Now it is in the hands of "The Big Room."
That's what they call the sprawling board room in the middle of the Bengals administrative offices and it's where owners, coaches and scouts sit down over the next 48 hours to cut the roster to 53 players by the Saturday deadline. Then they'll come back Sunday to tweak it and there may be a lot of that after the Bengals saw some injured players leave Thursday's 27-26 loss to the Colts at Paul Brown Stadium.
Cethan Carter, thought to be leading the H-Back derby, left with his arm dangling in the second quarter. Undrafted rookie Trayvon Henderson, trying to beat out Brandon Wilson for the fourth and final safety spot, or trying to convince them he's good enough to keep five safeties, was building a heck of a case. It even looked like he won the game with an interception at the Bengals 23 with 2:38. But then he appeared to blow out his knee on the run back and was carted off.
"You just hate to see it. It's hard to watch,' said safety Shawn Williams, one of the 35 or so veterans that didn't play. "Guy does everything right. Good kid. Then in the last few minutes, that happens."
It would appear now it will be four safeties, Williams, Wilson, Jessie Bates, and Clayton Fejedelem, and six corners. And since slot corner Tony McRae (ankle) didn't play, does that mean he's made it? Or has to go on injured reserve? As head coach Marvin Lewis would say, stay tuned.
TRIVIA TIME: One guy we know who isn't going to make it is Miami of Ohio rookie wide receiver Jared Murphy, the classic camp guy who got called a few days after training camp started to give them some numbers.
But he'll remember Thursday night for, like he says, the rest of his life.
After Henderson went down, he was a lot more than that. After Murphy ran off the field with the offense, he had about 30 seconds to process it. "Go play safety and stay deep."
Here's a 5-9, 178-pounder too small to play safety in college. That's why he switched to receiver despite being an all-state safety three times for his high school on the outskirts of Fort Wayne, Ind.
"We were down numbers," Murphy said. "Marvin told me to get in there."
Then all of a sudden, Murphy was trying to tackle Ross Travis, a 6-6, 248-pound tight end. It looked like he was gone, not even bothering to run around Murphy. But through him. Somehow Murphy stopped him at 39 yards on the Bengals 28 with 1:18 left.
"I got him out of bounds. I did what I could," Murphy said.
Then on the winning 28-yard TD pass to Cobi Hamilton from Phillip Walker, Murphy said he checked with the cornerback on his side, C.J. Goodwin, and they thought he was going to the tight end in front of him.
"Instead it just grazed over his fingertips and into his arms," Murphy said. "I could have played it better. But I haven't repped it in five years."
But one for the scrapbooks.
"I got to play both ways on an NFL field," Murphy said. "I'll remember it for the rest of my life."
So now you'll get it right. The last Bengal to play both ways?