USA TODAY Sports
Bengals cornerback Adam Jones surfaced on the injury report on Friday with a tweaked hamstring. Jones plays a variety of roles for Cincinnati, so if he's unable to go against Pittsburgh, it could play a major role in the outcome of the game.
When your favorite team accrues injuries in a season, it's very frustrating to say the least. Unfortunately, it's the nature of the physical part of the game of football and it happens every year to every team. But, when players are losing game time because of sustained injuries in practice and not game time, that's when one wants to pull their hair out.
Add cornerback Adam Jones to the list with Mohamed Sanu, Mike Nugent and Thomas Howard of those who incurred frustrating practice injuries. Jones apparently tweaked his hamstring at Friday's practice, causing him to appear on the team's injury report as questionable. The injury kind of slid past most of us and since we've let it set in for 24 hours or so, we've begun to digest the potential impact.
If Jones can't go against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, his absence would hugely two areas of the team. Most people would recognize that Jones wouldn't readily be available on special teams, where he's had a big year as a punt returner. He's been a "feast or famine" player back there, alternating with Brandon Tate, but he has a number of big plays. Though most fans have their frustrations with Tate, he's serviceable back there, but he just doesn't bring the big-play threat that Jones does.
Secondly, and most importantly, Jones wouldn't be available at cornerback for the Bengals. At the position, Jones has quietly put up a very solid campaign and 2012 could be labeled as one of his best in the NFL. With Nate Clements sliding into more of a safety/slot cornerback kind of role on the team, Jones has basically slid into a starting role with the club in their base nickel formation. In short, Jones being inactive would force a shuffling at various spots on the Bengals' defense.
What makes Jones' potential absence even more troubling is that the depth behind him is very limited. Rookie cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is still suffering from post-concussion symptoms and likely won't be active and Jason Allen has been a phantom all season long, playing in only a few games. Yeesh.
We don't know if Jones will be active or not, as hamstrings can be tricky injuries to deal with and a "questionable" status usually comes down to a game time decision. We do know that Jones suffered these types of injuries before and it did cause him to miss some time. We'll just have to wait until Sunday to know for sure.