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Bengals OTA News: Speed Kills. Geno Atkins & MJ Contract Updates

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Oct 14, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals special teams coach Darrin Simmons during a game against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Cleveland won 34-24. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Special teams coach Darrin Simmons has coordinated one of the NFL’s best ST units over the past two seasons, but he thinks this year’s unit could be even better with the influx of talented and speedier players he’s gotten:

"(Team speed) is up there. It’s as high as it’s ever been; maybe ever,” Simmons says. “We had a couple of fast groups from ’04-’06. We had some fast guys then. I think our team speed was fast then. I think we’re (more) experienced, so we’re even in a better place now."

One player in particular he’s already hoping to have on his unit this year is defensive end Margus Hunt:

"“You see a guy that’s played football for four years. But you also see a guy that has so many tools you can use,” Simmons says. “The beauty of what we’re doing right now is you can go out and see what these guys do the best and then you can start to mold and build things around them that they can do.”"

Having lost special teams ace Dan Skuta to the San Francisco 49ers, Simmons is confident others will step up and pick up the slack:

"There are always successors. That will play itself out. There’s always going to be successors,” Simmons says. “We’ve got guys right now who are assuming the leadership role that Skuta took on and we have enough of them. The Vinnys, the Ced Peermans. Those are guys that have to step up. (Safety) Taylor Mays, depending on his role. That has to be one. Hawk has natural leadership abilities. “But when you’re talking about an in-the-trenches guy like Skuta was, you’re talking about Vinny and you’re talking about Ced, you’re talking about Jeromy.”"

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