Saturday, May 19, 2012
Now or Never for Bengals’ Rey Maualuga
Around The NFL
May 19th, 2012 at 4:41 pm by jasonAround The NFL
As we continue break down all of the Bengals who are set to be free agents after the 2013 season, we now look at the quarterback of the Bengals top-10 defense, MLB Rey Maualuga. Its’ been a bumpy road for the former All-American out of USC, as he’s struggled with arrests, injuries, and inconsistent play while playing the hardest position on defense for one of the toughest defensive minds in football in Mike Zimmer.
On the field, Rey has been an enigma. He began his NFL career as an outside linebacker after playing at USC in the middle. After two seasons, he moved inside last season and had mixed reviews. Rey started out the year playing at a high level, but his play fell off late in the year and he became a liability. He can be very physical and land the big-hit, but often whiffs on tackles leading to big plays given up. His inconsistency, and tendency to be out of position by either over-pursuit, or getting caught up in blocks hurt the defense late last season as the Bengals were gashed up the middle by the Ravens and Texans in the midst of the teams’ 2-game losing streak to end the season. He attributed his poor play down the stretch to an ankle injury, the same ankle he broke that cost him the remaining 2 games of the 2009 season. Rey has only missed 4 games in his 3-year career, so he clearly knows how to play with pain, but he has to be more consistent with his play if wants to remain the starting MLB for the Bengals.
Off the field, Maualuga has been in trouble multiple times and hasn’t shown he can be counted on to stay out of trouble. He did have his assault charges dropped after a judge agreed to throw out the charges against him, which were stemming from his offseason arrest in which he assaulted a bar owner in a downtown Cincinnati bar. He was also arrested in 2010 and charged with driving under the influence, to which he plead guilty, and now is facing an NFL suspension because he’s a repeat offender, and the number of games he’s expected to miss is between 1-4 games, meaning he’ll already start the 2012 season behind the 8-ball.
The Bengals have no real security behind Rey if they decide not to re-sign him. Brandon Johnson is still a free agent and he’s started several games at the MLB spot. Roddrick Muckelroy was a promising young MLB going into last season, but tore his achilles the first day of training camp. If the team loses Rey this offseason, they’ll have to find a replacement via free agency or the 2013 NFL Draft.