Despite the season-long struggles of Rey Maualuga, who is ranked as the 45th-best out of 46 eligible middle linebackers according to Pro Football Focus, Marvin Lewis isn’t planning on taking Rey out of the middle and placing hi on the bench:
He didn’t play as well yesterday as he played over the past couple weeks and some of it it looks like he’s not playing as well but other people aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing and he actually is doing what he is doing most of the time. Unfortunately the last run of the game (a 33-yard gain by Jonathan Dwyer) he decides he is going to be Superman and get out of his responsibility. To the layman who is sitting there watching or whoever is being critical of Rey they are probably being overcritical and no one is going to tell me more about playing linebacker than what I know. There’s a lot of good things he’s doing.
While fans have been clamoring for Vontaze Burfict to take over the middle, its easy to forget the he is still a rookie, and Mike Ximmer’s defensive schemes are hard to learn in just one year of NFL experience for a player who wasn’t exactly the best in college when it came to football IQ. There’s also the question as to who the Bengals would play at the weakside if Burfict moved to the middle. Look for Vontaze to be moved to the middle in the offseason and the Bengals searching for a replacement via the draft or free agency.