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A Bye Week and Experienced Backups Should Help Bengals LBs Prepare to Face Seattle Without Maualuga

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With Rey Maualuga expected to sit out Sunday's game in Seattle against the Seahawks, the Bengals will turn to third-year middle linebacker Dan Skuta to fill his shoes. Luckily, Thomas Howard, one of the team's leading tacklers, will be back in the lineup as well to help Skuta out. But what will also help Skuta is the team's Week 7 bye which gave him more time to prepare as the team's starting middle linebacker.

"That is huge," Skuta said. "Just a few days to get your mind and everything right about the situation helps a lot."

Another thing that will help the defense miss Maualuga a little less on Sunday is the fact that Skuta, along with Brandon Johnson, have been with the Bengals for three and four season respectively and have played under defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer's system throughout their careers here. So it won't be like Skuta doesn't know what to do at middle linebacker when Maualuga is out.

That will also make Howard's and Manny Lawson's job a little easier because they won't have to worry about if the middle linebacker knows what he's doing or not. 

Of Skuta and Johnson, Howard said, "The're smart linebackers that can play multiple positions. Brandon might have played all three positions."

Against the league's second-worst offense, the Bengals shouldn't miss Maualuga that much. Skuta is more than capable of getting the job done in Seattle.