Marvin, Please Don't Start Burfict at WLB

(fellow CJ posters, I implore you: put the pitchforks down and hear me out.)

Coach Lewis,

I realize that the chances of you reading this are incredibly slim. Despite that, I feel the need to speak up.

You're clearly a big believer in the idea of intra-position interchangeability, if I may coin a term. You like the idea of DTs that can play DE, and vice-versa. You claim not to differentiate between free safety and strong safety. You tried to play Clint Boling--a natural LG--at RG, and it was disastrous. And, finally, your new LB coach has confirmed that you put the three best LBs on the field regardless of specific position. Accordingly, you've stockpiled guys that can play multiple LB positions, like Skuta and Muckelroy.

During your tenure, I can remember how we moved Ahmad Brooks from DE to SLB to MLB. I remember your various DE-to-SLB experiments: David Pollack, Rashad Jeanty (you brought him in because of his ability to get sacks in the CFL, and he couldn't do that here, but he was our only good run-defender for quite a while), the aforementioned Brooks, and most recently, Dontay Moch. I was shocked when your d-line coach claimed that Carlos Dunlap could bulk up and become a great defensive tackle.

Because of the Howard injury, Bengals fandom is begging you to give a certain Mr. Burfict more playing time. I'm all for that. I was very wary of bringing him in, but he's proven me wrong at every turn. That said...he's a natural MLB, and as an undrafted rookie that's had focus issues in the past, I'm afraid that moving him around so early in his career will stunt his development. He has enough challenges to deal with--please don't add to them by turning him into another chess piece to move around the board. Let him focus on learning MLB. This team has had a series of reliable WLBs, and I'm sure that you can find yet another one. But, all this time into your tenure, we're still looking for our first standout MLB. I believe that Burfict can be that. But if you force him to learn a new position on the fly, when he's still getting his feet wet...I'll stop it with the cliches, but you get my point.

Please, Marvin. Please don't screw with Burfict's development the way you have with so many other players. The NFL is an advanced, highly specialized place, and only truly-elite athletes can transcend intra-position boundaries. Most will be lucky to be able to play well at one position. Don't make things tougher for Burfict: hang tough with someone that can play WLB (V-Rey, or someone like Skuta or Muck, who can play all three positions), and give him time to turn into our next MLB. Don't sacrifice the future for yet another experiment.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors.

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