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Taylor Mays playing linebacker for Cincinnati Bengals

When Emmanuel Lamur was carted off the field in Thursday's preseason finale with a season-ending separated shoulder, there were questions about how the Cincinnati Bengals would replace the nickel linebacker.

We might be closer to the answer, and it comes with a slight twist.

The Bengals are toying with moving safety Taylor Mays to linebacker in their nickel package, The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy noted Wednesday.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound safety might go from the roster bubble to becoming a key cog on passing downs.

When asked about the experiment after practice, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis brushed it off as commonplace.

"Taylor's been playing those spots since he's been here," Lewis said. "This is not experiment time. We're trying to get ready for the (Chicago) Bears."

Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga (also Mays' teammate at USC for two years) told the Bengals' official website that Mays clones Lamur in the nickel package. Mays never has lacked athleticism, but he's had a difficult time defending the pass at the safety position. We're skeptical he can make the switch, but it's worth watching as defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer moves toward solidifying his unit.

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