. He's given so much to the team. He's been our ironman he somehow has been able to fight through it."
For the Bengals it's going to be vital that the rest of the secondary steps up their game for the rest of the season with the absence of Hall. Coyle is going to have to figure out a way to replace the production of Hall, whether that's with one player alone or a rotation of players. Either way Hall's injury is going to impact the Bengals push for the playoffs.
For a lot of us it now is a question as to what path do the Bengals travel down? Do they sign a free-agent or do they call-up someone from the practice squad?
The Bengals answered this question by promoting cornerback Brandon Ghee from the practice squad to the active 53-man roster to replace Hall. Other than veteran Nate Clements, the Bengals also have Kelly Jennings and Adam Jones. But Jones has yet to play an entire game due to a variety of injuries and ailments, while Jennings has looked inconsistent. Jennings has either been solid at covering his assigned receiver or he has left them wide open. Either way, the Bengals have work ahead of them. The best solution for the Bengals would probably be a rotation and hope that no one else suffers a significant season-ending injury or one that will keep them out for an extended period of time.
It will remain to be seen as to the Bengals will do to replace Hall's spot, not his spot on the roster instead his spot on the field. But let's hope the Bengals will be able to overcome this hurdle in their push for the postseason.