As the Bengals hit the field Thursday for practice No. 2 of Week 11, Andy Dalton was back on the field after being limited in Wednesday’s session.
Dalton took a beating during Monday’s loss to the Giants, which included what looks like a minor shoulder injury that limited him in Wednesday’s session. If he were to miss Sunday’s matchup with the Bills, backup AJ McCarron would make his first start of the 2016 season. But, don’t expect that to happen.
It looks like Dalton was having a little fun with the media about who will start Sunday...we hope.
I would say Dalton is OK. Walking out to practice Thursday with McCarron with a smile.— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) November 17, 2016
He deadpanned "AJ is starting this week, "and McCarron tapped his right arm.— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) November 17, 2016
Then again, if Dalton keeps taking the kind of beating he got on Monday, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him go down with a more significant injury.
Oh, did we mention the NFL’s top team in sacks (30) comes to Paul Brown Stadium this Sunday? They are followed by the Ravens (tied for 10th with 22 sacks) and Eagles (tied for sixth with 25). The pass protection absolutely must improve to keep Dalton healthy.
Elsewhere, it was mostly good news on the injury front. Rey Maualuga continued to practice after returning on Wednesday from a week off as he works through a fibula injury. He was listed as limited on Wednesday, so it will be interesting to see how much work he got in on Thursday.
Rey Maualuga is back working with the linebackers today for the #Bengals— Jim Owczarski (@JimOwczarski) November 17, 2016
We should expect the starting linebacker to return to game action soon, possibly as early as Sunday against the run-heavy Bills.
Backup defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry sat out on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday with a calf injury.
No Wallace Gilberry for practice today. Otherwise all accounted for. #Bengals— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) November 17, 2016
It’s hard to say if Gilberry suffered a setback on Wednesday or if this is a precautionary day off. Don’t be surprised if he still suits up on Sunday.
If Gilberry is inactive, that would be good news for Margus Hunt, who was inactive on Monday in favor of the returning Bengals defensive end. If Hunt continues to be inactive, that’ll be a pretty good sign the Bengals have completely given up on him and do not want to re-sign him this coming offseason when he becomes a free agent for the first time.
Be sure to check back later for the full practice and participation report for the Bengals and Bills.