After center Kyle Cook saw a foot specialist early in the week, the Bengals brought in Jeff Faine for a visit as insurance for Cook, whose initial prognosis did not look good. After the Bengals signed Faine, Cook’s prognosis isn’t looking any better. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, “indications are” he’ll miss a “large amount of time,” possibly even the whole season.
Cook had a down year last season after signing a 4 year, 14 million dollar extension last offseason, but he was ProFootballFocus’ 10th rated center in 2011 and he’s overall had a solid career. He’ll definitely be missed, especially if the replacement is Jeff Faine. Faine was released by the Buccaneers in March and tellingly hadn’t made a single other visit this offseason. Though I suppose the move was necessary because their other option was 2010 7th round pick Reggie Stephens, who had yet to play an NFL snap. The Bengals don’t really seem to believe in him.
Faine is heading into his age 31 season and was ProFootballFocus’ 31st ranked center out of 35 last season, especially struggling as a run blocker. The Bengals have also lost left guard Travelle Wharton for the season and 2011 4th round rookie Clint Boling will start in his absence. He played just 172 snaps last season and really struggled. Injuries on the interior offensive line are yet another reason why the Bengals will regress off their 9-win season this year.
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