Entering the week, the Cincinnati Bengals were unsure how many defensive linemen they’d have for Saturday’s playoff game against the Tennessee Titans. Three practices later, they’re in as close of a best-case scenario as they can be.
Trey Hendrickson (concussion) practiced full for the second-straight day and is all cleared to play in Nashville. Hendrickson didn’t miss a single practice this week as he was limited Tuesday.
Hendrickson makes the Bengals’ pass rush go, so having him on the field is huge for the defense. He’s not much of a factor against the run, however, and the team got good news in that department.
Josh Tupou (knee) appears ready to play practicing after a full practice on Thursday. Head coach Zac Taylor claimed that Tupou is “trending in the right direction” to play Saturday. Taylor grouped wide receiver Stanley Morgan (hamstring) in with Tupou as well, but Morgan is listed as questionable.
Zac Taylor says “we’ll see” about DT Josh Tupou and WR Stanley Morgan, but “both are trending in the right direction."— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) January 20, 2022
Tupou playing would give the Bengals five available defensive tackles on the active roster. Zach Kerr is the newest of those five, and Taylor said that it’s definitely possible Kerr makes his postseason debut on Saturday should they need him.
Zac Taylor on new DT Zach Kerr: “There’s a reasonable chance he can work into the mix for us."— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) January 20, 2022
Kerr isn’t the only guy they can turn to at interior defensive line. Doug Costin, a 3-technique by trade, was recently added to the practice squad. He may be able to provide depth behind B.J. Hill at that position.
Hendrickson, Tupou, and Morgan were the only players to not practice full at every practice this week. If all three end up playing, look for an inactive players list that is full of healthy scratches on Saturday.
As for the Titans, it sounds like running back Derrick Henry is set to get his normal workload Saturday, according to NFL Films’ Greg Cosell.
Henry has yet to be officially activated off the Reserve/Injured list, but expect that to happen shortly after a successful week of practice.
Like the Bengals, the Titans have just one player questionable for Saturday in defensive tackle Teair Tart, who’s battling an ankle injury. Tart was limited throughout the week.
Cornerback Jackrabbit Jenkins (ankle) returned to practice after missing Wednesday. Jenkins has had maintenance absences throughout the year, so don’t take his missed practice too seriously. He will play. Outside linebacker Derick Roberson (not injury related) returned to practice as well.