The Bengals' bubble situation lacks major intrigue at this point, primarily because the team preemptively struck on roster-cut drama by letting WR Jordan Shipley loose last week.
Shipley became the odd man out at WR and Cincinnati gave him a chance to latch on with another team (Tampa Bay claimed him). Seeing a big-name cut would be a surprise, though the crowded cornerback situation would be where the notable cut comes from.
Historically, the surprises from the Bengals come in the form of trades and waiver-wire selections. Each of the last three years the Bengals jettisoned players expected to make the roster or forced a cut of one (2010 CB David Jones, 2011 DT Clinton McDonald, 2012 WR/PR Quan Cosby).
Not taking possible trade into consideration, here are three Bengals on the bubble:
- MLB Vontaze Burfict -- One of the preseason's most interesting storylines, the maligned undrafted free agent from Arizona State drew praise over the first three weeks. Marvin Lewis even said he sees Burfict as an NFL starter one day. Burfict's pushing LB Roddrick Muckelroy for the spot behind Rey Maualuga, but he's no sure bet. He'll need to continue his rise over the final two preseason games.
- CB Adam Jones -- Jones will probably make the team but his constant nagging injuries are wearing thin on coaches. Lewis referenced recently he's learned "who I can count on" at the cornerback position because of who has played snaps this preaseason. Jones missed the beginning of camp with a strained calf and tweaked a groin muscle once he returned. He missed the first six games of last season recovering from a neck injury then missed two more pulling a hamstring in his first game back. He'll miss his second consecutive game Thursday. How long will the Bengals hold a roster spot for a player repeatedly forced to the sidelines at a position already packed with veterans and first-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick?
- LB/DE Dontay Moch -- The 2011 third-round draft pick owns high expectations, but consistently resides inside defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer's doghouse. He has struggled retaining the playbook and schemes. He'll serve a four-game suspension to buy him time if an injury were to clear a roster spot, but he must play well the final two games to find a way on to the roster in Week 5.