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Lewis: Mays Has High Upside

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If you've gone through some comments on Cincy Jungle you would have noticed that one of the hottest topics is Taylor Mays and when he will make an appearance on the field for the Bengals. Mays was acquired via trade with the San Francisco 49ers after the Niners signed Donte Whitner before the season started. The depth at the safety position has been in question over the past couple years and a trade to get Mays was welcome news to many Bengals fans.

However, thanks to a knee injury Mays hasn't been able to make his way on the field. Mays has been one of the most popular topics from reporters and Marvin Lewis' week four Wednesday press conference was no exception. Lewis was asked how Mays was doing and Lewis responded by saying that he is asked that same question by his boss, Mike Brown.

"I’m asked this question a lot by my boss. I’m happy we have Taylor, and at some point I’m confident Taylor will get out and play a lot of football for us. I’m glad he’s with us. He’s everything I expected and better. I’m happy he’s on our side and we’ll continue to coach him, and at some point hopefully I can get him out there and playing for us. I think he has a high upside."

Mays is listed as strong safety Chris Crocker's backup on the Bengals' depth chart right now. Next to Crocker is Reggie Nelson, the team's starting free safety. Nelson was acquired via trade in early September of the 2010 season to add some depth at the position. That depth was needed badly too.

After seven defensive backs, including three safeties (Gibril Wilson -- 8/29/10, Chris Crocker -- 11/22/10 and Chinedum Ndukwe -- 12/12/10), were placed on injured reserve, the team turned to Nelson to play alongside Roy Williams.

Both Nelson and Mays were in similar situations when they first came to the Bengals. They were asked to learn the playbook and possibly contribute to the defense quickly.

"Yeah. We had a little bit more need at that time last year when we brought Reggie here, so we were able to get him involved earlier. I think they’re similar guys. The advantage Taylor has is that he hasn’t been in someone else’s system that long, whereas Reggie had been in Jacksonville’s system, even though it was somewhat similar to ours because of (Jacksonville head coach) Jack (Del Rio) and (former Jacksonville defensive coordinator) Mike Smith. The terminology was the same."

I would like to see Mays on the field soon and hopefully we get our first look on Sunday against the Bills. However, if Mays doesn't play for a while because Crocker and Nelson are healthy, I'll take that too. I'd rather have Mays take the field because he earns a spot as a starter instead of take the field because the team desperately needs him to.