2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Bengals adapt to life without Atkins

By JOE KAY - AP Sports Writer
    2013-11-06 16:07

CINCINNATI (AP) - Geno Atkins was in the Bengals' locker room briefly Wednesday, moving slowly on crutches. He declined to answer questions about his torn knee ligament as he headed for a side door and home.

It's still too painful to discuss.

Still a bit painful for the teammates who will miss him, too.

The Bengals (6-3) will try to maintain their lead in the AFC North without their best defensive lineman. Atkins, an All-Pro tackle last season, leads the team with six sacks and is a disruptive force up the middle that Cincinnati already misses badly.

''A friend,'' defensive end Wallace Gilberry said. ''A hell of a teammate. Hell of an athlete. I could go on for days.''

They don't have that much time. The Bengals have a chance to all but clinch their division in the next two weeks when they play at Baltimore (3-5) and host Cleveland (4-5). Back-to-back wins would leave them with a daunting lead heading down the stretch.

The Bengals reached the playoffs as a wild card each of the last two seasons. They haven't won the division title since 2009.

''Honestly we feel like these next two weeks are the biggest of the season because of where we are in the division,'' left tackle Andrew Whitworth said. ''We get an opportunity. These games can tilt things one way or the other.''

Their biggest challenge is filling holes on a defense that has lost some of its best players in the last three weeks.

Top cornerback Leon Hall is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga missed a 22-20 overtime loss in Miami last Thursday with a concussion and an injured left knee.

Atkins tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the first half of the loss at Miami, a significant setback to a line already missing end Robert Geathers for the season.

''You can hear the rumbles of respect that our guys have for him,'' Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said during a conference call on Wednesday. ''I can imagine that it's going to be a little different in there just because he is such a good player.''

The Bengals signed defensive tackle Kheeston Randall to fill Atkins' roster spot on Tuesday. Randall was the Dolphins' seventh-round pick last year and played in 12 games. He was waived by Miami on Aug. 31.

They'll work others into the middle of the line rotation as well. Tackle Brandon Thompson, a second-year player from Clemson, will get much more time in Atkins' spot. Thompson played in only three games last season but has played in all nine this year.

''I think it was very beneficial to just be able to sit back and learn from those great defensive linemen we have, just to sit back and take a whole year and soak everything in,'' Thompson said. ''I was a sponge last year. I learned so much. I just thank those guys for that.''

The Bengals had fewer injuries than average in the opening weeks, but have been hit hard lately. With the injuries piling up, coach Marvin Lewis showed his team some statistics about Super Bowl champions overcoming injuries.

''You look at the last four or five Super Bowl champions and the amount of people that went on (injured reserve), and they've overcome it,'' Lewis said. ''You look at those teams, and those teams put double-digit numbers of players on injured reserve.

''And their leadership of the team, the maturity of the team, it all plays out.''

Coordinator Mike Zimmer has a reputation for being able to plug newcomers into the defense quickly without having the overall performance suffer.

''I guess that's his calling card,'' safety Chris Crocker said. ''He can put in other guys and have them play together and find a way to win. The biggest part is putting somebody in there who knows what to do.

''Everybody's athletically gifted and talented. But at this point in the season when you bring in somebody new, you just have to be up to speed on what to do. If you get them to do that, that's 60 to 70 percent of the battle. We'll be fine.''

Notes: Whitworth, Maualuga and defensive lineman Devon Still (elbow) didn't practice on Wednesday. Whitworth missed the Miami game with a sore right knee. ... RB Giovani Bernard (bruised ribs), LB Mike Boley (hamstring), TE Jermaine Gresham (groin) and guard Kevin Zeitler (hamstring) were limited in practice.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Trent RichardsonJul 6 01:43p

Oakland Raiders RB Trent Richardson lost some weight this offseason and showed some quickness during offseason workouts, according to offensive line coach Mike Tice.

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 6 01:33p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul's (hand) fireworks incident has led to the Giants withdrawing their long-term offer to Pierre-Paul which would have paid him $60 million, according to sources.

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 6 01:13p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand) is still in a Miami hospital after suffering injuries to his hand from a fireworks accident.

