As expected, the Cincinnati Bengals will be without several defensive starters against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On Saturday, the team ruled out Nick Vigil, Vincent Rey and Shawn Williams. Vigil had been starting at strongside linebacker, and replacing him would have likely been Rey if he were healthy.
Now, it looks like rookie Jordan Evans may get the starting nod, even though the Bengals play mostly nickel defenses without that third linebacker.
At safety, Clayton Fejedelem is in line to start, though we may see a lot of Josh Shaw as well.
The only other Bengal on the final injury report for Cincinnati is Michael Johnson. The veteran defensive lineman is dealing with a back issue that has him questionable to play Monday. If he’s out, Jordan Willis will start at defensive end across from Carlos Dunlap.
As for the Steelers, they have ruled out starting cornerback Joe Haden and tight end Vance McDonald. Safety Mike Mitchell is doubtful, so that’s two starting defensive backs likely out for this game.
But the big news is All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown is questionable to play due to a toe injury. it’s really hard to see him missing this game. If nothing else, expect him to be active to serve a decoy. Even a hobbled Brown would draw significant attention from any defense.