Would it be a little presumptuous to declare George Iloka as the team's starting strong safety when the team heads to Chicago in September? Maybe. Or not.
When the depth chart was released last week, Iloka was listed as the first-team strong safety. Yes. Depth charts are meaningless things that offer some clarity, but are hardly used to settle arguments in early August. It's the other things that we take note on. Specifically, continuous praise by the Bengals head coach.
Last week Lewis told reporters that Iloka has "really emerged as a guy (that) we can count on."
It's a three-man race to win the starting job, but the feeling is Iloka is starting to distance himself from Taylor Mays and Shawn Williams -- and even Jeromy Miles. When asked about their performances against Atlanta, Lewis immediately addressed Iloka.
"George (Iloka) did great. George knows what to do and how to do it," Lewis said on Saturday. "He gets people where they belong and he knows where he belongs and that’s great. I feel really good about him. Shawn (Williams) came in and played well. (Jeromy) Miles did a good job. Taylor Mays was active in there in his snaps. We’re right where we need to be there."
Iloka only played 15 defensive snaps on Thursday against the Falcons, far less than Taylor Mays (41), Shawn Williams (24), and even Jeromy Miles (16). All four were significant special teams contributors as well.