Updated: 2 p.m.
Another day, another linebacker out and it gave head coach Marvin Lewis a forum to show how one aspect of the "Bengal Way" works.
Middle backer Anthony Schlegel (back) won't be able to play Sunday, so Landon Johnson becomes the fourth starter in the middle this season when he moves over from his weakside spot.
Lewis made the call after Friday's practice, but wouldn't say who would replace Johnson at weak. Rashad Jeanty, a strong-side guy, and Dhani Jones, who has played both, are the only backers left with any NFL starts.
Wide receiver Chad Johnson (neck) worked after taking Thursday off for treatment and is a go.
But it only gets worse. Tight end Reggie Kelly (knee), so valuable a blocker in the Bengals pass protection against the Ravens, is doubtful after missing his third straight practice of the week. So is the team's top tackler on special teams, Herana-Daze Jones (knee), and defensive tackle John Thornton (neck).
Lewis could only shake his head as he looked at the backer corps Friday. He won't have a linebacker in the same spot from the 27-20 win over Baltimore just 60 days ago, and only two were at Georgetown College training camp. Jones and Corey Mays weren't even on the team for that game.
But in the wake of injuries to Jeanty, Ahmad Brooks and Caleb Miller, the Bengals did find three competent guys in Jones (released free agent), Schlegel (waiver wire), and Lemar Marshall (released free agent), a starter in that game despite arriving less than two weeks before. But he blew out his Achilles' Oct. 1 against New England.
Citing the current media buzz about the Bengals not having a titled general manger, Lewis said, "Some things put some more things on my plate and in this case we were able to choose three good guys. Ability-wise they were what they are, but more importantly they're great people and very disciplined players. It does happen. We do find people. It works."
Some argue the Bengals need a pro personnel guy to lighten the load of Lewis and the college scouts. But Lewis said even if he had that guy, he would be just as involved because he wants to know what kind of person the guy is, watch tape on him, and refer him to special teams coach Darin Simmons if needed.
Lewis says he shares the in-season pro personnel portion of the job with Bengals president Mike Brown, vice president of player personnel Paul Brown and a college staff that includes director of player personnel Duke Tobin, director of footbal operations Jim Lippincott, and scout Greg Seamon.
Lewis wouldn't talk about the merits of a pro guy ("It's out of my realm of responsibility," he said), but he does clearly enjoy having no layers between himself and the final decision maker, Mike Brown.
"The process is not going to change. The difference is we have one less (person) in the process," Lewis said.