n a possible preview of things to come, Maualuga was playing the strong side spot in base packages, which is a departure from his natural position of middle linebacker and was in the middle on nickel packages.
Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald are trying Maualuga at different spots, but it is intriguing to picture a unit with Maualuga on the left side, Dhani Jones in the middle and Rivers at weakside.
“Our whole deal is to see what they can do and then figure out where to put them, especially today,” Zimmer said. “Let them play football and let them do what they’re good at.”
The strong side spot would seem to be a natural fit since that backer would be responsible for guarding the tight end and stopping the rush on the outside. Last year at USC, Maualuga did not get any sacks, but he was a dominant player in bursting to the outside and manhandling running backs.
Even though he played the middle exclusively at USC, Maualuga thinks the transition to one of the outside spots would be seemless.
“It doesn’t really mater where I play,” Maualuga said. “Just give me a playbook, just give me some pads and a helmet and I’ll go out there and play. I can get adjusted and be fine as far as pass drops and the ability to drop into coverage. Every first day is a little shaky here and there, but you correct your mistakes and everything will be better.”
I am really stoked for Rey... He is reunited with Rivers, he has a bunch of other Trojans on the team and he seems to have his head in the right spot.
It will be interesting to see how he adjusts to the outside...that actually might be fun to watch.
Good Luck Rey!!