CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 23: Roddrick Muckelroy #56 of the Cincinnati Bengals sacks Graham Harrell #6 of the Green Bay Packers during a preseason NFL game at Paul Brown Stadium on August 23, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
THE BENGALS KEPT RYAN WHALEN
We have nothing against the kid and he appears to be a promising young receiver. In fact our projections had nothing to do with his talent level, rather his lack of preseason participation in conjunction with a historical trend that the team only keeps six receivers, turned Whalen into a numbers casualty. Instead the Cincinnati Bengals kept Whalen as a seventh receiver, both scenarios that were entirely unexpected. This feels like a two-part story with a trade in the works to ship Whalen for a low draft pick.
However Lewis isn't hinting at anything, saying of keeping seven receivers:
"I think the guys there kind of outperformed the guys competing for the other spots. "
RODDRICK MUCKELROY MISSES THE CUT
Even more surprising to us than the Bengals keeping seven receivers is Roddrick Muckelroy missing the cut entirely. He started all three games at middle linebacker when Rey Maualuga sat with a knee sprain. Muckelroy finished second on the team with 19 tackles, along with a quarterback sack against the Packers. We realize the move corresponds with the need at other positions and the rise for Vontaze Burfict, but if you were to tell me this morning that Ryan Whalen makes the roster over Muckelroy, I'd have laughed and whacked your nose with a newspaper. I'm not laughing.
KYLE COOK REMAINS ON THE 53-MAN ROSTER FOR NOW
Due to the new rules regarding Injured Reserve, Cook must remain on the 53-man roster until 4PM on Tuesday when the Bengals can place him on IR. As a player designated to return later, Cook's spot after IR placement opens for another someone else. Head coach Marvin Lewis told reporters Friday evening that Cook has a shot to be on the IR recall list. Based on this the Bengals feel he'll be able to return sooner rather than later or he'd have been placed on Injured Reserve today.
PAT SIMS HEADS TO RESERVE/PUP AND DONTAY MOCH'S SUSPENSION STARTS
Both Sims and Moch were expected to begin the season on their respective lists, giving Cincinnati two roster exemptions for the time being. Moch will be eligible to return after week four, in which the Bengals will have to make another decision. Sims will be allowed to return after week six, where the Bengals have three weeks to make a decision on him. If he returns, Cincinnati will have to make another move.
DON'T GET TOO COMFORTABLE WITH THE 53
There could be a handful of transactions still coming for the Cincinnati Bengals. The roster configuration probably won't be the same heading into the regular season opener against the Baltimore Ravens. Cook's placement on IR opens a spot. Hundreds of recently released players will filter through waivers and free agency. And there's a chance that the team could still make a trade, with Whalen taking the suspicious seventh wide receiver spot. Anything could happen over the weekend, so don't get too comfortable with this 53-man roster.
Also the main focus shouldn't be so much the 53, rather the active 46 players that will play most weekends this year. That core configuration is largely set with minimal projected changes, save the unexpected injury.