The Bengals answered one question about their future Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium when they deactivated former first-round pick Cedric Ogbuehi and moved left guard Clint Boling to left tackle to face Denver Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Bradley Chubb.
That brought Trey Hopkins off the bench to play left guard and Ogbuehi's Bengals career in serious doubt when his rookie contract runs out at the end of the season. It is Boling's 107th Bengals game, but only his third start at left tackle. He was there for the last two games of last season when Ogbuehi was inactive with a shoulder injury and was the man that stood up to Terrell Suggs' fourth-and-12 rush in Baltimore on the last offensive snap of the season.
The move put Boling face-to-face with an emerging Suggs in Chubb, the fifth pick in the draft that has been as advertised with nine sacks. No doubt Boling spent the week getting some tips from his good friend and neighbor for six seasons in former Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth before Whitworth went to the Rams. As Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham noted in a pre-game report, Chubb had three sacks against the Rams in Denver's 23-20 loss at Mile High on Oct. 14. Easing matters for Boling could be the athleticism of Jeff Driskel, the Bengals back-up quarterback making his first NFL start.
Head coach Marvin Lewis' inactive list was sans wide receiver A.J. Green for the first time in the three games that have followed the bye and SAM linebacker Nick Vigil for the first time since Oct. 14. Vigil lined up next Vontaze Burfict in the middle and Jordan Evans at WILL backer.
Back-up cornerback Tony McRae (concussion), one of the specials teams' top tacklers, was out as was starting left tackle Cordy Glenn (back) and back-up wide receiver Josh Malone (hamstring). Linebacker Brandon Bell, rookie wide receiver Auden Tate and defensive end Kasim Edebali looked to be healthy scratches with the Bengals needing room to for freshly signed tackle Andre Smith. Although he showed up on Thursday Smith can be used as an extra or emergency tackle.
If it is December, that must mean more NFL media reports about Lewis. This one didn't break as close to the kickoff of last year's game in Minnesota. Pretty close, but not as earth shattering. The report says his contract has a team option for 2019.