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Maualuga Pushing for Playing Time to Start at LB

It appears from the words of the Cincy Enquirer today that the LB spot battle between Rashad Jeanty and rookie pick Rey Maualuga is close enough to where the rookie may end up getting more reps in the end than first thought:

It appears he has more than just a chance. Maualuga is listed behind Rashad Jeanty at Sam (outside) linebacker on the depth chart, but coaches indicate that he may be closing in on the fourth-year NFL player.

Maualuga and Jeanty will likely share reps as the season unfolds.

“It’s getting close,” said Jeff FitzGerald, the Bengals’ linebackers coach. “We’re proceeding and see that the reps are even or weighed a little bit more toward Rey’s side. Just to get him prepared. We would think he would end up being the guy. When he’s ready, we’ll be fit to make the change.”

Maualuga missed the New Orleans preseason game Aug. 14 with a tight hamstring but has excelled since then. He emerged in the second half of the New England game Aug. 20 and seven days later led the Bengals with eight tackles against St. Louis.

The 22-year-old player is known for his speed, decisive hits, run-stopping and blitzing. FitzGerald said there were initial questions about Maualuga’s pass coverage, but that the staff has been pleased with what it has seen thus far.

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