Bengals Position by Position Breakdown: Day #5 LB
Another huge strength for Cincy this year is the Linebacker core. Led by 11 year veteran, Dhani Jones, the Bengals linebackers are fairly young, but they are wise beyond their years and are very talented. The star of the group is last years draft steal, former USC trojan, Rey Maualuga. The second year linebacker is looking to take over his throne at middle linebacker which leaves Dhani Jones in a strange spot. He is likely to be the vocal and emotional leader of the group much like Rey, but with Maualuga working to take his spot at middle linebacker, many fans are wondering where Dhani will line up in 2010. With Keith Rivers, another former USC linebacker, expected to take one of the outside linebacker spots it leaves Dhani in a rotational role with Rey and maybe as a starter on the other outside linebacker spot. Another hopeful to start on the outside is the young Michael Johnson. The former defensive lineman has now been moved to outside linebacker so he can maximize his huge athletic potential. Of the whole group, Michael Johnson may be the biggest athletic freak. Standing at 6 foot 7, 268 pounds, Johnson can run like a deer and can jump out of his shoes. So far coaches have raved about his off season work in the outside lb spot, so do not be too surprised to see him line up as a starter in preseason and into the regular season. Veterans Rashad Jeanty and Brandon Johnson are two positional players are always good players who can come in and play exceptionally well while the starters rest.
Depth Chart as season starts-
MLB- Rey Maualuga (rotation of Dhani Jones)
Outside LBs- Michael Johnson, Dhani, Keith Rivers
Rotational- Rashad Jeanty, Brandon Johnson, Abdul Hodge
Cut/practice squad- Vincent Rey, Dan Skuta, Roddrick Muckelroy