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Week 11 Bengals vs Cardinals Rookie Report: Josh Shaw gets his biggest opportunity on defense

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The Bengals were presented with a big test in the desert and came up just short. One rookie got more time than he would normally get due to a slew of injuries in the secondary. How was he able to step in?

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For the second straight week the Bengals could not keep the devil down in the hole and another primetime opportunity was squandered as the Arizona Cardinals got the better of Cincinnati. The secondary took its lumps with Adam Jones already not playing to start the game and then injuries littered the rest of the secondary, forcing rookies to earn their stripes with all the world watching. Darqueze Dennard left the game with a shoulder injury, Shawn Williams left with an ankle injury, Dre Kirkpatrick left momentarily with a chest injury and even Reggie Nelson missed a few plays, which some were saying was due to a concussion evaluation. That left Josh Shaw with an opportunity to get the most snaps of his NFL career. How did Shaw and the rest of the rookies fare this week?

Jake Fisher

Limited again at his position on the offensive line, Fisher played a less significant role as the line for the Bengals looked suspect for the second straight week. It seemed to take a full half before the Bengals were able to pick up the constant blitz packages thrown around by Arizona and it led to yet another often stagnant offensive showing. There is no doubt that Fisher will be a part of the long-term plans moving forward with the franchise, but while the Bengals are entrenched in difficult games, it's obvious Fisher won't see much of the field as a rookie.

Josh Shaw

Shaw was, for the first time this season, called upon to play a significant role on the field and he contributed on 18 defensive snaps. Despite some early mistakes, Carson Palmer continued to punish missed assignments downfield and due to a slew of injuries in the waning minutes, Shaw was pushed in. Despite looking strong at times down the stretch, the secondary faltered on the last drive of regulation giving up huge chunks which led to the game winning field goal. Despite being the least experienced player on the field, he wasn't tagged with many mistakes. The injury report will be interesting this week and depending on the severity Shaw could see more time in the near future.

Tyler Kroft

Ryan Hewitt drew most of the big plays from a block tight end perspective, during his time on the field, leaving Kroft left on the sidelines in the midst of a tight game. This isn't a knock on Kroft as the Bengals staff is high on the rookie, but in games of this magnitude and with little room for error, experience will always get the nod under Marvin Lewis. Kroft only registered four plays from the line of scrimmage during the game.

Derron Smith

Despite Reggie Nelson stepping out for a spell late in the game he wasn't gone for long. Smith was able to see some time at safety for two plays on the defensive side of things before returning to the sidelines. It was not a banner day for the Bengals safeties who were torched for large gains and exposed holes in their coverage all night. While this is a cause for concern, we can't expect a changing of the guard at safety that would see Smith getting extra reps. Unless there are once again injuries, Smith will likely be sidelined for most of games.

INACTIVES

Mario Alford, Marcus Hardison, C.J. Uzomah, and P.J. Dawson remained inactive for Week 11. It will be interesting to see if the severity of some of the injuries to the Bengals on Sunday night might cause a few moves to be made. Although, there would have to be some pretty significant shifting since none of these rookies play in the secondary which is where the bulk of the injuries occurred.