2013 will be the last year in Cincinnati for safety Taylor Mays if he isn’t able to make significant strides in his performance this offseason, and prove to the Bengals he can be a contributor on the field versus being the liability he was last year. After his demotion from the starting lineup following the season opener against the Baltimore Ravens, Mays only participated during 1/4 of the defensive snaps last season and during six of those games, he didn’t touch the field once on defense as he was relegated to special teams.
After the team opted not to bring in another free agent and drafted Shawn Williams in the third-round of this year’s draft, there’s still an oppurtunity for Mays to earn a starting spot, or at least be on the field for a significant number of snaps per game this year.
Williams was drafted in hopes of taking over the strong safety role, this weekend’s minicamp is already showing he may not be ready to assume that role, according to defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer:
We know what he can do in run support, now we have to see if he can cover. He has the ability to cover, he just has to. He has to work on his technique some. If he gets his body position in good shape he should be good.
When asked about Mays at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, Zimmer said it was up to him to find more ways for Mays to get on the field and make an impact:
For a big guy he’s not a real good blitzer. We’re going to have to try to improve him on that. He does some good things in some of the coverages. He does some good things in run support, so we just have to make him more polished in a lot of the ways.
I’m not down on him. It wasn’t all him. We started playing badly. We had to make changes and he just happened to be one of the guys we made changes with, but when things aren’t going good you can’t keep doing what you’re doing and hope it works out. Taylor, like a lot of these young guys, he was trying to do too much. Sometimes it takes awhile to understand what they do is more important than what they tell other people to do.