Chargers Coach Saw Flaws In Maualuga's Game


With the menacing tattoos of Samoan decent, the flowing locks of black flame, and the reckless abandon he plays with, it's hard not to appreciate Rey Maualuga's approach to the game, especially from a fan's perspective. While playing for the University of Southern California, Maualuga echoed the spirit of former Trojan great Junior Seau. But unlike Seau, Maualuga doesn't play for San Diego, and a major reason why is that the coaches here saw flaws in Rey's game that they think will keep him from becoming an elite player unless corrected:

Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera recently interviewed with XX1090 and basically said he thought Maualuga is a solid prospect, but not great. Filled with potential, Maualuga won't fully realize his capabilities unless he makes some changes to his ability to read plays and not over pursue.

"I think Rey's an explosive, dynamic inside linebacker. I think he's going to be a solid football player in this league. He's a guy that has some ability, he's a high impact player. In the same respect, when you watch some of his tapes, there's some flaw to his game. Those things have to be worked out before you can say he's going to be an elite player in this league."

"He tended to over-run plays. He tended to miss plays because he was trying to make plays. He got himself out of position. A couple of times, if it wasn't for the guys around him, some of those things could have been worse. They could have given up a few more big plays."

Is there truth to what Coach Rivera is saying? Was Rey Maualuga protected by all the talent around him? Did he freelance too much? There had to be a reason that 31 NFL teams passed on Maualuga, right? Or was he truly the second coming of Junior Seau and did the San Diego Chargers make a huge mistake by passing on another great Polynesian from USC?

(side note: yes I know there are 32 pro teams, but the Dallas Cowboys didn't have a first or second right pick)

May 5, 2009

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11 comments:

Joe Fiorentino said... May 6, 2009, 9:10:00 AM

LOL, yea Seau NEVER over persued, thats pretty funny. I remember a number of times where you would see Seau shooting the gap only to have to reach back because the RB already passed him up.

I don't think Rey's speed is the same as what Seau's was in his prime. So I don't he'll even have a chance to over pursue. The game is much faster at the pro level.

I like the Larry English pick a lot, but if that was the main reason they didnt want to take Rey, then Ron is a big dummy.

Ray C. said... May 6, 2009, 1:14:00 PM

"I think Rey's an explosive, dynamic inside linebacker. I think he's going to be a solid football player in this league. He's a guy that has some ability, he's a high impact player. In the same respect, when you watch some of his tapes, there's some flaw to his game. Those things have to be worked out before you can say he's going to be an elite player in this league." - These are what Rey is going to use as motivation. I would think that under Rivera's watch, Rey could have developed into an elite LB.

Anonymous said... May 6, 2009, 2:28:00 PM

Coming from Ron Rivera those comments mean something. If Ted Cottrell had said those things I wouldn't have given them relevance. Reading between the lines the coaches do not think he is coachable. It is obvious they think he will not change the things that need changing at this level due to his mental makeup.

Anonymous said... May 6, 2009, 3:26:00 PM

It's funny how he said "Flaws" as if non of the other players who were taken in the 1st didn't have any flaws. A great coach can fix a players "FLAWS" and make him better, was Rey too much for Ron to handle?? Because Rey did over persue, but he also made a lot of big plays, a lot of game changing plays. I don't think Rey will have any problems addapting to the NFL. We'll see him all over the field as we do Polamalu. These guys play with all Heart. Rey will be a stud in the NFL. I am very happy with the English pick.

Steve said... May 6, 2009, 8:40:00 PM

I'll take the coach's word for it. He seemingly liked Burnett and English better. I agree with him.

Anonymous said... May 8, 2009, 1:54:00 PM

I was disappointed on draft day at the Bolts passing on Maualuga. But the more I watch tape on Larry Englsh, the less disappointed I am. The thought of Him and Phillips and merriman on the field at the same time is scary... Hopefully Burnett can play solid on the inside and Wilhelm doesnt see the field too much!

Steve said... May 9, 2009, 12:08:00 AM

So far Burnett looks to start next to Coop. Rivera has some crazy schemes planned up.

Anonymous said... May 10, 2009, 2:53:00 PM

The Panthers and Bears didn't have a shot at him either.

So that's 29 GMs that passed on him.

That said, RR hit the nail on the head. Rey's abilities were greatly exaggerated in the SoCal area, but objective observers weren't at all shocked that Rey dropped to the 2nd.

Anonymous said... May 12, 2009, 1:38:00 PM

This isn't really a knock on Rey. Not everything is a slight, not everything qualifies as bulletin board material. Every player has flaws, especially rookies. I'd love to have a player whose flaws are that he's too aggressive in pursuit of the football. I don't think the Chargers had anything against Rey, he just didn't fill the biggest position of need for them at that point in the draft.

San Diego Events said... May 16, 2009, 7:41:00 AM

I think there were flaws in Maualuga's game. The coach is right.

VEGAS GIRL said... May 17, 2009, 1:13:00 AM

I would like to say THAT THE CHARGERS ARE LOVED BY LAS VEGAS NEVADA AND THEY ARE THE BEST AND WILL BE THE BEST THIS YEAR! GOOOOOOOO CHARGERS!
WE LOVE YOU.

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