We have suspected that the team's plans to move Rey Maualuga inside because the coaches felt he was ready, was in part to allow the team to use more 3-4 alignments. There's no indication that the Bengals will shift their core defensive philosophy from a base 4-3 defense, but it doesn't mean that Mike Zimmer can't keep opposing offenses off balance by shifting personnel around. However, moving Maualuga has drawn some resistance with the fanbase, most of whom believe that Dhani Jones has done a great job filling in since 2007.
And according to Monday morning's depth chart release, Jones is still the team's starting middle linebacker and Rey Maualuga is still the team's strong-side outside linebacker with Michael Johnson playing backup.
However, according to Joe Reedy, Maualuga is playing more "packages as the Mike (middle) linebacker in base and nickel packages" which includes "playing the middle with Dhani Jones on some 3-4 packages that the Bengals will experiment with during the preseason."
Last year's lankly defensive end draft pick Michael Johnson figures to be Maualuga's backup, as well as the man to move in as a strong-side linebacker when Maualuga moves to the middle, either in base 4-3 or during 3-4 situations.