It looks like the Bengals will have all hands on deck in London.
The one injury concern for Week 8 has been Andrew Whitworth, who suffered a concussion during Sunday’s win over the Browns. However, Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson reports that Whitworth has cleared the protocol and will make the trip to London Thursday.
It seems safe to say Whitworth will be starting at left tackle vs Washington. He sat out of practice on Wednesday before returning on Thursday.
If Whitworth were to miss this game, that would be a huge loss for an already struggling offensive line. Whitworth is once again locking down the left side, which he’s been doing for much of the past decade. Coming into Week 7, Whitworth was Pro Football Focus’ third-ranked tackle. His 91.0 pass-blocking grade is the highest of any NFL lineman, guards and centers included.
If Whitworth were to be limited, the Bengals would rely on Jake Fisher or Eric Winston to help out at left tackle. Fisher has struggled on the right side in brief stints there during the preseason and regular season. His 47.8 PFF grade would put him at 62nd among offensive tackles if he played enough snaps to qualify.
Winston hasn’t yet played left tackle for the Bengals, as Whitworth is very durable and hasn’t missed a game since Winston joined the team. But, he’s played just about every spot along the offensive line during his time in the NFL, and it may not be a stretch to think he’s better at either tackle spot right now than Fisher or Cedric Ogbuehi.
Washington enters Week 8 tied with Minnesota for the seventh-most sacks (19) this season after racking up three in Week 7 vs Detroit. So, having Whitworth playing will be key to this game to help out the Bengals’ offensive line, like he so reliably does.
As long as Whitworth can get through Week 8 without any kind of setback, he’ll then get a much-needed bye week to rest and recover.
It’s also worth pointing out that Washington tight end Jordan Reed, who is also dealing with a concussion, is telling reporters he’s 100-percent healthy heading into Week 8. He and Josh Norman, who also is battling a concussion, are the biggest injury concerns for Washington.