C.J. AndersonJul 6 08:43a

Denver Broncos RB Montee Ball is expected to receive seven or eight carries a game, while RB C.J. Anderson serves as the bellcow with 18 per game, in the [ More ]

Jason Pierre-PaulJul 5 07:13p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand) injured his hands in a fireworks accident, according to multiple sources. He was still meeting with doctors after being hospitalized for his [ More ]

Andrew QuarlessJul 4 01:43p

Green Bay Packers TE Andrew Quarless was arrested early Saturday, July 4, for allegedly firing a gun into the ground, according to police. Quarless supposedly was involved in a [ More ]

Devonta FreemanJul 3 10:23p

Atlanta Falcons RB Tevin Coleman should end up starting Week 1 ahead of RB Devonta Freeman, according to Steven Ruiz of USA TODAY Sports, because Coleman has top-end speed [ More ]

Ladarius GreenJul 3 03:33p

San Diego Chargers TE Ladarius Green likely will be the starting tight end with TE Antonio Gates being suspended for the first four games of the season.

Dez BryantJul 3 12:53p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant has had no progress in contract talks with the team, according to sources. The Cowboys are not budging off their offer of a long-term [ More ]

Darren McFaddenJul 2 11:03p

Dallas Cowboys RB Darren McFadden has topped 155 carries just twice in his seven years in the league, and he has averaged less than 3.5 yards per carry in [ More ]

Antonio GatesJul 2 04:33p

Updating a previous report, San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates has been suspended four games for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing drugs. It was previous reported that [ More ]

Antonio GatesJul 2 04:13p

San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates has been suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Datone JonesJul 2 04:03p

Green Bay Packers DE Datone Jones has been suspended one game by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Rolando McClainJul 2 03:03p

Dallas Cowboys LB Rolando McClain has been suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league's policy and program for substances of abuse.

S. RichardsonJul 2 02:23p

New York Jets DT Sheldon Richardson has been suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league's policy on substances of abuse.

Richard RodgersJul 1 05:03p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers could see more playing time in 2015, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Rodgers played 528 snaps, while fellow TE Andrew Quarless played [ More ]

Rob HouslerJun 30 03:13p

Cleveland Browns TEs Gary Barnidge, Rob Housler and Jim Dray could all end up taking over for TE Jordan Cameron, who is now with the Miami Dolphins. Head coach [ More ]

Sam BradfordJun 29 05:22p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) is expected to be in the final phase of his rehabilitation from a torn anterior cruciate ligament once training camp begins. Bradford's second [ More ]

Charles JohnsonJun 29 02:02p

Minnesota Vikings WR Charles X. Johnson appears to have everything it takes to produce in the NFL, according to offensive coordinator Norv Turner. 'He's got great work ethic, and [ More ]

C.J. SpillerJun 28 09:02p

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller has a perfect skill-set for head coach Sean Payton's system, which relies on getting the ball to players in space, according Chris Wesseling [ More ]

Tony MoeakiJun 25 07:12p

Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Moeaki will compete with TE Jacob Tamme for the Falcons' starting tight end job during training camp. QB Matt Ryan praised both tight ends for [ More ]

Kelvin BenjaminJun 25 03:52p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin's reported weight gain this offseason is being overblown, according to general manager Dave Gettleman. Gettleman expects Benjamin to be ready to go for training [ More ]

Antoine CasonJun 25 03:03a

Free-agent CB Antoine Cason (foot) will miss the 2015 season due to surgery he underwent on Tuesday, June 23. Cason (Ravens) did not specify what type of surgery he [ More ]

Marvin JonesJun 24 09:13p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (ankle, foot) did not play in 2014 due to multiple foot and ankle issues, but he is healthy and was impressive in organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp.

Keith WenningJun 24 02:43p

Free-agent QB Keith Wenning (Ravens) signed with the Cincinnati Bengals Wednesday, June 24. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Pierre GarconJun 24 02:23p

Washington Redskins WR Pierre Garcon could be featured more often in the passing game this season based on the offseason workouts. Garcon often lined up to the right of [ More ]

Martavis BryantJun 24 01:43p

Pittsburgh Steelers WRs Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant are expected to compete for the No. 2 wide receiver job during training camp. Both players performed well during offseason workouts.

Peyton ManningJun 24 11:53a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning was the subject of preliminary trade discussions with the Houston Texans, according to a source. The talks occurred before Manning restructured his deal and [ More ]

Rueben RandleJun 24 10:53a

New York Giants WR Rueben Randle was the best receiver on the field by a wide margin during spring practices, in the opinion of beat writer Jordan Ranaan. Randle [ More ]

Chris IvoryJun 24 10:43a

New York Jets RB Chris Ivory is listed as the starting running back entering training camp, according to beat writer Rich Cimini's unofficial depth chart. RB Bilal Powell is [ More ]

Devonta FreemanJun 23 10:22a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman enters training camp ahead of RB Tevin Coleman on the depth chart.

Joseph RandleJun 23 10:02a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle appears to be the clear leader at running back, and it's his job to lose in training camp.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group