It seems like the one word that could describe the Bengals’ preseason as well as many other NFL teams is ‘injury’. There has been an immense amount of injuries this preseason, both major and minor. Some can attest that these injuries may be taking place because of the new CBA rules limiting practice time for players and as a result, keeping them away from team trainers and strength and conditioning coaches. Whatever the reason may be, the Bengals seem to be one of the teams that have struggled with injuries more than most.
The injury bug has been swarming around the franchise from Cincinnati like a vulture circling a dying caribou. That injury bug has bitten once again, the victim this time, is center Kyle Cook. Cook looks to be lost for the season which makes the second starting offensive lineman to suffer that fate this preseason (Travelle Wharton was lost for the year in the first preseason game).
Luckily for the Bengals, they will not have to rely on an unproven player or rookie to fill the void at center. They have signed veteran center, Jeff Faine who was a former first round draft selection. Faine also has experience in Jay Gruden’s offensive system from his time in Tampa Bay. Faine is heading into his 10th NFL season and will be the Bengals oldest offensive starter at the age of 31. Faine has had a very solid career and could end up being a very smart move for the Bengals as their offensive line has struggled mightily this preseason.
More likely than not, the Bengals starters will play a couple of series in their preseason finale after numerous personnel changes and their struggles against the Green Bay Packers last week. Faine will have to take the final preseason game and the ensuing practices very seriously as he looks to be plugged in as the opening day starter. Generally, switching around offensive linemen is never a good idea, however, the Bengals have no choice as they need to move on from their injured starters. It will be interesting to see how quickly Faine develops rapport with quarterback, Andy Dalton as they will have to decipher defensive schemes together in effort to provide the most effective offensive play. Being that practices are now closed to the public, this should be the only chance that Bengals fans will get to see Faine in action before week one of the regular season.