The Bengals core linebackers have always been considered strong on paper. Dhani Jones, the staple linebacker in the middle, once again leads the team with 38 total tackles. Beyond that, a couple of safeties rank second and third with the most tackles on the team, Chris Crocker (33) and Chinedum Ndukwe (30).
Keith Rivers (28) and Rey Maualuga (27) ranks fourth and fifth respectively in tackles. Outside of their two combined quarterback sacks, both linebackers tend to be after thoughts on defense. In other words, you might see both linebackers make a play or two during any game, but they hardly seem like a presence throughout the football game.
Still, both linebackers are the staple of this defense beyond this season, and maybe beyond five seasons after that.
But it doesn't mean the Bengals don't want to keep looking for making their team better. According to Joe Reedy, the Bengals invited former Ravens and Patriots linebacker Adalius Thomas for a workout on Wednesday. Thomas' first two seasons in Baltimore were with Marvin Lewis as the team's defensive coordinator.
Before moving on to New England, Thomas was frustrating as hell as a Bengals fan. Lining up at every position except quarterback, Thomas was quick enough to cover receivers, strong enough to take on linebackers and athletic enough to be a dominating pass rusher. It seemed those aspects lowered significantly during his New England stay, where he ended up becoming more of a distraction, publicly sparring with the club after an October 18 benching against Tennessee and being sent home in December after being late for a meeting during an icy snow storm.
At the time, Thomas said:
"There's one thing about Mother Nature -- You can't control that. You can't run people over getting to work. There's nothing to apologize about. I wasn't trying to be late. I don't know what to say. You leave home, there are people there, cars sitting in the road, you're sitting there, what are you gonna do? It's not the Jetsons. I can't jump up and fly. What am I supposed to do?"
When asked if Belichick sent Thomas home for motivation, Thomas scoffed at that.
"Motivation is for kindergartners. I'm not a kindergartner. Sending somebody home, that's like, 'You're expelled until you come back and make good grades.' Get that (expletive) out of here. It's ridiculous.... I don't know, teaching tool? I don't know. I can't figure out what Bill thinks or knows."
While Thomas brings a high profile name, serious production during his time in Baltimore, he is also 33 years old, has seen his production decline significantly and quite frankly, with Jones, Maualuga, Rivers, Brandon Johnson, Roddrick Muckelroy and Dan Skuta, where would Thomas fit? It's not like we're looking at him for special teams. And it's not like anyone else is banging on Thomas' door to sign him either.
According to Reedy, also in for a visit on Wednesday was wide receivers Michael Clayton and James Hardy, defensive tackles Dre Moore and Tank Tyler, center Nick Leckey, fullback Deon Anderson and safety Ko Simpson.