Bengals second-year linebacker Emmanuel Lamur could be in for a breakout year, according to Geoff Hobson, as he was one of the more impressive players at Paul Brown Stadium on Tuesday when the team took the field for Organized Team Activities (OTAs).
According to Hobson, Lamur has jumped from 230 pounds to 242 pounds and impressed players and coaches by not sacrificing any speed. According to wide receiver A.J. Green, "He's swole."
If you know what that means, let us know.
What's most important, though, is what the Bengals defense did when in nickel, which is the formation they spent the majority of their time in 2012. While the 4-3 base package has James Harrison at SAM, Rey Maualuga at MIKE and Vontaze Burfict at WILL, according to Joe Reedy, both Harrison and Maualuga come out and Lamur joins Burfict as the team's two linebackers on the field when they're in nickel.
When the Bengals went nickel, they used the rookie WILL backers they used at the end of last season, Vontaze Burfict and Emmanuel Lamur. When Harrison gets comfortable with the base, the Bengals figure then to get him involoved up front in nickel.
This is great news for Bengals fans. While Maualuga struggled when the team had all three linebackers on the field, he was especially bad in nickel when he was asked to cover a running back or tight end. Since the Bengals spent the majority of their time in nickel on defense, this would mean Maualuga would spend the majority of the time on the sidelines where he won't do as much damage. Of course, this was a glimpse at the first OTA and really has no bearing on what will happen when the regular season comes around. However, it's clear the Bengals realize that something needed to change.
Lamur, like Burfict, was undrafted in 2012, but out of Kansas State. He played in nine games in 2012, making 19 tackles and broke up one pass.