Every Tuesday prior to the start of training camp, the Bengals hold a media luncheon which includes Cincinnati Bengals President Mike Brown, along with the Cincinnati Bengals coaching staff. Throughout the course of the day, coaches and the owner chit-chats with the media.
Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is in attendance and when asked about the vacant starting safety position, he was confident they'll find that player within.
Zimmer thinks he can find starting safety for season.— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) July 23, 2013
Rookie Shawn Williams will compete against Taylor Mays, Jeromy Miles and George Iloka, who is being identified as the dark-horse in the strong safety competition. Zimmer said that he liked how Iloka, Williams, and Mays practiced during the offseason training program.
Iloka spent the offseason committing the playoff book to memory with help from defensive back coaches Mark Carrier and Adam Zimmer, writes Geoff Hobson at Bengals.com.
"If he couldn't find me, then he'd find Adam and he did a great job transferring the board to the field," Carrier said via Bengals.com. "You can see that he was really learning the ins and outs of the defense. We gave him extra reps and he put in a lot of extra time and had a productive spring."
For Iloka's part, things are settling down for him to give everyone a run for their money when the team decides who will start at strong safety this year.
"Everything has slowed down," Iloka said via Bengals.com. "Everything last year was so fast. I didn't pick it up as quickly as I needed to, but everything has slowed down now and that's what you want. Once you get in the league, it's how fast you can play; if you can process things mentally. You can be a 4.3 guy, but if you're moving at 5 flat, you're going to be slow."
Our favorite quote comes at the end when thinking about who could start opposite Reggie Nelson.
"It could be anyone," Iloka agrees. "I have do whatever I have to do to make that me."