In his eighth NFL game tackle Fred Johnson drew his first start at right guard Thursday night in Cleveland as head coach Zac Taylor rolled out a surprising active list before the game against the Browns.
On the inactive list were wide receiver Auden Tate, one of the top performers in training camp, and Austin Seibert, the kicker just claimed from the Browns. That means Randy Bullock, last seen grabbing his left calf after missing a game-tying 31-yard field goal Sunday on Opening Day must be healthy.
Jay Morrison of The Athletic tweeted a report that Bullock nailed a 53-yarder in warmups. Before the miss on Sunday he hit a 43-yarder and 50-yarder in the 16-13 loss to the Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium.
Tate going to the bench leaves them six wide receivers as special teamers Alex Erickson and Mike Thomas made the cut. With defensive tackles Geno Atkins (shoulder) and Mike Daniels (groin) out, Taylor had to empty his bench of defensive linemen.
Amani Bledsoe, signed to the active roster this week after making his NFL debut Sunday, and Freedom Akinmoladun, promoted from the practice squad before the game so he could play in his third NFL game and first this season, have been quickly thrown into the mix.
Nose tackle D.J. Reader, ready to go despite missing the bulk of two series in Sunday's fourth quarter with cramps, is the only healthy tackle who began training camp as a regular. Christian Covington got the start in place of Atkins after the six-year vet played well in his Bengals debut on Sunday. Covington had been here less than a week after arriving in a trade from Denver before playing a solid 38 snaps against the Chargers.
The big surprise, of course, was Johnson playing for the injured Xavier Su'a-Filo (ankle) instead of Billy Price. Price replaced Su'a-Filo when he got hurt in the fourth quarter, but they've been trying to find a spot for the massive 6-8 Johnson. The second-year Johnson played well in his lone NFL start in last season's finale against the Browns at left tackle.
Also inactive for the second straight week were running back Trayveon Williams and linebacker Markus Bailey as well as injured safety Shawn Williams. Veteran cornerback LeShaun Sims was set to make his Bengals debut.
See the Bengals arriving for the Week 2 matchup against the Browns.