As was pointed out on Thursday, the Cincinnati Bengals quickly agreed to a two-year deal with linebacker Thomas Howard as a response to Keith Rivers, who underwent wrist surgery that could reduce his availability during the first month of the 2011 NFL season.
The Bengals confirmed the procedure on Friday and placed the weak-side outside linebacker on the Active/Non-Football Injury list, according to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
From our understanding the only difference between the Active/Non-Football Injury list and the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list is that the NFI applies to injuries that weren't caused as a result of football. We totally figured that out on our own; sometimes they make these things too easy for us. Once he's healthy, Rivers can come off the NFI list at any point he's medically cleared.
However if initial reports are true, then Rivers could be facing the Active/PUP list during the regular season, which will require him to miss the first six weeks of the season. Who would replace him? Could this be the excuse to re-ignite the Michael Johnson to outside linebacker project? Perhaps Dontay Moch, who was expected to be a contributor on special teams with spot duty on third down passing scenarios. Dan Skuta could be a favorite.
Based on the trend with what's going on with our defense in the past 24 hours, it might be our offense that has to bail out our defense. And that's saying a lot.