Hobson's Choice: Don't worry, be safety

With the Lions releasing Brock Marion, what do you think are the chances we will go after him if we can get him at a discount price? Also, how improved do you expect last years defense rookies to be (Keiwan, Madieu, Landon, Caleb, etc.)? I feel a lot of people are overlooking their development as players in our defense getting stronger, without having to add an exorbitant number of players.
--Travis from Gainesville TRAVIS:
As of Tuesday afternoon the Bengals hadn't called Marion's agent. I think his age is working against him since he turns 35 in a few months. And Lewis doesn't seem to be as urgent about strong safety as the fans. The one thing I like about this draft is they didn't reach for a guy (Cory Hall, Mark Roman, Sean Brewer) to try and fill a spot they couldn't or didn't fill in free agency.

At 35, I'm not sure Marion is what they want at this point in the rehab, and it sure sounds like they have talked themselves into believing they can find an answer here. And, maybe they shouldn't be too quick to jettison Herring because he sounds like he's got a better idea of what they want him to do this year.

He said last week that when he came over from St. Louis in free agency last year that he had prepared in the offseason as a free safety and not as a strong, and he ended up playing strong almost as much, if not more.

Plus, with the system heading into its third year on defense, they may be content to try guys that already know it, such as cornerback Reggie Myles and Terrell Roberts. Lewis has also been talking up Anthony Mitchell, a guy that played well in spots last season coming in off the street mid-season and now gets to have a full spring and summer in the defense.

They certainly sent a message by not trading up to get Georgia safety Thomas Davis in the first round. And maybe even a stronger one by not taking a true in-the-box safety in the fifth round in North Carolina's Gerald Sensabaugh. Four picks after the Bengals selected Central Michigan tackle Adam Kieft, Sensabaugh went to Jacksonville. So they don't seem that worried, and it will be interesting to see what safeties they pick up in college free agency. The one guy we know they signed, Toledo's Patrick Body, is seen more as burner (a sub 4.3 40-yard dash) than a banger.

No question the rookies on defense last year should be better, and, you're right, people tend to forget that when evaluating if the defense is going to improve. But I still think the best pickup the Bengals made during the offseason is elevating Chuck Bresnahan to coordinator. And this is no knock on the departed Leslie Frazier, a heck of a coach and always a good friend to Bengals.com.

It's just an acknowledgment that Bresnahan is a veteran coordinator who comes extremely highly-regarded and has been to the playoffs with every NFL staff he's been a part of with the Bill Belichick Browns, the pre-Peyton Colts, and the Super Bowl Raiders.

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