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James Harrison and Margus Hunt could see more snaps

With defensive end Robert Geathers going on IR, the Bengals need some options at defensive end to give Carlos Dunlap a spell. Those options include linebacker James Harrison and defensive end Margus Hunt.

Andy Lyons

With Robert Geathers landing on Injured Reserve Wednesday afternoon with an elbow injury, the question is, who takes his snaps? Though he only contributed with 14 snaps against the Bears during the regular season opener, Geathers actually added 660 snaps last year (third-most on the defensive line) as the team's starting left defensive end.

Carlos Dunlap should take the bulk of the team's defensive snaps at left defensive end, as he's growing into a more balanced end with improvements against the run. That's not in dispute.

But the Bengals could be down to two options:

Coming off the practice field Wednesday, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer indicated SAM backer James Harrison might be an option to take some of the backup Geathers' snaps and (said) that the red-shirt year of second-round pick Margus Hunt, a project defensive end, might be over.

"He's still got a ways to go," said Zimmer, who also said he had no problem putting (him) there.

Save for a handful of disruption that he's caused against the run, Harrison hasn't had a significant impact on the field yet. In 54 total snaps on defense, he's generated one tackle. Margus Hunt, one of the second round picks from the 2012 NFL draft, hasn't played this season yet as an inactive against Chicago and Pittsburgh.