CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 25: Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers is sacked by Jonathan Fanene # 68 of the Cincinnati Bengals during their game on September 25, 2011 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The 49ers defeated the Bengals 13-8. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
With Jamaal Anderson suffering a reported season-ending injury against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, there's an obvious shortage of defensive ends on the 53-man roster. Michael Johnson and Robert Geathers are the only healthy ends, and their lack of pass rush tends to show, directly as a result of absorbing the bulk of the team's defensive snaps. Anderson helped give both players a breather, but he was also a third down pass rusher from the defensive tackle position. Anderson is what Jonathan Fanene was.
Now there's a need for someone.
Even if Carlos Dunlap returns, his playing time will be similar to his pass rushing specialist role with an extremely limited number of snaps. Mostly third downs or passing obvious situations -- if that. After missing three preseason games and two regular season games, and all of the practices in between, we have a hard time believing that the team will risk Dunlap's health by overplaying him against the Washington Redskins this weekend.
So there's a need for someone.
However one player that fans probably shouldn't expect is defensive end Jonathan Fanene. Geoff Hobson with Bengals.com writes a little sidenote on a recent posting that suggests that the team isn't signing the former Bengals defensive end.
Fanene had his knee scoped on August 23, with a projected recovery time of 4-8 weeks at the time he had the procedure. We are currently entering the earliest part of the projected recovery. Then there's the general conditioning required to get Fanene and his knee back into football shape -- he missed a significant number of practices in New England before he was released. And frankly the team needs someone right now. In fact we might so bold to project that Fanene won't be with Cincinnati, or maybe any NFL team, this year.