Paul Guenther Geno Atkins Bengals 2015

The Cincinnati Bengals are allowing the frustrations of playoff futility to cause discourse in the team locker room.

The Bengals weren’t as dominant on defense this season, and it showed on the scoreboard. Vontaze Burfict dealt with injuries and Geno Atkins was returning from a torn ACL.

That doesn’t mean anything to defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, who pulled no punches when talking about the $55 million man Atkins, Paul Dehner of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

When asked if Atkins can return to the guy that wracked up 18.5 sacks in 25 games prior to tearing his ACL, Guenther said this: “I sure hope so, because we need him to be that way. Otherwise we need to go find a new inside rusher.”

This was a down season for Atkins, who only had three sacks, eight quarterback hits and eight tackles for loss.

“I wish I had the answer to that,” Guenther said. “He just didn’t play as effectively as he has in the past. Whether it’s in his mind from a health standpoint, we got to get that figured out before next season starts.

“We need to get him back to where he’s one of the best three-techniques in the game, because this year he was just three-technique number 20, in my mind. He was just a guy out there.”


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