From an injury standpoint Friday night was brutal. Not since Michael Corleone ordered hits on the heads of the five families have so many guys went down so fast. We won’t even know what we’re missing in Travelle Wharton, but word on the street was he would boost the running game.
Carlos Dunlap has been battling injuries throughout his short career, both Zimmer and Lewis pointed out that he needs to stay healthy. The fear going forward is when guys miss the pre-season they tend to have hamstring issues once the regular season starts. That is scary for a guy who has had issues with his hamstring in the past. Carlos would have such a huge impact on the defense. Having him in the lineup is the difference between a good defense and a great one.
Rey Maulaluga has a lot on the line right now. This being his contract year he has a lot to prove. Since Rey entered the NFL he has not had the success that fellow USC backers Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews have had. Not to mention with any more missed time he is in real danger of being Wally Pipped by a rookie who may just have “IT”. Vontaze Burfict has the nastiness and big-play ability that hasn’t been on the defense since Odell Thurman. But If Rey keeps getting injured this will become Burfict’s position to lose.
The good news is that the team’s free agent additions along with great drafts have given this team a lot of depth. It is nice to see Clint Boling stepping right in for Wharton and with rookie defensive tackles Still and Thompson looking good, it can still keep the defensive line roation fresh and effective. All teams in the NFL will have to deal with injuries at some point. Thanks to the last few drafts. The Bengals are better suited than most.