In this year’s edition of the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players, Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins was ranked No. 36, and 20 players later, receiver A.J. Green was revealed as the 16th best player in the NFL.
Though those were the two players to get the national recognition, there are a lot of players on the Bengals that are great at their respective positions.
Take safety Reggie Nelson, for example.
He’s held up the back-end of the Bengals defense since being traded from Jacksonville to Cincinnati, and his stellar 2012 season saw him ranked as the fourth-best safety in the NFL, allowing just 231 yards into his coverage, according to Pro Football Focus.
Doesn’t that deserve a bit of recognition?
Or maybe a great comeback year for cornerback Leon Hall, who was essentially the only Bengals offense down the stretch last year as he has 2 pick-sixes in games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Texans. He’s routinely had his best games in the biggest moments when the Bengals needed him the most.
And what about defensive ends Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap?
A lot of players on the Bengals quietly excel. That’s what makes the team so good. We don’t have more than a few superstars. Outside of Green, Atkins, and maybe Johnson, many of the other players are just really good. And when so many good players are found on one team, it’s hard to attack it, since there aren’t any weaknesses.
At least, there certainly aren’t many.
And this fact, the idea that players help each other out, makes some stand out even more.
Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson for example are two of the most highly-touted DE’s in the entire league. If there were honorable mentions for the top 100 players, I’m sure they would have gotten that credit.
However, part of makes them stand out is Geno Atkins. And it works both ways. An offensive line can only be so good, and when a star defensive line, with three top players on it, is on the opposition, you can only do so much. The O-line naturally tries to compensate for all the talent they are facing, and double teaming has to leaves lanes open somewhere.
So out of Dunlap, Atkins, and Johnson, one of them is bound to get to the quarterback.
It works the same way across the board. Put a bunch of good players together, and sometimes, that’s better than a few great ones.