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Bengals rule out Leon Hall against the Browns

While the Cincinnati Bengals welcome home slot receiver Andrew Hawkins (who is now with the Cleveland Browns), the defense won't have their most experienced slot corner.

Andy Lyons

The Cincinnati Bengals have ruled out cornerback Leon Hall for Thursday's game against the Cleveland Browns. Hall, who had been undergoing concussion protocols after taking a shot against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, has historically been the team's best slot cornerback.

Missing your slot corner against one of the league's top slot wide receivers in Andrew Hawkins? Yikes.

But then again, Leon Hall hasn't been in his usual dominant form this season. Hall, who has played 204 snaps at nickel, has allowed 29 completions (out of 43 targets) for 354 yards receiving and a touchdown. Darqueze Dennard (opposing passer rating of 129.2) and Dre Kirkpatrick (opposing passer rating of 115.0) have struggled this season and Adam Jones has only played seven snaps. George Iloka, who has covered slot receivers 34 times this season, has allowed only two completions for 28 yards and has an opposing passer rating of 72.9.

On the other hand... of the 216 routes that Hawkins has run this season, 113 came from the slot (52.3 percent of the time). Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer targeted Hawkins 27 times from the slot, completing 17 passes for 224 yards receiving and a touchdown. Miles Austin has lined up in the slot on 47 of 197 routes, catching all five passes for which he was targeted, for 60 yards receiving. Hawkins and Austin are Cleveland's primary receivers with Taylor Gabriel adding 170 routes.

[Portions of this posting came from earlier this week]