Friday, August 7, 2009

The Samoan Sledgehammer is Looking Good

The Cincinnati Bengals pulled off a major coup after they were able to pluck star USC linebacker Rey Maualuga in the second round of the NFL draft. Rewind to the beginning of the 2008 collegiate football season and the consensus was that Maualuga was a sure top-10 draft pick come draft day. Unfortunately, Maualuga suffered a hamstring injury at the combine

that ultimately hampered his position on draft day.

Maualuga has been making waves since day one of training camp. Maualuga made his presence known at his first practice, “his first as a pro in shoulder pads...right away on the first snap he drilled running back Brian Leonard and tossed him aside like crumpled paper.”

When asked about his performance on the field, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer could not hold back his pleasure, telling reporters, “Oh yeah. Pretty good. Pretty good. He made every tackle in the period.”

Zimmer must be incredibly excited at the possibilities he will have on the field next season with Maualuga paired up with fellow USC alum Keith Rivers at the linebacker spots. Head coach Marvin Lewis, a great defensive mind himself, is already salivating at the different formations and techniques that he will use to get the most out of Maualuga. Lewis had this to say about Maualuga's skills:

"As far as how you play defense in the NFL, we’re an ‘over’ defensive football team (DTs shifted towards the tight end). The guy that has to play in that bubble (gap created by the DT shift) is our linebacker. I think Rey has demonstrated those skills. He’s the guy that has an opportunity to become a part of the pressure defenses."

Full Article