The hardest part about interpreting the loss of Dontay Moch for four games due to illegal substance use is that no one, outside of the Bengals organization, really knows what he is worth to the defense. Drafted in a Raider-esque fashion last year, Moch was a crushing 241 lbs defensive end out of Nevada with a 4.4 sec / 40 yard looking to make the transition to NFL linebacker. One can only assume that he’s not only ready but worth the wait, something of a dismal literality to the Bengal’s linebacker depth chart.
To review: Thomas Howard and Manny Lawson are easily the bedrock of this corps as stout seven-year veterans who should be considered the starters even this early of a juncture. Rey Maualuga has to be looked as obvious man in the interior but still hasn’t received his full penance from the commish after his scuffle with a Cincinnati area bar owner, something which will likely earn him a few games on the sidelines before all is said and done. Other than these three, only one other linebacker – the jack-of-all-trades, Dan Skuta – has more than a single productive season under his belt.