With the Bengals finishing last season with only four wins, someone has to step up. With the franchise quarterback causing more distractions to the fans than Chad Ochocinco ever has, someone has to step up.
Last week Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer was reflecting on last year's defense and when Rey Maualuga's name came up, Zimmer talked about the team's 2009 second round draft pick with roughly the same opinion that fans have.
"He sure has to play a hell of a lot better than he did this year because he was extremely average," Zimmer said. "He's undisciplined. Half of our whole defensive team is undisciplined. That's why we give up big plays."
For his part, Maualuga took it as a challenge. Rather than feeling insulted or as if he were thrown under the bus, Maualuga said:
"It's my time to stand up and prove them wrong," Maualuga said. "Use it as a fuel to gain what I know I can become. I can't be just some random dude walking around the locker room anymore."
With Dhani Jones unsigned for 2011, the Bengals do not have a starting middle linebacker. The overwhelming consensus is for Maualuga to take the job, but the team has yet to show confidence in him as a middle linebacker. But if there's a time for him to step up, it's this year. The Bengals are in turmoil and someone needs to step up. Why not Rey?