Posted: 3:55 p.m.
BrooksJust how many more hits can the Bengals take at linebacker?
Both middle linebackers, Ahmad Brooks (groin) and Caleb Miller (back) were downgraded to doubtful Friday for Monday night's game against the Patriots and leaves the Bengals with four healthy linebackers against the Patriots juggernaut. And three of them—Dhani Jones, Anthony Schlegel, and Lemar Marshall—weren't here for training camp.
Schlegel could start in the middle, but so could Marshall if he moves from the strong side and Jones moves into the strong during his second week as a Bengal. Defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan has said he won't move Landon Johnson from the weak side. So we're most likely looking at the eighth different starting middle linebacker in the Marvin Lewis era.
Also, right tackle Willie Anderson (foot) and wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh (knee) didn't practice Friday but are probable. Left guard Stacy Andrews (shoulder) is questionable after a limited practice. Speculation that kicker Shayne Graham (hip) isn't totally healed flies again with his limited work Friday, although he is probable. So is Justin Smith (foot), added to the report Friday after his limited work.
The seven previous starting middle backers? Miller, Johnson, Brooks, Brian Simmons, Odell Thurman, Nate Webster and Kevin Hardy.
Also, in New England quarterback Tom Brady was limited for a second straight day as he rested his shoulder.