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Rey Maualuga declared the regular season starter at strong-side linebacker

In a not so surprising move Monday morning, the Bengals will be starting Rey Maualuga over Rashad Jeanty at outside linebacker when the Bengals kickoff the season, tweets the official Bengals Twitter account (I'm not sure how to phrase all of that... just seems, weird). Furthermore, I'm not surprised that Chris slobbers over any Bengals player that might don a UK t-shirt.

In truth, the only reason that this may come as a surprise, is that it's being announced so early. But we knew it was, as Mr. Smith says, inevitable. After hearing on Hard Knocks that linebackers coach Jeff Fitzgerald and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer say that Maualuga has to start because it makes the defense better, you knew Rashad Jeanty's role as the team's strong-side starter would come to an end. Jeanty, who ranked 4th on the team with 97 tackles, becomes one of two linebackers that will start the season on the bench after recording a combined 209 tackles a year ago.

As for Maualuga, he finished the preseason with 11 tackles, eight of them against the St. Louis Rams when he got the bulk of his preseason playing time. He missed the game against the Saints due to injury and against the Patriots he made several good plays, including one on a screen; which is important because we've never been able to defend against the screen.