The Bengals have released their final injury report in advance of Thursday Night Football against the Miami Dolphins and it comes with some bad news.
Starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick has been listed as doubtful to play with a hamstring injury, as has tight end Tyler Eifert, who’s still dealing with an ankle injury suffered in the Pro Bowl.
Kirkpatrick left Sunday’s game against the Broncos with what was deemed a calf injury, but returned to play. He did not participate in any of this week’s practices and being ruled doubtful means he most likely will not suit up on Thursday against the Dolphins.
Eifert’s ruling was more predictable as it was reported yesterday that he would likely miss the Week 4 matchup with Miami.
Darqueze Dennard, who played in the slot in Weeks 2 and 3 will likely take Kirkpatrick’s spot on the boundary if he does in fact miss Thursday night’s game. Josh Shaw, who also left Sunday’s game with an injury, but has practiced this week, will take Dennard’s spot in the slot.
Luckily, Shaw has played quite well so far this year. Per Pro Football Focus, through 3 weeks Shaw has allowed a passer rating of 0.0.
Dennard missed Week 1 due to an ankle injury suffered in training camp and hasn’t been great during his time on defense so far. Hopefully, he steps up to the plate with Kirkpatrick sidelined as he looks to prove he’s deserving of more playing time.
In addition to Kirkpatrick and Eifert being ruled doubtful, backup safety Derron Smith was also ruled questionable to play on Thursday with a chest injury. Shaw has played some safety in games and practice, as well as having college experience there, so he will likely also be the backup safety should Smith be out on Thursday. Count this as a big opportunity for Shaw after already making a great impression through three weeks. Still, not having Kirkpatrick is a big hit to the Bengals’ defense, especially with how well he’s been playing, coupled with this being a short week with minimal practice time for the Bengals who are healthy.