What Leon Hall's Season-Ending Injury Means to the Cincinnati Bengals

Matt Gray@mattkgrayContributor INovember 14, 2011

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 13:  Leon Hall #29 of the Cincinnati Bengals intecepts a pass intended for Heath Miller #83 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during play at Paul Brown Stadium on November 13, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

As reported by Pro Football Talk, it has been confirmed that Leon Hall has suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon and will be out for rest of the year, in what is a massive blow for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hall suffered the injury in the second quarter and understandably limped to the sidelines, later to be seen on crutches in the locker room.

The injury blow ends what has been a fairly pedestrian season for Hall, who following the departure of Johnathan Joseph, was made the Bengals No. 1 CB, receiving a five-year $39 million contract back in September.

As one of the most tenured players on the young defense, Hall's absence will be sorely felt in the coming weeks and his experience will be especially missed against division rivals the Baltimore Ravens this coming Sunday.

Behind Hall, the Bengals' depth at corner is cause for concern. With Kelly Jennings looking sketchy at best in his showings thus far, Cincy may need to use their open roster spot (with Hall heading to IR) to promote Brandon Ghee from the practice squad, as dipping into free agency at this time can be a waste.

However, the injury does open the door to former first-round pick Adam Jones, who has seen somewhat of a career renaissance in Cincinnati despite injury setbacks. Professing a renewed sense of work ethic, Jones has thrived under Mike Zimmer's fiery tutelage and has provided the Bengals with some sparks during his short time on the field.

If Jones can get over his hamstring issues by midweek, he should have enough time to compete with Kelly Jennings for the starting spot against Baltimore, and his winning that position battle would certainly put Bengals fans' minds at ease.

ATLANTA - OCTOBER 24:  Adam Jones #24 of the Cincinnati Bengals against the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on October 24, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Going into Week 10, the Bengals had one of the healthiest teams in the league, so to some extent we were all waiting for something like this to happen. Unfortunately, the injury bug has bitten a pillar of the Bengals top-tier defense.

With the schedule not letting up for some time, Hall's replacement will have to step up fast to keep this team in ball games. Joe Flacco and the Ravens will air it out next week and the Bengals secondary has been the weakest facet of the defense.

The loss of Hall seems all the more devastating in the shadow of a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, in which he provided the Bengals' only interception. 

Going forward, this setback will likely hurt the Bengals in the mental game more so than in terms of production. Jones has all the tools to step in and play well, but as a leader of the defense Hall has been influential in keeping the Bengals secondary alert and prepared even when they have faced adversity, as the 14-0 deficit showed this Sunday.

So as we head into Week 11, the hopes of Bengals fans rest—in part at least—with Mr. Pacman Jones.