After a down season for the Cincinnati Bengals’ Geno Atkins, the star defensive tackle looks to return to his dominant ways in 2020.
Geno Atkins has been one of the most consistent defensive linemen in the NFL throughout his entire career but with a less than ideal supporting cast and father time starting to catch up, the former Georgia Bulldog saw his numbers dip last season.
It can be easy to simply look at the stat sheet and broadly claim he isn’t the player he used to be. He recorded 5.5 fewer sacks, 9 fewer quarterback hits, and only registered 4 tackles for a loss. However, Geno was still a dominant player. He racked up the second-most tackles of his career last season and showed he could match up against any guard or center at times.
Last year Atkins was held back due to lack of help on the defensive side of the ball as well as some suspect playcalling and positioning at times.
D.J. Reader will help ease the pressure off Geno Atkins
One of the biggest reasons to believe Atkins will bounce back this year is the addition of D.J. Reader. According to Pro Football Focus, Reader was a higher ranking defensive lineman than Geno last season.
This is great news for the Bengals. Forcing opposing offensive coordinators to focus their game plan for Reader will provide a lot more one on one matchups throughout the season that Atkins should be able to take advantage of.
This powerful duo will be a matchup nightmare coming straight up the middle at opposing quarterbacks. Athlon Sports even goes so far as to put both of these big men in the top 10 interior defensive linemen in the NFL.
This is a recipe for both players to really thrive in Cincinnati. Add in Carlos Dunlap coming off the edge and this could quietly become one of the best defensive lines in the NFL.
The combination of Reader, Atkins, and Dunlap should provide enough matchup problems that all three see their numbers increase in 2020. Expect a rebound year for Atkins, getting his numbers back up to his dominating ways.