Bengals’ Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer had some interesting comments today at training camp about the current quagmire of a situation at LB. A few days ago, the linebacking starters appeared to be set with newly signed FA Thomas Howard, and incumbents Rey Maualuga and Keith Rivers.
But, news broke a few days ago that Rivers had surgery on his wrist and may not be back until the middle of the season. Then, promising second-year Roddrick Muckelroy ruptured his ACL on the first day of training camp, ending the season for Muckelroy, who was sure to see quite a few snaps. When asked about the situation at linebacker, Zimmer had this to say:
"I’m looking for guys that can come in and start and who ever wins the job, wins the job. If they can start I assume they can play special teams. I’m not looking for special teams guys that can’t play defense. That’s always been a pet peeve of mine. We’re not done looking. I think what’s on the field is not our final team. It may be, but I don’t think this is done."
Zimmer wasn’t happy about the loss of Jonathan Joesph. And he may have signaled to Mike Brown that he didn’t like the current state of the Linebackers either.
He also indicated that he thought Thomas Howard would start at the weakside (traditionally played by Keith Rivers), with Rey Maualuga in the middle, and then either Dan Skuta, Dontay Moch, or a free agent at the strongside spot.
So, could the Bengals sign someone like the recently cut Lofa Tatupu from the Seahawks? Many fans have suggested this on Twitter. And, who doesn’t love Samoans?
I think it would be a great addition. But, Tatupu is a typical Middle Linebacker. And Rey Maualuga is locked in at middle for us. Switching Rey again just wouldn’t make sense after he’s been preparing to play middle this whole offseason. We’ll see if the Bengals choose to make another splash by adding a guy like Tatupu in free agency. That would be awesome. The question that the Bengals organization may be facing is: can Tatupu play outside linebacker?