It looked as though the Bengals would head into Houston this weekend at nearly full-strength with everyone practicing this week, but now comes word they’ll likely be without starting strong safety Chris Crocker in Saturday’s AFC Wild Card game vs. the Texans after he was listed as doubtful in Friday’s injury report. Crocker suffered a serious thigh injury during Sunday’s win over the Baltimore Ravens, and it immediately forced him out of the game, though he did later say he could have gone back in.
It’s a significant loss for the Bengals, but it shouldn’t be one that ultimately decides the game on Saturday. Nate Clements has started seven games at safety this year and played well before ultimately losing his job to Crocker. In games he started and played specifically at safety, he received a +4.0 grade from Pro Football Focus while missing only two tackles. He has 53 tackles, one forced fumble, and one interception this year.