The Cincinnati Bengals will once again be down several starters in a preseason game.
This time, they'll be without offensive tackle Andre Smith, cornerback Darqueze Dennard, guard Trey Hopkins, receiver James Wright, QB AJ McCarron, tight end Tyler Eifert, and running backs Rex Burkhead, Cedric Peerman and BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
This is becoming concerning with Smith, who's missed all four preseason games with a concussion, though he's been practicing. The same goes for Eifert and his shoulder injury, as well as Dennard's hip injury. Hopefully, all of them return Week 1 vs. the Baltimore Ravens.
It's not necessarily concerning that these guys are getting held out of the fourth preseason game, but that they missed the previous two games as well. That applies in particular to Dennard, a rookie who needs every live rep possible. He'll now enter the regular season only playing limited snaps in one preseason game. Even Eifert is only in his second season, so he could have used a good amount of work this preseason, but he too will have played just a handful of snaps in one contest.
With Green-Ellis and Burkhead out, Jeremy Hill and James Wilder Jr. figure to get the most action they've gotten this preseason tonight vs. Arizona. Wilder is still trying to secure a spot on the practice squad, though there is still a small chance he cracks the 53-man roster.
As for Eifert being out, Jermaine Gresham starters at TE while Ryan Hewitt will start at H-back.
Sean Porter will start in place of Burfict, which is a great opportunity for 2013 4th-round draft pick to solidify his spot on the final 53-man roster.
Will Svitek will start in place of Smith. Mike Pollak will start at guard again with Russell Bodine at center, Kevin Zeitler at right guard and Andrew Whitworth at left tackle.