The Cincinnati Bengals managed to sneak by the Cleveland Browns in Week 1 with a 27-17 win. But the news wasn't all good for the Bengals, as starting left tackle Andrew Whitworth went down with a left foot injury and could miss some time.
Whitworth was seen wearing a protective boot on the foot in the locker room following the game, and that is awful news for Bengals fan. The 29-year-old left tackle is a team leader and recently signed a contract extension that will keep him in Cincinnati through 2015. With Bruce Gradkowski and Andy Dalton as the Bengals' two quarterbacks, an experienced blind side protector is a must.
Neither Gradkowski nor Dalton can be expected to dominate anyone on their own, which makes keeping pressure off of them extremely important. The two quarterbacks combined to go 15-for-27 for 155 yards and two touchdowns. Dalton left the game with a wrist injury and is currently being deemed probable for Week 2.
No matter who takes the snaps on Sunday at Denver, the Bengals will need their franchise left tackle healthy if they hope to be successful. Whitworth may actually be the team's most important offensive player, as he anchors an offensive line that may crumble without him.
You can bet that Whitworth will try and be back by this weekend's game, but if he isn't, don't expect much out of Cincy's offense. The Bengals had just 294 total yards against an average Browns squad in Week 1, and that was with their prized tackle healthy.
Without Whitworth in the lineup, things could get ugly for the Bengals' shaky offensive line, and that will slow down the entire offense.