Since offensive guard Kevin Zeitler remained in a boot earlier this week, the prognosis for his participation against the Browns this Sunday grew slimmer by the day as he missed every practice this week. Cincinnati announced on Friday that Zeitler will be joined by defensive tackle Devon Still, who remains out with an elbow.
There's several scenarios on how the Bengals will address the offensive line. They could replace Zeitler with Mike Pollak or rookie Tanner Hawkinson, both of whom are backup guards. Cincinnati could also move Andrew Whitworth to left guard, Clint Boling to right guard and Anthony Collins to left tackle, like they did for a handful of plays earlier this year against the Browns.
However, it seems that Lewis could go with Pollak.
"He's done well in practice," Lewis said via Bengals.com. "He's a smart guy and this is why we have him here. Back up the interior and he's getting a chance to do that."
However, more concerning is that safety Chris Crocker sat during every practice this week heads into Sunday as doubtful. There's a slight chance he could play, but it seems more likely that cornerbacks Dre Kirkpatrick and Brandon Ghee will be thrown into the fire this Sunday against the Browns as the fifth defensive back. We'd like to see rookie Shawn Williams (remember him) at some point, but there's no indication that he's ready for significant snaps on defense.
James Harrison showed up on the team's injury report Friday a limited participant with a calf and questionable status for this weekend.
There is some good news.
Linebacker Rey Maualuga suited up on Friday and was limited, though he remains doubtful. Michael Boley, who was viewed as Maualuga's replacement prior to his own injury, practiced every day this week and looks to be ready for Cleveland. He could be Harrison's replacement at strong-side linebacker. Or Vincent Rey could slide out to SAM with J.K. Schaffer playing the middle.
Center Kyle Cook, defensive tackle Brandon Thompson, cornerback Terence Newman and tight end Jermaine Gresham join Boley as probable.
There is some even better news.
Head coach Marvin Lewis told reporters after practice that everyone should be back after next week's bye.
OG Kevin Zeitler
DT Devon Still
S Chris Crocker
LB Rey Maualuga
LB James Harrison
LB Vontaze Burfict
LB Michael Boley
CB Terence Newman
TE Jermaine Gresham
C Kyle Cook
DT Brandon Thompson