Geno Atkins: Cincinnati Bengals Player Spotlight
Sep 16, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97) arrives prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Geno Atkins has been one of the most pivotal parts of the Cincinnati Bengals defense over the past 4 seasons. He has been a key for this defense, even when critics talked about his size and power before the Cincinnati Bengals drafted him in the 4th round of the 2010 draft.
Geno Atkins unfortunately had his 2013 season cut short after he suffered an ACL tear and oddly enough it came on Halloween night against the Miami Dolphins. He had already had 6 sacks and 20 combined tackles before going down in the 2nd quarter.
The Cincinnati Bengals did have some great players who stepped up and continued to anchor this Bengals defense. Vontaze Burfict and recently departed Michael Johnson did a sufficient job while Atkins was away, but you have to wonder, how much the Bengals really did miss their pro bowl defensive tackle.
An ESPN article by Coley Harvey pointed out the Bengals allowed a below average 4.3 yards per carry when Atkins was off the field but reduced that to an impressive 3.7 yards per carry when he was on the field. The other stat that he went on to points out is that the opposing teams gained more than 90 yards on the ground in only 3 of 8 games last year that Atkins played start to finish.
Atkins will still be looking to improve on his performance in 2012 where he had 12.5 sacks, 53 combined tackles, and 4 forced fumbles. Last year, Geno Atkins was on pace to compete with most of those numbers, even while being double teamed by most offensive lines.
It is still unclear when Atkins will officially come back from his injury but one thing is clear, it will be a very welcomed return by the team and fans alike.