As the Cincinnati Bengals look to field a full strength team this Sunday, they could still be without a few key players.
Photo Credit: Marl LeBryck - USA TODAY Sports
AFC North Division Champions, the Cincinnati Bengals have just one more game to go before the end of the season, and head coach Marvin Lewis has said that he fully intends to play a full strength team in the hope of home field advantage throughout the post season.
He may be just a few players short of his usual full strength team, unfortunately as some of the Bengals' 'old reliables' sat out practice Friday and will probably sit out the game at home to the Baltimore Ravens.
The biggest hole that coaches will need to fill this Sunday is the tight end slot, as both Jermaine Gresham (Hamstring) and Tyler Eifert (Neck) did not practice today,Gresham limited Tuesday and did not practice the rest of the week and Eifert, having not practiced at all since injuring his neck last Sunday in the 42-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Their back up Alex Smith had been out all week due to a concussion and only began practicing again on Thursday, so his status is in doubt, too.
This leaves Orson Charles, fullback/tight end, who has had issues throughout the season with blocking to take up the slack. although questions do remain about his effectivity. The Bengals also might decide to use their slot receivers in the tight end position more, in order to help with blocking.
On the other side of the ball, it seems as though the Bengals will be once again without cornerback Terrance Newman (knee), who didn't practice again this week and hasn't played since being injured against the Indianapolis Colts. Defensive tackle Devon Still (back) who sat out the game against the Vikings will likely sit out this Sunday too.
It would make sense that Lewis would sit out any players that might have a question of doubt hanging over their heads coming into this weekend, as a re-aggravation would mean that they could be without those players for the entirety of the post season, which of course would be a lot worse.
The Bengals will host their first game at the very least, so it's better to rest than try at all costs to secure a victory.
Simon Greene - Cincinnati Bengals Team Journalist for The Spot. Be sure to Follow Simon on Twitter @simongreene88