In his six seasons as the Bengals’ defensive coordinator, Mike Zimmer has seen his unit go through some significant runs of injuries. None of those, though, have resembled what has happened the past couple of weeks.

Cornerback Leon Hall and defensive tackle Geno Atkins have been lost for the season while Rey Maualuga is likely out until after the bye week, so Zimmer knows he has plenty of challenges remaining starting with Sunday at Baltimore.

It’s not the first time Zimmer has had to reconfigure personnel due to an injury and it won’t be the last, either. As he noted following Wednesday’s practice, it’s what he does.

“It’s a challenge, it’s an opportunity,” Zimmer said. “We’ve got some other good players in the locker room that we pride ourselves on playing good team defense. I can’t reiterate that enough. That’s what we do, that’s what we’ve always done and hopefully we’ll continue to do that.”

What we know at the moment is that Brandon Thompson is expected to get his first NFL start Sunday after playing a career-high 35 defensive snaps after Atkins was injured last Thursday in the 22-20 loss at Miami.

A third-round pick last year, Thompson was active for only four games and saw 22 defensive snaps. Through the first eight games, he was averaging 17 plays per game. Thompson has 1.5 sacks and according to press box stats has 16 tackles (10 solo, 6 assists). Coaching staff statistics have him credited with 26 (13 solo, 13 assists).

“I’ll be ready. I’ve been waiting on this moment for a while, and it’s here. I’ve got to embrace it and make the most of it,” Thompson said. “I understand Geno’s a great player. I’m not going to try to come in and be Geno. I am who I am.”

Before Devon Still dislocated his elbow Oct. 21 at Detroit, he and Thompson were getting around the same number of snaps. While Still has made progress, all indications are he is out for Sunday’s game and might not be back until December.

“My swelling was crazy when it first happened. It definitely went down a lot. It’s back to normal size,” Still said. “The main focus now is getting all my motion back and getting the strength back. Once that happens, I’ll be back out there.”

With Still sidelined, expect what we saw during the Dolphins game after Atkins got hurt – Thompson being the main guy but Wallace Gilberry and rookie Margus Hunt also seeing some snaps inside.

Gilberry has plenty of experience playing inside from when he was in a 3-4 scheme in Kansas City.

“It’s all about technique and leverage. True enough that the extra weight helps at times, but when you go in there for a brief stint I can get it done,” he said.