Taylor Mays being pressed into duty at linebacker

Getty Images

Bengals safety Taylor Mays plays kind of like a linebacker.

And because of injuries at the position, he might have to finally be one.

According to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Mays is taking snaps at linebacker in the Bengals’ nickel and dime defenses.

“It’s the same thing as when a safety inserts into the box,” Mays said. “Some of the run gap fits are a little different. [Linebackers coach] Paul [Guenther] 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 6-foot-3, 220-pounder was pressed into duty after Emmanuel Lamur was lost for the season with a shoulder injury, leaving the Bengals with just five linebackers on the 53-man roster.

“He’s playing a position that clones Emmanuel Lamur,” middle linebacker Rey Maualuga said. “Those two guys are similar in their playing abilities. I think Taylor will do a good job of coming in the nickel package.”

Mays has good speed, and won’t be physically overwhelmed in the passing game, but they’re trying something they’ve resisted in the past, and there might be a reason for that.