On Thursday, linebacker Jordan Evans and tight end C.J. Uzomah returned to practice. Uzomah has been in and out of practice since the regular season began due to knee and ankle injuries.
While Tyler Kroft is clearly the No. 1 tight end, Uzomah figures to have an expanded role this week with Ryan Hewitt likely out. We may even see Uzomah get reps at h-back along with undrafted free agent Cethan Carter.
And if Kroft were to get hurt, Uzomah is suddenly the only capable tight end on the roster. Uzomah is also a good blocker, so having him help the tackles on the edge against a great Bills pass rush could be key in this game.
As for Evans, he’s missed the past few weeks due to an hamstring injury. Evans was getting occasional defensive snaps, as well as significant playing time on special teams. Now that Vontaze Burfict is back, Evans will likely get snaps on just special teams, if he’s even active.
The Bengals also got backup defensive tackle Andrew Billings at practice on Thursday.
Billings is battling a shin injury that kept him out of practice on Wednesday. Billings hasn’t played much this season, but having a big body in the middle could help the Bengals slow down LeSean McCoy and the Bills’ explosive ground game.
One player still sidelined Thursday was John Ross, who did get some work on the rehab field. The Bengals are probably taking it slow with Ross after he reinjured his knee during a Week 3 practice. He could make his return in Week 7 when the Bengals head to Pittsburgh for a big game versus the Steelers.
It would be nice to have Ross against a great Bills defense, but his long-term health is more important.