With what could be a season-ending injury, the Cincinnati Bengals will be without Drew Sample moving forward. That will put more pressure on starting tight end Hayden Hurst, who the team signed this offseason, to produce.
First, in order to be a factor, he’ll need to be on the field. Hurst’s status is questionable for this weekend’s battle with the New York Jets, but it may be a lower-than-expected chance that he gets on the field.
“Starting tight end Hayden Hurst (groin) looked to have a setback Friday when he went limited after going full Thursday and was categorized as questionable,” Bengals.com senior writer Geoff Hobson said.
Hurst has been a factor in both the team’s first two games, catching 5 passes in each and having more than 20 receiving yards in each as well. At 6-foot-4, he presents a large weapon for Joe Burrow.
While Hurst’s updated status is unknown, and it’ll likely be a game-time decision, the potential absence is certainly a concern.
The Bengals are going to need production from the tight end position, especially with the Jets' first-round pick Sauce Gardner looking like a solid cornerback. New York also has former Bengals’ pass rusher Carl Lawson.
The depth behind Hurst is not spectacular, especially with Sample out.
“The Hurst injury is a bit disconcerting since his backup, Drew Sample (knee) is going on injured reserve. That leaves two healthy tight ends in Mitchell Wilcox, who has played 21 snaps this season, and Devin Asiasi, making his Bengals debut after playing just 12 snaps in New England last year,” Hobson wrote.
Let’s just say that’s not quite what Cincinnati wants to be dealing with Sunday in what many are dubbing a must-win game for the Bengals. Cincinnati is a 4.5-point favorite as it visits MetLife Stadium for a 1 pm ET kickoff.