Falcons tight end Michael Palmer hauled in the 20-yard pass. As he was falling to the turf during a tackle by linebacker Vontaze Burfict, safety Taylor Mays lowered his shoulder at full speed to seriously destroy every molecule between himself and the football. Unfortunately the impact hit Burfict in the head, forcing the linebacker out of the game in what could be a concussion.
After the game Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said Burfict will be fine but sounded a little irritated.
“Burfict is fine. I’m going to tell you right now I’m not going to sit here and talk about concussions all season. At all. I’m going to make that clear.”
Our rather immediate reaction to last night's game was that Taylor Mays' careless tackling, which has injured two linebackers (Rey Maualuga suffered a knee sprain against the New York Jets and Vontaze Burfict left the game against Atlanta with a hit to the head) meant he was on a decline while Jeromy Miles vastly improved his own stock (more on that later). However according to Brennen Warner who is attending practice at Paul Brown Stadium, Taylor Mays remains with the first-team defense during walkthroughs.
Mays had planned to speak with the coaches about his tackling, largely feeling remorseful if we read into the quote correctly. Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis agrees that Mays could work on keeping his head up to see what he's hitting. But doesn't want Mays to lose that aggressiveness.
"There’s only one way to play and maybe there’s some things that he can keep working on in practice to make sure when he gets into the finish point of those plays that his head and eyes are staying up and so forth," Lewis said. "That would be the only thing that I would say he can continue to work at that. That’s one thing that you can at least strive to work on in practice, to keep your head and eyes up when you get into those collision points and so forth, which really will help him down the line as part of being part of the adjustments in the rules and so forth. That will help him on plays."
"(Mays) is playing a position, I would say that our guys in the back end are knocking the tail off of folks right now. It’s evident on tape and when balls are getting caught those guys are getting hit and that’s a good thing," Lewis said. "They’re playing very physical back there and we’ve got pretty good tight coverage and we’re running them into tight spaces, and that’s what you want to have because that will make a difference down the line. Last night we didn’t get those tipped balls. As you keep tipping balls in the air and getting your hands on balls those will start to fall your way."
In other news, Maualuga returned to practice during the team's extremely relaxed one-hour session on Friday.