Who will play right tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium? Thanks to the Bengals signing a veteran tackle on Tuesday, it sounds like even they aren’t totally sure right now.
According to the Bengals, they signed veteran tackle and current NFLPA president Eric Winston on Tuesday. Winston, who hasn’t played since being cut by the Seattle Seahawks prior to the start of the regular season, now provides the Bengals some much-needed and experienced depth at the tackle position.
The Bengals have had quite a few problems this season at right tackle after losing starter Andre Smith for the season to a triceps injury. They’ve tried Marshall Newhouse at right tackle after Smith went down, but he hasn’t played well at all. In fact, starting left guard Clint Boling even saw snaps at right tackle this past Sunday in the Bengals win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s not like the Bengals were ever routing the Buccaneers in that game, so that tells you what they think about Newhouse right now.
Back to Winston, who was originally drafted by the Houston Texans in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He started all 16 games at right tackle last season for the Arizona Cardinals, but allowed a whopping 43 hurries and eight hits to go along seven sacks, according to Pro Football Focus. The fact that he’s been unemployed all season should tell you a lot.
Regardless of who starts on Sunday at right tackle for the Bengals, Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds will be expected to have a big game. He’s only recorded 4.5 sacks so far this season and while he leads the team in that stat, he really was expected to hit double-digits this season based on what he’s being paid.
The Steelers enter the game Sunday with only 21 sacks through 12 games and they’re on pace to hit a season-low that we haven’t seen since 1988. If they’re unable to exploit the Bengals right tackle position this coming Sunday and put quarterback Andy Dalton on the ground a few times, they’ll like come away with their sixth loss of the season.