The Cincinnati Bengals held their first official pre-Steelers practice on Thursday.
Three starters were unable to practice, including Nick Vigil, Vincent Rey and Shawn Williams. Rey and Williams are still battling hamstring injuries that could keep them sidelined for Monday’s big game.
Vigil is also sitting out after suffering an ankle injury in Sunday’s win over Cleveland. All three players look very iffy for Monday, but the good news is the Bengals have replacements who have played plenty this season.
At linebacker, the Bengals will just rely on Kevin Minter and Vontaze Burfict to get the majority of the snaps, while Jordan Evans will get some occasional snaps as well. At safety, Clayton Fejedelem will start in Williams’ absence.
You’d like to have everyone able to play when Pittsburgh rolls into town sporting one of the league’s best teams, but all in all, the Bengals are lucky to have most of their 53-man roster able to play, not to mention all of their heavy-hitters being good to go. It’s become a rarity in recent years for the Bengals to have Andy Dalton, Vontaze Burfict and A.J. Green all able to go versus Pittsburgh, but that should be the case on Monday.
One other note for the Bengals: Cedric Ogbuehi was limited Thursday with a shoulder injury. The enigmatic left tackle has not missed a game this season, but this is something new that popped up following the win over Cleveland. If he were to miss this game, Andre Smith or Eric Winston would start at left tackle...which sounds really bad, but that’s been the story of this spot ever since Andrew Whitworth left.
As for Pittsburgh, the big name out Thursday was star safety Mike Mitchell. The noted Bengals villain has been battling an ankle injury that may very well keep him out this week. His absence has led to the Steelers’ pass defense taking a step backward in recent weeks, including last week when they got torched by Brett Hundley and the undermanned Packers.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Injury Report