The end of the season for teams that aren’t headed to the playoffs is a time where plenty of injured players hit injured reserve so other players can get an opportunity to suit up.
For the Bengals, we already saw A.J. Green get hit with that indication, and now it looks like it is cornerback William Jackson III’s turn to call it done for the year.
#Bengals injury updates:— Marisa Contipelli (@BengalsMarisa) December 26, 2019
CB William Jackson will not play Sunday, likely to go on IR this week.
WR Stanley Morgan is still in concussion protocol.
Head Coach Zac Taylor expects G John Miller and CB Tony McRae to suit up and go against the Browns.
Jackson had been playing through a shoulder injury for a good portion of the season, and when he aggravated the injury against the Dolphins to the point he had to leave the game, this seemed to be what most expected. Now, Cincinnati will play on Sunday without either of their starting corners from the beginning of the season as Dre Kirkpatrick was placed on IR earlier in the year.
This opens up an avenue for second-year cornerback Darius Phillips to start against the Browns. He came in after Jackson left last week, and he caught an interception. He was also just all over his coverage as Ryan Fitzpatrick tried to pick on him. He will certainly have a chance to prove he should be considered for more playing time next year with a good game this week.
Phillips will have his hands full with the combination of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, but proving he can keep up with those guys will go a long way when coaches go to evaluate him this offseason. Pro Football Focus already has gawked over his Week 16 performance.
Just how good was #Bengals CB Darius Phillips vs MIA?— PFF CIN Bengals (@PFF_Bengals) December 24, 2019
He was @PFF’s highest-graded CB in Week 16 with a 95.1 coverage grade, producing 2 PBUs and 1 INT on 4 targets.
Phillips made @PFF’s Team of the Week because of his performance. Check it out here⬇️https://t.co/e4KQCBExmH
Undrafted rookie wide receiver Stanley Morgan still being in concussion protocol certainly hurts his chances of suiting up Sunday. Cincinnati already knows they have a stud special teamer in their rookie, so they may just let him end his season early as well to allow them to evaluate someone else with his snaps.
John Miller suiting back up at right guard means Billy Price may not have a chance to turn things around after a very rough start last week against the Dolphins. Price has played center and both guard positions so far this year, but he has still had troubling sticking. The former first found pick will likely need a pretty strong training camp to potentially earn a starting spot (or even a roster spot depending on how aggressive Cincinnati is).
Tony McRae hasn’t really played much outside of special teams, but with Jackson being out, he could see a handful of snaps that Phillips and Greg Mabin have been sharing over the past few weeks.