The Bengals hit the field Friday for their final practice before Sunday's clash with the Browns.
Tyler Eifert was once again a spectator as he sat out from his third consecutive practice with a stinger. The star tight end will likely be sitting out Sunday after failing to practice once this week after suffering his injury during the second half of Sunday's win over the Rams. It was a game in which Eifert secured his NFL-high 12th touchdown catch, which it looks like he won't be padding this week.
With Eifert likely out, third-round rookie Tyler Kroft will be getting more snaps this week and could become a viable pass-catcher on Sunday. He's caught just one pass this season, which actually came Sunday against the Rams. However, it's more likely that fullback/h-back Ryan Hewitt will be the one getting more targets this week. Hewitt has shown he can rise to the task when called upon as a pass-catcher and has caught five passes on eight targets for 74 yards this season.
There was some god news to come out of Friday's session with Adam Jones present for practice. Jones is dealing with a foot injury that caused him to miss Week 11 at Arizona before returning in Week 12 to play against St. Louis. With Darqueze Dennard on I.R. and Chris Lewis-Harris not practicing due to a rib injury, the Bengals can ill-afford to lose another corner, even against a struggling Browns offense. It wasn't clear how much Jones was able to participate, so seeing the final injury report will provide more clarity on that.
The same is true of fellow starting corner Leon Hall, who was present for practice after sitting out the last two days with a back injury. Hall's back injury caused him to miss Wednesday's and Thursday's practice session. He's only missed one game this season due to a back injury, the team's Week 6 win in Buffalo that saw Dennard play in his place at slot corner.
With Dennard on I.R. and Hall possibly out Sunday, it may be Josh Shaw who has to take over in the slot. Shaw, a fourth-round rookie out of USC, has slowly been getting more playing time as the season has wore on, and it looks like he could be in for a lot of snaps this Sunday.
Linebacker Vontaze Burfict was able to practice Friday after being limited in Thursday's session due to his knee bothering him. Since he practiced fully on Wednesday and was able to practice in some capacity on Friday, he should be good to go on Sunday in Cleveland.
It's also worth noting that safety George Iloka was at practice Friday, though the extent to which he practiced is unknown as he deals with a groin injury. Iloka was limited on Wednesday before not practicing at all on Thursday.
The Bengals' defense may be without a starting safety, two starting corners and a backup corner Sunday. That's never ideal, but the Browns have their own MASH unit they're dealing with.
Be sure to check back later for the full practice and participation report, as well as the final injury report for Sunday.