Bengals News

Geno Atkins’ future with the Bengals is swirling with doubt

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 28: Geno Atkins #97 of the Cincinnati Bengals takes the field for the game against the Tampa Bay Bucccaneers at Paul Brown Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Buccaneers 37-34. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 28: Geno Atkins #97 of the Cincinnati Bengals takes the field for the game against the Tampa Bay Bucccaneers at Paul Brown Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Buccaneers 37-34. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) /
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After a head-scratching start to the 2020 campaign, it’s fair to question, what’s going on with the Bengals’ star defensive tackle Geno Atkins?

With all of the injuries and unfortunate circumstances surrounding the Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive tackle situation, Geno Atkins should be the steadying force to keep the group afloat. Instead, defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo has used him sparingly in his first two games back from injury, opting to give far more snaps to some of the lesser-known guys on the depth chart.

Against the Indianapolis Colts in week six, Atkins was on the field just 29% of the time, taking one more snap than practice squad defensive tackle Khalil Mackenzie and making a minimal impact.

Instead of playing the all-decade defensive tackle, Xavier Williams and Christian Covington took the lion’s share of the snaps. Considering the former was just signed off the street this week and the latter was nearly cut before Cincinnati traded for him, there is a serious cause for concern.

Atkins is making over $14M this season and he’s slated to do so again next year. In the third and final year of his contract, his cap hit jumps up to northward of $16M. There’s no shot the Bengals will continue to pay him that kind of money if they plan on using him as sparingly as they have.

Lingering injury, coaching staff decision, or declining play for Geno Atkins?

Things are beginning to grow tense in the Queen City. Over the past week, numerous players have taken to social media to voice their frustrations. Leading the pack is Carlos Dunlap, who undoubtedly has the ears of the majority of the locker room. It’s clear that among Dunlap’s biggest concerns is the fact that the decision-makers are lacking communication.

Is Atkins the latest veteran to get this treatment from the coaching staff? Whether Zac Taylor is attempting to motivate his highest-paid players, finds himself in the midst of a power struggle, or simply thinks other guys are playing better remains to be seen.

Perhaps it’s a lingering injury that has Atkins so minimally involved. After all, he did mysteriously injure his shoulder right before the opening game. After weeks of uncertainty, he returned but hasn’t looked like himself. Maybe he’s playing hurt because the Bengals desperately need additional bodies in the trenches.

There’s also a chance that his play just isn’t what it used to be. He showed signs of slowing a year ago and perhaps the coaching staff saw a big drop off in training camp. By limiting his snaps, they could be attempting to draw out his best play by keeping him fresh.

Whatever the case may be, his future with the Bengals is beginning to grow uncertain. The team has a ways to go before becoming competitive and it’s a stretch to think Atkins will be able to stick around long enough to be apart of the next legitimate iteration of the team.

Next. Predicting when the Bengals will find their next win. dark

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