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24.10.2018 08:27
Bengals Weekly Lineman: Geno Atkins trades blows with top-10 pick Antworten

Quenton Nelson Sunday featured intriguing matchups between seasoned veterans , and rookies making their first appearances in the NFL. Giants running back Saquon Barkley went up against one of the best defensive lines in the Jaguars. Browns cornerback Denzel Ward battled against the best receiver in the NFL in Antonio Brown. And in Indianapolis, rookie left guard Quenton Nelson went to war with Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins. And a war it was, right from the beginning:The All-Pro held nothing back in their first snap lined up across from one another. Nelson starts his set to defend the b-gap from Atkins, but has to quickly slide to his right to mirror Atkins’ quickness off the snap. His rushed effort made him completely liable to a timely spin move, which Atkins then deploys on him. All he can do is hold on for dear life and is penalized for doing so.For most of these plays, Nelson does an admirable job of recovering to the best of his abilitydespite losing off the snap. Atkins moves the point of attack from the original line of scrimmage to nearly the mesh point between quarterback Andrew Luck and running back Jordan Wilkins. Wilkins is forced to bend the run back and the box advantage the Bengals front seven (or eight in this case) and wins out. That recovery ability was best showcased on this play. Atkins knows the b-gap is going to be wide open with Lawson speed-rushing from essentially a wide-9 alignment. While most rushers use a push-pull, Atkins typically attacks with a push and some form of a rip to weaken the outside edge. He succeeds initially but Nelson does a great job getting his hands back in position while sliding Atkins into Lawson. Luck is able to step up and, well, you know what happens next.The quickness of Atkins and the timing from fellow defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow is what makes this stunt work so well against two very good young offensive linemen. The ground Atkins covers off the snap forces Nelson to mirror him as the communication between Nelson and center Ryan Kelly just couldn’t relay in time. Kelly receives a handful of Atkins ramming into him with no chance of recovering, while Glasgow isn’t picked up by Nelson until he’s basically next to Luck. The pressure forces Luck to basically throw it away over double coverage.Once again, Atkins tries to shorten his edge with a push-rip, but Nelson’s technique is as good as it could be. At Notre Dame, Nelson likely finishes this rep where he is at the middle of it, because most 3-techniques won’t re-establish leverage and muster up inordinate amounts of lower-leg drive to put Nelson on his behind. Luckily, like it was for most of the game, Luck found ways to extend plays in the pocket and made the most of his protection, even when it failed in some areas.If you’re tired of every play that looks like a run-pass-option being called a run-pass-option, you’re not alone. But, this was actually a run-pass-option, and Atkins isn’t fooled. Nelson and left tackle Joe Haeg are taking pass sets and the rest of the line takes drive steps for the zone run. The pre-snap read is predicated off of where the offense has a numbers advantage, and facing a light box, Luck elects to hand the ball off, and it’s the correct read. If Atkins doesn’t read and react instantaneously and scrapes from the backside of the play, he would’ve been validated.After working relentlessly for the first-half, Teryl Austin decides to make appropriate adjustments to help out his four-man rush. Lawson had been double teamed off the edge all game, and Atkins had been close with his outside rush. They use a tackle-end stunt to get the protection committed to taking away the outside , and loop Lawson back inside, occupying Nelson and leaving Atkins with Haeg. He obviously takes advantage.Luck was only sacked one other time by Dunlap in this game, as he looked extremely comfortable maneuvering in the pocket in his first game back in over a year. His ability to do so was the difference between negative and positive plays for the Colts. But it should be said that Atkins and the other usual suspects had decent games as well, even if the box score didn’t reflect that.Nelson has a lot to work on in terms of handling another level of quickness inside that he hasn’t quite seen before as a pass protector. Going up against Atkins is as tough of a first test as you can imagine, and every win that Nelson had, he should be proud of. That’s because Atkins just doesn’t have bad reps. And as for Atkins, it’s good to see on the other side of 30, he hasn’t shown the slightest sign of slowing down. Nelson may reach the level of hype he was rightfully touted with, but Atkins was the man in this matchup, and that won’t change for any 1-on-1 scenario with which Atkins is faced for a while.5 things we learned in the Bengals’ win over the Colts The Bengals’ season opener was a tale of two halves as Cincinnati overcame a 23-10 deficit and scored 24 unanswered points to beat the Colts.Two turnovers in the first half kept the Bengals to 10 points, but the team then exploded in the second half, thanks to Joe Mixon, A.J. Green, and Clayton Fejedelem. The defense stepped up and kept the Colts to a mere touchdown in the entire second half.Rust had to be shaken off, but it’s still just Week 1. The preseason can’t match this level of competition; teams hold some of their starters out, and those that play only play a fraction of the sixty minutes. Not to mention, a number of players were making their first starts with the team on Sunday. But once the Bengals dusted off some of the cobwebs, they were a force to be reckoned with.So, what did we learn from the season opener?The Bengals are running a Mixon-first offenseIn today’s NFL, it’s difficult to find an offense that revolves around a running back. Running backs who play in those types of offenses (Todd Gurley, David Johnson, and Ezekiel Elliott to name a few) are becoming superstars and getting huge paydays (although Elliott is still a few years away from his). Joe Mixon could be among the next guys in line.For a team whose offense has depended on Andy Dalton and A.J. Green for seven years, the Bengals have a stronger presence out of the backfield than they have ever had in that span.Mixon was held back in 2017 because he could not get to the line of scrimmage without being contacted by defenders first, thanks to one of the worst (if not the worst) run-blocking offensive line in the NFL. But the Bengals decided to make their former second round pick one of their most utilized weapons and fixed the offense to help him.Mixon carried the ball 17 times for 95 yards and a touchdown, while catching six of eight targets for 54 yards. In the context of the rest of the team, Dalton was the team’s second-leading rusher with two carries for eight yards. Giovani Bernard was the only other player with a carry Womens William Jackson Jersey , and he lost two yards on his only attempt. