Now that the 53-man roster has been set, the Bengals turn their focus toward the start of the regular season.
Week 1 at the Jets will be about a tough contest for the Bengals. Making this even more challenging is Cincinnati still having several key players dealing with various injuries, putting their Week 1 availability in question.
Over at Bengals.com, Geoff Hobson gave brief injury updates on several players, including quotes from Marvin Lewis on the status of Cedric Peerman and William Jackson III. Both guys were kept on the initial 53-man roster, which gives them the chance to go on I.R. and be designated to return later this year.
"We feel that William Jackson and Ced Peerman, from what we've been told, have an opportunity to possibly at some point be able to come back this football season," said Lewis. "So we're going to try to keep that avenue open, at least that option open for us."
William Jackson III
Jackson is still recovering from a torn pectoral muscle that required surgery. He will likely go on I.R. and could be brought back later in the year, but probably not anytime soon as he continues to rehab.
Peerman, who suffered a broken forearm, may also go on I.R. and could be the player the Bengals choose to bring back later in the year. However, his injury and rehab should allow him to return sooner than halfway through the season, so it's possible the Bengals just keep him on the roster and roll with three healthy backs for the time being.
Another key Bengal dealing with injury is Tyler Eifert. The star tight end is likely going to miss several games to start the regular season. He may not return until as late as Week 6. But because Eifert is on the 53-man roster and didn’t stay on the PUP list, it seems like his return could come sooner rather than later.
As for Tyler Kroft, Hobson indicates that the second-year tight end is on track to start Week 1 at New York. Kroft is recovering from a knee sprain that sidelined him for most of training camp and all four preseason games. He has yet to return to practice.
Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher
Elsewhere, offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher continue to rehab from this injuries and remain 'questionable' for Week 1. Ogbuehi is dealing with a toe injury, while Fisher is working through an ankle injury. Both have missed much of the past month and haven't returned to practice yet.
Finally, Hobson says that Darqueze Dennard is expected to start Week 1 at slot cornerback. Dennard has missed the past month of action with a significant ankle sprain. He too has yet to return to practice, but like everyone else mentioned above, has been working on the rehab field recently.
It certainly appears like the Bengals are getting healthy just in time for the start of the 2016 regular season. As bad as camp and the preseason were for injuries, it looks like the Bengals should be close to full strength in the coming weeks.