For Clabo, that means he could be back in familiar territory after a most definite strange experience on Sunday.
The 32-year-old tackle did not play a down against New England in the 27-17 loss after starting every single game he had ever played since first coming to the NFL in 2006.
Before Sunday, Clabo had started 107 of his 107 NFL games and had a streak of 97 consecutive starts. It was the third-longest streak in the NFL among active players behind those of the Jets' D'Brickashaw Ferguson, who is now at 120 straight starts, and Arizona's Eric Winston, the former Houston Texan and Kansas City Chief who now has 111 consecutive starts.
“It was different," Clabo said. "It had been 100-plus games or something like that since I hadn’t started. That was definitely a different experience, but you have to focus on your role. Roles change constantly in this league, and that’s what my role was, to be ready in case anything happened.
"This week my role might be a little different. That’s just life in the NFL from week to week."
Clabo started every game at right tackle for the Atlanta Falcons after missing the first five weeks of the 2007 season until he was released this past offseason.
His benching with the Dolphins came after he started the first six games but struggled in pass protection, particularly in the 23-21 loss against the Buffalo Bills two Sundays ago.
The soft-spoken Clabo deserves credit for not dodging reporters after that game when he was asked on more than one occasion what happened on plays where he got beat one-on-one by Bills pass rusher Mario Williams.
Clabo spoke to the media again Tuesday afternoon and made an interesting admission.
“I understand that there are probably four right tackles in the NFL that can block Elvis Dumerviel and Mario Williams consistently one-on-one; at this point in my career, it doesn’t appear that I’m one of them," Clabo said.
But then he added, "But I still have confidence in my ability to start at right tackle in this league. I don’t really pay much attention to the noise or the chatter that comes from the critics.”
If he does wind up starting against the Bengals, Clabo would be matched up against left defensive end Carlos Dunlap, a former second-round pick from the University of Florida who is second on the Bengals with four sacks on the season.