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Bengals coaches raving about 'scary' Geno Atkins

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After the Cincinnati Bengals' season ended with another playoff loss, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther called out defensive lineman Geno Atkins.

As a refresher, here is one of Guenther's quotes from January:

"This year, he was just three-technique No. 20, in my mind," Guenther said. "He was just a guy out there."

To be fair to Atkins, the massive defensive lineman was returning from 2013 ACL surgery and couldn't get off the ball with consistent burst and power for most of the season.

Now more than a year away from going under the knife, the Bengals defensive staff is glowing about Atkins -- who, we should point out, still made it to the Pro Bowl last season.

"He looks as good as any guy we've got on our team. On the defensive side at least," Guenther said, via the team's official website. "He's real explosive. He looks strong. He looks as good as he's ever had. I'm proud of the way he's come back. He gives us a huge boost. Huge. You're talking about one of the elite players in the league."

"Scary," defensive line coach Jay Hayes added of how Atkins looks this offseason. "It's scary how fast and explosive he is right now. I think he has the confidence that he has his legs under him. He feels like he did."

The Bengals pass rush desperately needs Atkins to return to his pre-ACL injury, domineering ways. In 2011 and 2012 he was a consistent play-wrecker, constantly blowing up plays in the backfield. He compiled 20 sacks over the two seasons, earning a first-team All-Pro nod in 2012. If he again turns in those types of performances, the Bengals should easily rise from their NFL-low sack rate and mediocre defensive performance from a year ago.

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