With Tanner Hawkinson and Jamon Meredith among the seven not playing, the Bengals are only going with two true tackles. They have to hope starters Andrew Whitworth and Marshall Newhouse remain healthy.
Newhouse will be making his second start for the Bengals when he fills in for Andre Smith, the right tackle who was lost for the season last week at Houston after suffering a left triceps injury blocking Texans defensive end J.J. Watt. While Newhouse didn't allow Watt to record a sack or pass deflection on quarterback Andy Dalton, he had a lot of help. The Bengals probably will revert back to using additional blockers in the form of guards, tight ends and fullbacks to help Newhouse chip Tampa Bay's defensive ends and linebackers.
In the event Newhouse goes down, the Bengals likely will move left guard Clint Boling to the right tackle position, much like they did for two plays last week when Newhouse got poked in the eye. If Boling moves over, Mike Pollak will come off the bench and play his old left guard spot.
It wasn't too surprising that Meredith was declared inactive. The NFL journeyman was added to the roster last Tuesday help address the position's depth following Smith's injury. Hawkinson has been a regular scratch this season, appearing in only three games.
Along with the two linemen, the Bengals also made receiver Greg Little inactive for a third straight game.
Here's the complete rundown of inactives for both teams on Sunday:
RB Rex Burkhead
OT Tanner Hawkinson
OT Jamon Meredith
WR Greg Little
DE Margus Hunt
TE Luke Stocker