CINCINNATI — Bengals safety Jessie Bates is having the best season of his young career.
The 23-year-old has three interceptions and 12 passes defensed in 11 games. He's been the Bengals' best defensive player this season.
Bates has earned a 90.9 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. He's their top ranked safety through 12 weeks.
PFF isn't alone in praising Bates. Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores went out of his way to compliment the third-year safety earlier this week.
"I don’t know how many interceptions Jessie Bates has but this is a good player, I’ll tell you that right now," Flores said. "And I don’t really care how many interceptions he has. This is a damn good player. Some people, if those are the stats that you look at – I’m just a little different, I guess.”
Flores might not be aware, but Bates has received his fair share of praise from Bengals fans. His ball skills and range are up there with any safety in the NFL.
Bates was all smiles when he found out about the comments.
"I didn't know that, so that's pretty cool," he said. "That's just a lot of respect that I have for those guys. For head coaches, obviously, that's kind of a big deal. So, thanks to him. He's a hell of a coach as well. So, I appreciate it and I'll probably say what's up to him on Sunday for sure."
The Bengals play the Dolphins in Miami on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.
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