With no changes to the 53-man roster Saturday amid the waiver-wire avalanche, all eyes are now turned to the next list that Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has to deliver:
It's due at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10 in Baltimore. That's when Bengals public relations director Jack Brennan hands the referee the Bengals list of seven inactive players 90 minutes before the opener and Lewis is going to keep the Ravens guessing right up until then.
And for a lot of reasons, that list has more drama than this weekend's yawner of a roster cut to 53.
One thing staying pat showed, at least until the Bengals make the expected move with center
But they usually keep just five receivers active, so which four are going to play with Pro Bowler
That's why Lewis is going to keep them guessing.
Brennan's list may also reveal that the depth the Bengals acquired during the offseason either in the draft or free agency could be tested right away against the team that came within a dropped pass of going to the Super Bowl.
The Bengals, very active in an offseason they signed 14 free agents in 27 days in March and April, were hit early with injuries. But they've also been hit in a couple of sports they reinforced in the offseason.
They are without the center they've had for the last 50 games and the status of their best pass rusher (left end
Cook won't be on the inactive list but the guy that replaces him on the roster may very well be with the Bengals expected to bring in a slew of players to work out Tuesday after they practice Monday. Even if they re-sign the unclaimed Roddrick Muckelroy to replace Cook it would be hard to see him active as a fourth middle backer.
When the Bengals released on Friday tight end Colin Cochart (picked up by Dallas on Saturday) that indicated that tight end
Plus, Lewis hasn’t ruled out Dunlap (knee) or Scott (hand). Indeed, Dunlap and Gresham looked pretty vigorous in drills before Thursday's game.
Of course, it's tough all over. The Ravens don't have their best pass rusher (Terrell Suggs) and their first pick, pass rusher Courtney Upshaw taken in the second round, may be inactive after reinjuring his shoulder.
But the Bengals are certainly going to have their depth at cornerback tested after they beefed it up with the free-agent signings of
Newman, the 10-year veteran who turns 34 on Tuesday, has been a godsend. While Jones and Allen have been saddled with muscle issues and missed most of the preseason, Newman has been healthy and played well enough that defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has been able to tinker with cornerback
Jones and Allen figure to be active against the Ravens and Jones appeared to be one of those guys that could have played on Thursday.
The other spot where the Bengals were fortunate to fill up was the defensive line. They drafted tackles
Not only did Dunlap go down with a knee injury in the preseason opener, but left end
So if Dunlap can't go, all eyes are going to be on the additions. Anderson, Still and Thompson weren’t around in last year's season finale at Paul Brown Stadium when running back Ray Rice popped runs of 70 and 51 yards in Baltimore's 24-16 victory. Since the Bengals haven't gone after another end, they must think Geathers is OK.
Maybe Scott and Dunlap will be OK in time with the extra day of rest. Scott's legs aren't hurt and they got the Bengals back into that game when his 25-yard touchdown run cut the Ravens lead to 17-10 late in the third quarter.
The Bengals signed Green-Ellis in the offseason because they believe the former Patriot has the kind of tough reliability needed in the AFC North stocked with four of the league's top 10 defenses last season. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden's idea has been back-by-committee, but The Law Firm is no stranger to carrying the load in spots for the pass-happy Pats. He set career highs last season against the Jets No. 5 defense with 136 yards on 27 carries and had 20 carries against the 11th-ranked Chiefs for 81 yards later in the season.
And maybe the biggest test of depth is Cincinnati's most recent signing, veteran center