The Cincinnati Bengals have enough questions at offensive line as it is, so the last thing they need is for a starter to be injured.
That what may have happened as Andre Smith was sent to the rehab field on Monday, instead of joining his teammates on the practice fields.
Andre Smith on rehab field with Peerman, Brandon Wilson. #Bengals— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) July 31, 2017
Smith is entering his first season back with the Bengals after leaving to sign a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings last season. However, injuries limited Smith to just four games in 2016, which unfortunately been a theme for far too much of his career.
While Smith was a key player for the Bengals and their full-time starting right tackle from 2011-15, he was not someone the Bengals made any concerted effort to re-sign during the 2016 offseason. The talented but enigmatic right tackle slowly fell out of favor in Cincinnati during the 2014 season, which saw him miss seven games due to injuries.
In 2015, Smith missed two game due to a concussion, but started in 15 games, including the postseason. However, his performance was bad more often than not. PFF even gave him a 39.6 grade, which by their grading system made him a 'replaceable' player.
In total, Smith has missed a combined 22 games (including playoffs) during the last three seasons. At 30-years-old, Smith’s durability probably isn’t getting any better, so seeing him already hurt (in some capacity) already isn’t as surprising as much as it is disappointing.
Smith was signed this offseason to a one-year deal in hopes he could win the starting right guard spot, though he’s spent his entire NFL career at right tackle.
With Smith out, that means more snaps for Trey Hopkins, Alex Redmond, T.J. Johnson and Christian Westerman at right guard. All four are competing for those last few interior lineman spots on the 53-man roster, so Smith being out will at least help clear up that battle.
Also missing from the practice field on Monday were Michael Johnson (undisclosed injury), Giovani Bernard (off day due to ACL recovery) and AJ McCarron (unknown absence). On the bright side, Wallace Gilberry returned to practice after spending the last two days on the rehab field and sidelines.