The Bengals revamped defense featured three cornerbacks making their first starts of the season in positons other than where they lined up in Sunday's game against Jacksonville at Paul Brown Stadium. First-year defensive lineman Andrew Brown was also supposed to make his first NFL start in place of the injured Carlos Dunlap (knee) and Carl Lawson (hamstring) at left end.
B.W. Webb, who has started four games in the slot this season, moved outside to replace Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) and Darqueze Dennard came off the physically unable to perform list (PUP) to replace William Jackson (shoulder) on the other side. Tony McRae was scheduled to go into the slot to make his second NFL start.
Dennard got the nod for his 20th start after his first week of practice since the week of last season's finale in Pittsburgh.
If it sounds like they're banged up, they are. How banged up? Rookie Jake Dolegala, the No. 3 quarterback, was active for the first time this year. On Friday Bengals head coach Zac Taylor was asked if he'd keep that last spot open for one of the injured guys in a pinch.
"Every situation is always going to be unique in that regard," Taylor said. "There are some weeks we don't activate a guy playing, but if he can give you five snaps, (would you) take him over the third quarterback? Probably. Would there be a worst-case scenario where you had to get out of a game, this guy could go out there and not re-injure himself, then that's something to consider."
But Taylor didn't think he could make that move. Joining Dunlap, Lawson, Kirkpatrick and Jackson on the inactive list were injured wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle), left tackle Andre Smith (ankle) and right guard John Miller (groin).