With the injuries piling up at linebacker, Vincent Rey drew his first start of the season and 49th of his career in place of injured SAM backer Nick Vigil Sunday when the Bengals' battered defense tried to fend off Tampa Bay's NFL-leading offense at Paul Brown Stadium.
On the other side of middle linebacker Preston Brown at WILL, Jordan Evans did what he did in two previous games this season and started in place of Vontaze Burfict. Depending on how Tampa lined up to start the game, Tony McRae would get the nod at slot corner instead of Rey or Evans, slated to make his seventh NFL start in his second season.
Rey, an eight-year vet who has been nursing an ankle injury since the pre-season opener, started 11 games in all three spots last season, eight at WILL, two at MLB and one at SAM. Ironically, Kevin Minter, who started seven games in the middle last season, just signed with Tampa this week after losing starting middle linebacker Kwon Alexander for the season.
Also drawing a start with John Ross (groin) out was Alex Erickson, the Bengals' kick and punt returner joining fellow wide receivers A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd in the lineup. It's the second start of his NFL career, both coming in the last three weeks.
No surprises on the inactive list. Joining Vigil, Burfict and Ross were slot corner Darqueze Dennard, tight end Tyler Kroft, center Billy Price and running back Giovani Bernard.
As expected the Bucs iced starting defensive linemen Gerald McCoy and Vinny Curry.