It’s a good thing the Cincinnati Bengals are playing against the Cleveland Browns this week, because the Bengals are seriously hobbled in the secondary. The Bengals have listed three key players as doubtful for this week’s game against the Browns, and two of them are important starters in cornerback Leon Hall and Reggie Nelson. The third is second-year cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, who hasn’t played since suffering an injury in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Players listed doubtful on the injury report almost never play, so all three players will almost certainly be out.
Losing Hall is the biggest blow of them all, because the 28-year-old is one of the best players on the team and remains a top-notch corner in this league. Hall is suffering from a hamstring ailment, as he pulled his hammy in Sunday’s victory over the Green Bay Packers. The speedy corner is as assured as they come in coverage, and he already has a whopping six passes defend this season. That’s the kind of caliber of player the Bengals could be missing, and they can only hope that his hamstring heals up before the game against the New England Patriots. The Bengals loss of Hall would undoubtedly be Josh Gordon’s gain.
Reggie Nelson put himself back on the map as a top safety in this league in 2011, and he is another key player on the Cincinnati Bengals defense and is easily their best safety. Losing him would hurt the Bengals ability to cover uber-athletic Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron, who absolutely went off against the Minnesota Vikings last week. Heck, Cameron has been going off all season, and Nelson would have figured to be crucial in the effort to shut down the top TE.