There are no surprises on the Bengals inactive list for tonight’s game against Cleveland. The seven players who won’t dress are wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher, running back Giovani Bernard, cornerback Leon Hall, linebackers Vontaze Burfict and Rey Maualuga, right tackle Andre Smith and defensive end Will Clarke.
Marshall Newhouse will get the start at right tackle for Smith. It will be the 34th start of his career and second of the season after he lined up as a second tight end in Week 3 against Tennessee.
Nico Johnson will make his second consecutive start at middle linebacker for Rey Maualuga. Johnson, whom the Bengals signed off the Kansas City practice squad Oct. 15, only played 17 snaps last week with one tackle. He should see more action tonight with another week to get familiar with the defensive packages other than base.
Vinny Rey will get the nod for Burfit at WIL linebacker, and Jeremy Hill will get a second straight start for Giovani Bernard after running for a career-high 154 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s victory against Jacksonville.
Adam Jones will start for Leon Hall at cornerback, which means first-round rookie Darqueze Dennard is likely to handle the role of slot corner, although Dre Kirkpatrick, the first-round pick in 2012, could see some action there as well.
Negating any advantage Cleveland may have had in the slot is the fact that Andrew Hawkins is among the Browns inactives. The others are defensive back Johnson Bademosi, cornerback Pierre Desir, running back Glenn Watson, cornerback Robert Nelson, offensive lineman Vinston Painter and tight end Jordan Cameron.