Bengals place Smith on IR, sign free agent Meredith
CINCINNATI -- Andre Smith's season-long battle with injuries is done. The Bengals placed their starting right tackle on injured reserve Tuesday after Smith suffered a torn left triceps injury during the first quarter of last Sunday's 22-13 win at Houston. Marshall Newhouse replaced Smith against the Texans and is expected to take over as the starter this week when the Bengals travel to Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers.
Smith was the team's first-round draft choice in 2009 and has started 54 of the last 59 games, including nine of 11 games this season. He has been dealing with various injuries since sustaining a concussion in training camp that forced him to miss all four preseason games. He was inactive against Cleveland and New Orleans because of an ankle injury suffered against Jacksonville on Nov. 2 but returned to face Houston and All-Pro defensive lineman J.J. Watt.
Smith played one series on offense before being hurt while blocking during a punt return.
Newhouse was signed in the offseason as an unrestricted free agent after playing the last four seasons with Green Bay. He started 31 times in 47 games for the Packers and has made two starts for the Bengals. His first start against Cleveland included two holding calls but he improved against the Saints and Texans as the Bengals allowed quarterback Andy Dalton to be sacked just once in 57 pass attempts.
While Watt finished with seven tackles, one tackle for loss and one pass breakup, he didn't have any game-changing or defining moments that he has so many times proven capable of producing.
"Just not let him make the splash plays because that's what he kind of waits for," said Newhouse after the game. "We ran a lot of plays at him, away from him; we were kind of all over the place pass blocking and all that stuff. We just wanted to be consistent and solid and not lunge on him and all that stuff. He's a great player though. He makes you honest every play, every snap in the first, second, third and fourth quarter. I think I did pretty well for myself. I hold myself to a high standard. After all, we got the win and I'm happy."
The Bengals signed sixth-year offensive tackle Jamon Meredith to take Smith's roster spot and provide depth at tackle. Meredith has 51 games of experience playing with Green Bay and Indianapolis, including 24 starts. Second-year player Tanner Hawkinson was the only other tackle listed on the Bengals depth chart. Left guard Clint Boling has practiced as a tackle but has never played the position in an NFL game. If the Bengals were to use Boling at right tackle, they would play Mike Pollak at left guard.
This is the second straight season the Bengal have lost a starting offensive lineman late in the season and been forced to shuffle the lineup. Boling suffered a torn ACL last Dec. 1 at San Diego. The Bengals moved left tackle Andrew Whitworth inside to guard and started Anthony Collins at left tackle. Collins is now the starting left tackle for Tampa Bay after signing with the Buccaneers as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.
PRACTICE SQUAD OPENING: The Bengals have an extra spot available on their practice squad after linebacker Terrell Manning was signed by the New York Giants to their 53-man roster. Manning was signed by the Bengals on Nov. 18.
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