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor might have called more run plays if the Bengals weren’t behind for most of the game, but when they did run they only trusted Mixon, who gained 5.6 yards a carry.Mixon was also second on the team in targets, receptions, and yards behind (who else?) Green. In total, Mixon touched the ball on 24 plays—that’s 45 percent of the plays the offense ran. He gained a total of 149 yards, which is 45 percent of the yards the offense gained. So Mixon was almost half of the Bengals offense in Week 1.That being said...The Bengals can’t score without the Andy Dalton/A.J. Green connectionEven though the Bengals were feeding Mixon early and often, it was Green who got the Bengals on the scoreboard.First, he drew a pass interference call that set up the John Ross touchdown (which was his first catch of his career in a regular season game as well). Later, in the second half, Green caught the ball in the endzone himself to cut into the lead. He even helped convert some third downs that led to the field goal that put the Bengals up 27-23 in the fourth quarter.When Green is in the zone, he is unstoppable. But when he struggles with ball security, the Bengals’ offense stalls. The Pro Bowl receiver’s ball security issues weren’t the only miscues that need to be cleaned up going forward though.The Bengals have to stop commiting dumb penaltiesWhether or not the players agree with the rules, they still have to follow them to keep the flags in the refs’ pockets.Strong safety Shawn Williams claimed he didn’t know what else he could have done to avoid an ejection; he could have started by reading the textbook on helmet-to-helmet contact penalties because his hit would have looked remarkably similar. The penalty wasn’t even the new helmet rule, but it was the already existing rule that he should know about. There was no excuse for that dumb play resulting in an ejection. Luck was down and the play was over by the time Williams led with his helmet and hit Luck.Then, defensive end Carlos Dunlap was penalized twice for roughing the passer. The first time, he hit quarterback Andrew Luck from behind and below the knees, which is an infraction but you could blame that one on the way he was blocked. The second could have been avoided.The new “body weight” penalty may be a dumb rule, but officials are calling it and had been during the preseason, too. Perhaps Dunlap wasn’t expecting that to be called, but now we know. We know that the refs are calling the same penalties that we were calling in the preseason. So the Bengals should look at that play, in addition to the several other plays around the NFL this week. Its a dumb rule, but its a rule nonetheless.Depth on defense is game changingFrom front to back, the Bengals’ depth on defense is going to make a huge difference by the end of 17 weeks.The depth up front was a huge factor that kept the Colts from scoring in the final quarter and a half. All eight players who rotated through the defensive line made life tough for the embattled Colts offensive line. This will be huge 15 games down the road when injuries happen and everyone is worn out.At the linebacker spot, the depth has never been more important than it is now. Jordan Evans is already filling in for Vontaze Burfict, and he had a decent game. Evans impressed inrun defense Authentic Tyler Eifert Jersey , but struggled against the pass (including the play on which he got torched by Eric Ebron for a touchdown). Still, Evans has made some improvements since last year and hopefully he will continue learning.Meanwhile, Hardy Nickerson will be one of the most important keys to the game defensively against the Ravens on Thursday if Preston Brown is out. Brown, who had an interception and five tackles on Sunday, left the game late in the second quarter and was replaced by Nickerson. He did come back, but was hurting. The two middle linebackers combined for every single defensive snap in the game, which means that whoever starts there will get a lion’s share of playing time on Thursday.On the back end, Clayton Fejedelem stole the show. Not only did the special teams ace came through in the clutch and sealed the game, but racked up 10 total tackles from the safety spot.Unfortunately, the Bengals don’t have that kind of depth everywhere.The right side of the offensive line is predictably badThe offensive line is far better than it was last year after replacing four out of the five starters. Clint Boling is the only returning starter, and he teamed up with his college teammate, Cordy Glenn, to protect Dalton’s blindside. Rookie Billy Price is an immediate upgrade from Russell Bodine, though he made a few rookie mistakes. The left side was good, but the right side was shaky.Alex Redmond made his first career start on Sunday, which is a credit to his tenacity and mentality. As was to be expected in his first start, he was far from perfect. But he wasn’t the worst offensive lineman out there, and it wasn’t even close.Bobby Hart made Margus Hunt look like a Pro Bowler. Hunt picked up two sacks, three tackles for a loss and three QB hits in a monster day against Hart. Between Redmond and Hart, most of the pressure Dalton faced came from the right side. Redmond is young, and can learn from his mistakes and develop into an everyday starter. Hart is experienced, so who knows what his excuse is after Week 1.

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