Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Marvin Lewis: Rey Maualuga Mentally Ready To Make Transition To Middle Linebacker

by Josh Kirkendall on Mar 22, 2011 12:24 PM EDT in Analysis

about 1 year ago: FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 6, 2009 file photo, Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga walks off the field after an NFL football game in Cincinnati. Police in northern Kentucky arrested Maualuga early Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 on charges of drunken and careless driving. (AP Photo/Tony Tribble, File)

We've speculated that if the Bengals decide to let Dhani Jones leave for free agency this year, then the Bengals would probably move Rey Maualuga to the inside. Mike Zimmer has remained hesitant, even challenging him by saying last season, Maualuga was average. As if the lockout couldn't complicate matters more, Mauaulga will be unable to visit with coaches about that transition. Adjusting to become the new defensive quarterback on the team.

However according to Geoff Hobson, Marvin Lewis believes that Rey Maualuga is "mentally ready to make the move to inside linebacker in his third season." That being 2011.

The question about Maualuga hasn't really been about his physical abilities. According to Pro Football FocusMaualuga graded as the team's second-best defensive player behind Geno Atkins. Maualuga's 11.6 grade against the run ranked sixth in the NFL among 4-3 linebackers.

Maualuga didn't play as well in pass coverage or during a blitz. But he has the talent to be an all-star middle linebacker in time and it appears that the Bengals are moving that much closer towards his eventual transition.

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