The Bengals placed tight end Tyler Kroft on Injured/Reserve and promoted linebacker Brandon Bell from the practice squad on Friday.
On October 15, Marvin Lewis said Kroft should have been able to return at some point from his foot injury. But it turns out that won’t be the case and his season is now over.
Kroft left the Bengals’ Week 5 game against the Dolphins with a foot injury and hasn’t played (or practiced) since. It was thought he could have needed season-ending surgery at the time of the injury, but since he was never placed on IR (until now) it seemed that wasn’t going to be the reality. The exact injury to his foot has not been revealed.
This leaves the Bengals with C.J. Uzomah, Matt Lengel and Jordan Franks at tight end. Lengel was on the Texans’ practice squad to start the year and Franks was on the Bengals’ practice squad. Uzomah started the year as the third string tight end; now he’s the starter.
As for Bell, he joined the practice squad again in October when Mason Schreck went on IR with a torn ACL. Bell (6-1, 230), originally signed with the Bengals as a college free agent out of Penn State in 2017. He spent most of his rookie season on the team’s practice squad before signing to the active roster and playing in the final three games of the season, recording seven tackles on defense and three tackles on special teams in the process. The Bengals waived him during final cuts this year before signing him to the practice squad on Oct. 23.
The move for Bell comes as the Bengals have been hit hard by injuries at both tight end (see: Kroft, Tyler Eifert, Schreck, Cethan Carter) and linebacker. Starters Preston Brown and Nick Vigil have been ruled out for Sunday against the Ravens, and Vontaze Burfict is questionable. The Bengals could be down to exclusively backups at a linebacker position that is already extremely weak and among the team’s worst positions.
How bad is the Bengals' LB situation with Nick Vigil and Vontaze Burfict out?— Rebecca Toback (@Rebecca_Toback) November 13, 2018
Jordan Evans allowed 120 yards in coverage on Sunday, per @PFF. As such, Bengals linebackers have allowed 59 first downs in coverage on the year, the most by any LB unit in the NFL.
The injury bug has bit the Bengals extremely hard this season.