I'm asking this question not intending it to be a knock on Jeff Heath because I do think he gets judged a bit too harshly by fans at times. That said, the few times we have seen Darian Thompson get extended playing time this season, he's done pretty well from what I can tell. What have you seen from him? Do you think he could be earning himself more playing time in the safety rotation as the season continues? - JAMES MITCHELL / INDIANAPOLIS, IN
Bryan: Thompson has done a nice job, but coaches will always go with who they trust the most and Heath is that guy for them. I have witnessed this at every level I have worked at.
Rob: A previous Mailbag entry asked about rookie Donovan Wilson’s playing time. We both said Thompson is ahead in the pecking order for valid reasons. The coaches were very pleased with how Thompson filled in for Xavier Woods early in the season, playing physical and making sound decisions. Same thing when Heath went out against the Giants. Sounds like Heath will be OK, and while we've seen a three-man safety rotation around here before, they do value Heath's presence out there.
I was wondering how Michael Bennett and the ‘Boys would get along. After watching a hard-fought game against the Giants, I was happy to see such camaraderie. How do you like the versatility of Bennett, especially playing inside? - J.M. SMITH / WALDORF, MD
Bryan: I just like Michael Bennett the player. Once again, tip your cap to the front office for making this happen. They identified a need and worked hard to address it. So far so good. He’s an outstanding fit for what they need from him.
Rob: If the Giants game is any indication, the defense has a chance to reach a new level with Bennett part of the rotation. You’ve got a couple really good speed rushers in Robert Quinn and DeMarcus Lawrence. Now you’ve added a third who not only can spell them on the edge but play next to them inside. That’s a critical piece in an area that needed depth after Tyrone Crawford’s injury.