The Cincinnati Bengals may be short-handed at defensive end to start the season.
Having enhanced the defensive line quite a bit last offseason with the addition of D.J. Reader, the Bengals continued to show aggression towards improving their line by end Trey Hendrickson this offseason, then traded for B.J. Hill earlier this week.
They’ve also drafted many defensive linemen over the past few seasons. One of those players was 2020 fifth-round pick Khalid Kareem. The 23-year-old was drafted out of Notre Dame and missed some time last season with an injury.
Kareem was sidelined for a good chunk of training camp and the preseason this year with a shoulder injury, but he was active Sunday vs. the Miami Dolphins, though he apparently injured the other shoulder at some point during the game, according to Geoff Hobson.
While he may miss time, Kareem is expected to be back at some point this season, per head coach Zac Taylor.
Zac Taylor said since DE Khalid Kareem didn't go on IR, the team does expect him to return at some point this season.— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) August 31, 2021
Having Kareem back will be important for Cincinnati. While he had just nine tackles and a sack last year, the team will need his production with rookie Joseph Ossai among the three players placed on injured reserve, while Cam Sample and Darius Hodge are rookies.
A season-ending knee injury did Ossai in, and the Bengals will now be hoping for some solid production from Kareem, who had 26 tackles for a loss and 13 sacks in three seasons at Notre Dame.
With Sam Hubbard, Hendrickson, Reader, and Larry Ogunjobi the key four for Cincinnati, Kareem will be crucial for some reserve snaps behind the two defensive ends.