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Cincinnati Bengals To Work Taylor Mays At Linebacker

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Because the Bengals are only carrying five true linebackers, they are looking at another option with Taylor Mays in certain formations.

Mitch Stringer-US PRESSWIRE

Many Bengals fans have been asking for it and it appears that it is finally going to happen. Bengals safety Taylor Mays is going to get reps at linebacker, per Joe Reedy and Geoff Hobson.

The "necessity" that Reedy speaks of lies in the fact that the Bengals only kept five linebackers on the 53-man roster. Some had thought that a visit from a familiar face in Thomas Howard would bring on a sixth, but indications seem to point to both parties proceeding with caution because of his knee rehabilitation process.

Most people on the outside looked at Mays and pondered if he would actually be a better fit at linebacker. At 6'3" and 220 pounds, Mays has solid size, speed and range to play a coverage linebacker position, along with the ability to hit. Even so, Mays has struggled to fully grasp the safety position, so a switch to another position could make his head spin.

“It’s the same thing as when a safety inserts into the box," Mays said, courtesy of Reedy. "Some of the run gap fits are a little different. Paul does a good job of teaching and making things simple. I’ve been picking it up quick. I feel good about it. Some stuff you have to learn on the field but I have to get it done.”

The likely scenario is that this is an experiment and would only be in specific packages. Since the Bengals don't currently have another linebacker that has the same coverage skills as the injured Emmanuel Lamur, they might be hoping that Mays could be a temporary band-aid for the situation. Reedy also reported that Mays spent a lot of time over the holiday weekend going over the nuances of the role with linebackers coach, Paul Guenther, so the experiment appears to be in full-swing.