The Bengals are getting hammered on the injury front, particularly at linebacker. Sean Porter has already been lost for the season, while Rey Maualuga and Vontaze Burfict are battling injuries expected to cost them at least one more game, in addition to missing Week 9 vs. the Jaguars.
That's led to one of the more unlikely rises of the 2014 NFL season, as Nico Johnson will be making his first start this year against Jacksonville. Johnson was just signed off the Chiefs practice squad in Week 7 prior to a 27-0 thumping at the hands of the Colts, but Johnson was active and played, despite having signed just five days prior to the game. He was active again during the Week 8 win over Baltimore.
Now just three weeks after being on another team's practice squad, Johnson is making the start at middle linebacker for the Bengals. That's quite the ascension for Johnson, a former third-round pick by the Chiefs, who now looks to make his NFL mark for a Bengals team in desperate need of help at linebacker.
Niko had one start in his six games played as rookie last year for the Chiefs, but it looks like he'll easily exceed that number of games played for Cincinnati this year.