Ouch, ouch, ouch.
The Cincinnati Bengals are starting to accumulate injuries, or perhaps nicks and bruises after intense camp sessions and preseason games. More noticeable is the injuries at wide receiver. Along with Antonio Bryant, Bengals receiver Maurice Purify hasn't dressed for two games with knee tendinitis. Neither Matt Jones or Andre Caldwell dressed. Granted, it could be as much about rest as it could anything else. Still, Jones is fighting for a roster spot and Caldwell hasn't blown our minds with either of his two receptions or 16 yards receiving this preseason.
Quan Cosby has more receptions than Caldwell or Dezmon Briscoe, his 41-yard kickoff return is a team high (beating out Adam Jones' 40-yard return) and he has a 43-yard return on punt returns to boot. Purify knew his place on the team is through special teams; an area that Cosby greatly helps the Bengals.
But let's quietly eliminate Matt Jones and Purify from the mix. The top four still expected to make the team is Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, Jordan Shipley and Caldwell. That leaves Antonio Bryant (because not one knows if he'll be on the regular season roster), Jerome Simpson and Dezmon Briscoe. Based on all of that, I say Cosby's chances dramatically increases -- and his effort during the preseason has been very noticeable.
However, does Cosby's fate rest in Jerome Simpson and Antonio Bryant? If Bryant is gone, either on an injured list or released freeing up a roster, are the final two spots grabbed by Simpson, whose five preseason receptions ranks third among wide receivers, and Cosby, whose role on special teams is often noted? If Bryant remains, will the decision come down to Simpson and Cosby?
That's not to say to Purify or Jones had that much greater of a shot to make the squad. Maybe Jones. Purify compared to Cosby? I doubt it. Either way, their road could get much easier if injuries hurt the others' chances.
If you were the team's head coach, and had to figure out the team's wide receiver roster, how would you chart it? I know. We've asked the question before training camp, but you know, things change.