Geoff Hobson writes that second-year pro Vontaze Burfict might take over Maualuga's spot at middle linebacker. Maualuga might move to the strong side, with the weak side now looking wide open. (Burfict played it last year.)
Lewis challenged Maualuga to step up as a leader midway through the 2011 season to mixed results. Maualuga never has been the difference-maker that Lewis hoped for at middle linebacker, but he's a solid enough starter. Next on the Bengals' agenda could be re-signing tackle Andre Smith and cornerback Adam Jones.