The season is just one game from the halfway point, so I thought I'd pose the question to the CJ fan base. Who has surprised you the most, good or bad. The following may or may not be total surprises to some but maybe the overall CJ community based on 6 months comments since the draft.
George Iloka - who saw this coming, seizing the starting SS spot, actually playing solidly while not spectacularly. He has solidified the back end. I think his story is a lesson Dre needs to follow. Iloka stated earlier this season that the learned to focus, study, become a pro by watching Crocker.
Rey Maualuga - I give props to Marvin and Zim for bringing this guy along and not losing faith. Another solid not spectacular player, much improved, he and Burfict form the most improved position on the defense. While most were clamoring for his departure in the offseason I blindly or not have stated on CJ "careful what you wish for." Keeping Rey has proved quite fortuitous for this team, especially after the injuries to Lamur and Porter. They have put him in a position where skills have met role and he's played quite well, particularly in cutting down YAC.
Taylor Mays - another player most on CJ wanted to buy a one way ticket out of town. Now in the spring I posted a fanpost entitled Of Hybrids and other things, or something like that, where I wondered why the Bengals didn't move Mays to LB to cover RBs and TEs closer to the line of scrimmage. He was basically the same size as Lamur. I remember all the rebiuttals about lack of cover skills comments, lack of natural instincts, slow hips etc, Zim quotes stating he couldn't play that role or words similar to that. Well Mays has played pretty well in that hybrid role, but he has also filled in at so many cover roles due to necessity and I can't remember one glaring blown coverage (ala Torrey Smith, Ravens game 1 last year), bonehead unnecessary roughness penalty, or just playing out of control. Again, they saw something in Mays most here didn't, and put him in a position like Rey where skill met role.
Andrew Whitworth - ok he's a Pro Bowl player, but he had two procedures in the offseason with one during training camp. He basically misses all of camp, first couple of games, and wasn't everyone wondering if maybe it was AC's time. But Whitworth has not only been outstanding since his return but he seems to be playing at level we haven't seen from him for at least a couple of years. His leadership of course is not replaceable much like Hall's.
Marvin Jones - I was certain Sanu would emerge as the 2 this year, the way he played briefly last year. and really you have to wonder if there is such a thing in this offense. It's Green and then everyone and I mean everyone else. But Jones has really distinguished himself. Another great draft pick, and yes Sanu has played well too. It seems a lot of his plays are now going to the TEs who - no surprise - are amazingly talented.
five is enough would love to hear the CJ's thoughts