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Cincinnati Bengals: Rey Maualuga and 5 Bengals Ready for a Breakout Season

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Cincinnati Bengals: Rey Maualuga and 5 Bengals Ready for a Breakout Season
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

After a 2009 season in which the Cincinnati Bengals swept the AFC North and clinched a playoff berth, the team struggled mightily last season despite lofty expectations.

Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco lobbied for the team to sign veteran wide receiver Terrell Owens. Though T.O. posted impressive numbers, the experiment did not translate into overall success for the Bengals offense.

The team's defense, which finished top-five in the league in 2009, was plagued with injuries and inconsistent play. Such an integral part of the Bengals' 2009 playoff run, the 2010 version of this defense lacked the intensity and discipline which allowed it to be so successful a year before.

Searching for a spark on both sides of the ball, the Bengals awarded regular playing time to several youngsters who, previously, were merely role players.

With the Bengals seemingly willing to move on from several key veterans next season, these young, budding talents will dictate the overall success of the team for years to come.

Let's take a look at third-year linebacker Rey Maualuga and five other young Bengals who are on the verge of a breakout season in 2011.

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