Some people like to call Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer a miracle worker with the way he’s revived the careers of so many veteran NFL players who seemed washed-up and at the end of the line. But ti’s been his ability over the past two games to replace one of the best defenders in the game in Geno Atkins that’s been really impressive.
No single player, can replace Atkins’ production, so Zimmer is using a host of players at different positions to do so, as noted by Geoff Hobson:
He kept Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco at bay with some heavy fire zone blitzes. In the second half on third down, right end Michael Johnson dropped frequently with SAM linebacker James Harrison getting his first heavy work in nickel, either standing up inside or rushing from the end.
Middle linebacker Vincent Rey got his third sack of the game early in the third quarter when Johnson dropped, Harrison rushed from the edge, and safety Reggie Nelson blitzed off the edge. Ravens running back Ray Rice had to choose to pick up Nelson or Rey and picked Nelson.