Sometimes preseason football is a necessary evil. It gets players in "game shape" and gives coaches a look at some unknown youngsters to add to their team's depth. It's the first taste of football for rabid fans hungering for the regular season, even if the level of play is often subpar.
There are positives to the four games, but unfortunately, the negatives seem to outweigh those.
Injuries are part and parcel of games played in August. Teams must learn to overcome them and still compete, but it's always tough to lose a player for any amount of time in a game that ultimately means nothing. The Bengals saw a slew of their talented guys get dinged up on Saturday in their second preseason game, hosting the Jets and one was second-year running back, Rex Burkhead.
He suffered what has been described as a "significant injury" to his knee, though most rumors haven't specified just how serious. It isn't believed to be season-ending, but it is enough to bring about a cringe--especially with Paul Dehner, Jr.'s description of Burkhead on Monday:
For those asking, Rex Burkhead was on crutches with brace on knee in locker room. Doesn't look good but no official word. #Bengals— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) August 18, 2014
Though Burkhead would be a backup player on this team if he makes the final cut, it's still a disappointing injury. He had a nice start to the preseason against the Chiefs and seems to be making a run at one of the two running back spots that seem to be available. Burkhead has been competing against BenJarvus Green-Ellis, James Wilder, Jr. and Cedric Peerman for a spot.
Depending the recovery timeline, the Bengals could exercise some flexibility here. Injured-Reserve Designated to Return is an option, hanging on to him through the beginning part of the year like they seem to be planning to do with Marvin Jones is another. Or, if it is more severe than we are led to believe, placing him on Injured Reserve without allowing him to return is a last resort.
We'll update you more on Burkhead's injury as we hear it.