Breaking down Bengals defensive line after Joseph Ossai injury news

Ossai is listed as doubtful for Week 1 vs Cleveland
Cincinnati Bengals v Washington Commanders
Cincinnati Bengals v Washington Commanders / Rob Carr/GettyImages

Unfortunately, the Cincinnati Bengals didn't leave the preseason unscathed, as Joseph Ossai was injured during the first half of the preseason finale. It's now been revealed to be a high ankle sprain for Ossai.

According to Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Ossai is doubtful to play Week 1.

There's no way else to say it -- This news sucks.

Ossai was coming off a nice 2022 season and while it didn't end on the greatest of notes, fans felt confident that the former third-round pick would be a huge piece for this defense in 2023. He certainly still could be but having to miss time is unfortunate.

Bengals defensive line outlook after Joseph Ossai injury

It's possible that Ossai lands on IR with this injury and if that's the case, it'd allow the Bengals to carry another defensive lineman on their 53-man roster until he recovers and can be elevated back to the roster. Raymond Johnson is someone who impressed during the preseason but was thought to likely be excluded from the final roster due to how much depth the team had on the d-line.

That's the good news here. The Bengals have a ton of talented depth on the defensive line so while losing Ossai is unfortunate, they have the guys who can step up and play well in his absence.

The starters don't change, as it'll still be Trey Hendrickson, B.J. Hill, Sam Hubbard, and D.J. Reader up front for the d-line. Behind them is where things will change a bit, as Johnson might go from being a practice squad candidate to now being on the roster and playing meaningful snaps behind Hendrickson. Jeff Gunter could also benefit from this as well as he was in the same situation as Johnson.

More than likely, however, rookie first-round pick Myles Murphy will be asked to do more than what was planned for him during the first batch of games of his NFL career. Fans were a bit disappointed with Murphy during the preseason so this is his chance to show that he can step up and be an important piece in this defense.


Next. 53-Man Roster Cut Tracker 2023. 53-Man Roster Cut Tracker 2023. dark

Ossai playing as much as he did in the preseason finale was confusing to begin with but injuries happen and now the Bengals need to figure out a new game plan and move on. Hopefully, Ossai recovers quickly and can be on the field in a few weeks.