We've speculated that if the Bengals decide to let Dhani Jones leave for free agency this year, then the Bengals would probably move Rey Maualuga to the inside. Mike Zimmer has remained hesitant, even challenging him by saying last season, Maualuga was average. As if the lockout couldn't complicate matters more, Mauaulga will be unable to visit with coaches about that transition. Adjusting to become the new defensive quarterback on the team.
However according to Geoff Hobson, Marvin Lewis believes that Rey Maualuga is "mentally ready to make the move to inside linebacker in his third season." That being 2011.
The question about Maualuga hasn't really been about his physical abilities. According to Pro Football FocusMaualuga graded as the team's second-best defensive player behind Geno Atkins. Maualuga's 11.6 grade against the run ranked sixth in the NFL among 4-3 linebackers.
Maualuga didn't play as well in pass coverage or during a blitz. But he has the talent to be an all-star middle linebacker in time and it appears that the Bengals are moving that much closer towards his eventual transition.