JANUARY 20: Neither Cappa nor Williams will play against the Bills. Taylor ruled out the starting right guard and left tackle for Sunday’s divisional-round game. With Collins done for the season, this will push three Cincinnati second-string blockers into the lineup against Buffalo.
JANUARY 16: When the Bengals reconvene with the Bills, their offensive line could be in much worse shape compared to when the teams began their Week 17 game that ultimately ended up cancelled. Jonah Williams suffered a dislocated kneecap during Sunday night’s win over the Ravens, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
Zac Taylor called Williams “week to week,” though this injury can sideline players for an extended time period. Neither Williams nor right guard Alex Cappa could walk without assistance Sunday, Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes, providing a grim glimpse of the Bengals’ O-line situation for their divisional-round game. Injured during Cincy’s Week 18 game against Baltimore, Cappa is battling an ankle malady and is also on a week-to-week timetable.
For what it’s worth, Williams has a recent history of playing through this injury. The former first-round pick sustained a dislocated kneecap in the Bengals’ first matchup with the Ravens and did not miss any time. He returned the following week and did not miss a snap for the rest of the regular season. The 2019 first-rounder has rebounded from his lost rookie season — nullified because of a shoulder injury — and has been a vital part of Cincinnati’s O-line over the past three years. The Alabama product will be going into a contract year in 2023.
The Bengals already have La’el Collins out for the season due to a Week 16 ACL tear. Cappa and Williams’ absences in the Ravens rubber match helped lead to four Joe Burrow sacks, with former second-round pick Jackson Carman struggling. Carman replaced Williams at left tackle, playing the blindside post for the first time as a pro. The Bengals benched Carman during his 2021 rookie season, and despite the Clemson product being favored to win the left guard competition this year, he did not do so and only played four regular-season snaps.
A line featuring Carman, Max Scharping and Hakeem Adeniji will be quite different from the one housing Williams and offseason additions Cappa and Collins. Scharping was unable to catch on as a regular Texans starter, bouncing in and out of Houston’s lineup despite a second-round pedigree, and did not make the rebuilding team’s 53-man roster this year. A former sixth-round Bengals draftee, Adeniji has started 15 career regular-season games and five postseason contests — including all four last season. The Bengals attempted to upgrade by adding Collins, but Adeniji will be back in place next week in Buffalo. It remains to be seen whether Williams or Cappa will be able to join him.