One of the many defensive adjustments that the Bengals made against the Ravens on Monday night was a switch in personnel at strong safety. The starter, Taylor Mays, was victimized along with the rest of the secondary and was replaced by backup Jeromy Miles. Though hadn't seen significant time outside of on special teams, the coaches made the move and Miles saw the majority of snaps in the final two quarters.
So what does this mean for the future at the position for the Bengals? Head coach Marvin Lewis was asked this in a press conference on Wednesday and if you were hoping for a clear answer from him, you aren't getting one.
When asked about the brewing situation (per Joe Reedy), Lewis was his usual evasive self.
Between Taylor Mays and Jeromy Miles, where do you see them? It looks like Miles played more in the second half… "Jeromy came in when we substituted him, and I thought he came in and handled himself pretty well. He still had a play or so that we’d like to do better. He has to do better. The standard is high. We’ll keep looking at those two guys. We had some other defensive packages with Jeromy involved, but we’ll keep looking at those two guys as we go."
Really, much like in preseason, neither player really asserted themselves as "the guy". Mays has the reputation of being the hard-hitting, athletic gambler, while Miles is the safer player who may not make as many big hits or impact plays as Mays. Lewis was also asked if a definitive change in the depth chart was coming.
As far as that safety position, the depth chart remains the same? "We’ll see. I’m not big in depth charts. We’ll see who runs out there the first play."
There's nothing too definitive to go on here, but if one were to read in between the lines, I would be as so bold to predict that we will be seeing more of Miles against the Browns this Sunday. One play that defined both the game and Mays' overall play was the unnecessary roughness penalty that Mays received for an unwise helmet-to-helmet shot against Ed Dickson. Lewis doesn't usually put up with that sort of thing for very long, so our guess is that more defensive packages will be implemented. Still, Mays seems to be a pet project of Lewis and Mike Zimmer, so we don't expect him to given up on quite yet.