CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 11: George Iloka #43 of the Cincinnati Bengals works out during a rookie minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium on May 11, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
There are very few possible weak positions on the 2012 Bengals roster and some could argue that safety is one of them. Going into this last weekend's minicamp, the projected starting safeties are Reggie Nelson and the unproven Taylor Mays. The club is seemingly going in a youthful direction at the position, relying on Mays, second-year man Robert Sands, and rookies George Iloka and Tony Dye.
Given the inexperience at the position, our own Josh Kirkendall wrote on how the team has a significant need for a youngster to step in and fill the other starting safety position. Say what you want about the decline of Chris Crocker, but he did bring leadership and a semblance of stability at the position. With his departure, head coach Marvin Lewis realizes that an unproven player will have to step up. Lewis spoke on this, via Paul Dehner, Jr., of CBSSports.
The Bengals released veteran S Chris Crocker and boast a collection of second- and third-year players at safety opposite S Reggie Nelson. After rookie minicamp, Marvin Lewis cited the great camp of fifth-round pick S George Iloka and CFA S Tony Dye and believes the position could be younger. "These guys are going to be knocking on people's doors very quickly," he said.
It's great to hear the praise from Lewis about the new additions to the position group. The one thing that the Bengals tend to do that other teams don't, is that they interchange their safeties. Though they have a "free" safety in Nelson and a "strong" safety in Mays, we could conceivably see a combination of some or all of these players contributing at both positions.
One thing is certain--the team needs to find it's guy(s) through Training Camp. The Bengals have notoriously and unwisely overlooked this position group for a long time and they need to get this group shored up heading into the season.