CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 02: Michael Johnson #93 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates during the 23-20 victory against the Buffalo Bills at Paul Brown Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson is adding to the chorus of confidence initiated by Carlos Dunlap earlier this week. Dunlap, in quick summary, wants to dominate and become the "emerging player" like Geno Atkins was last year as well as a starter. Michael Johnson added on Tuesday that he and Dunlap "can be one of the best tandems in the league, honestly."
In the two years that Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson have played together (2010, 2011), both defensive ends have generated a combined 22.5 quarterback sacks, 28 shots on the quarterback (not resulting in a sack) and 77 quarterback pressures.
We've seen enough from Dunlap to know that if gets through a season completely healthy (doesn't miss any time at least), his production and assaults against opposing quarterbacks could be unlimited -- if not scary. Michael Johnson, roughly the same body type, has slowly developed but keeps leaving enough doubt, or at least exploratory wonder if he's capable enough to reach the atmosphere of Dunlap's potential.
Regardless. The most important factor is self-motivation that these guys are starting to express. Dunlap became motivated by Atkins and now Johnson is finding motivation through greatness.