1. The Linebacker Corps
Depth at linebacker is the most obvious concern for Cincinnati and for good reason. Starting MLB Rey Maualuga still has an undetermined suspension following an altercation with a downtown Cincinnati bar owner hanging over his head, and Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer was recently quoted saying,
[Dontay Moch] needs to get better.”
With a four game suspension of his own, Moch isn’t a lock for the third OLB. That opens the door for Roddrick Muckleroy to get back into the fight, but his ability to produce is quite speculative as well, despite being on the roster for the previous two seasons. Several interesting prospects remain vying for rotational positions with The Fallen Angel, Vontaze Burfict, being the most noteworthy, though his production, like the rest, is still a big unknown.
Manny Lawson and Thomas Howard are as intimidating a pair as a 4-3 hope for, but if called on to carry lion’s share of the linebacking all year, the chances of both being healthy at the end of the season are very unlikely.