Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins believes that knocking down a pass is just as valuable as quarterback sacks. "It stops the play," Atkins told Bengals.com. "If you're not going to sack the quarterback, it's always good to try and put your hands up in the passing lanes. Who knows what is going to happen?" And that's just one of the reasons why he's so good.
Atkins applied that philosophy on Saturday, swatting two Andy Dalton passes during practice -- one of which was snagged out of the air by running back Giovani Bernard.
And this makes offensive coordinator Jay Gruden mad. Furious. Gruden furious. Not just because they were tipped. Rather they were tipped by a defensive player that stands at 6'2".
"If Geno tipped them, then our quarterback must not be putting it high enough. Surely it wasn't Geno. Don't tell me Geno. It had to be (6-6 Carlos) Dunlap or (6-7 Michael) Johnson. We already know (Atkins) is great, but now if he's tipping passes, which makes me really mad."
Most observers that attended practice on Saturday agree that Dalton had a good afternoon, especially on slant and intermediate routes over the middle. Gruden agrees.
"He's throwing the ball well. It's good to see. The receivers are in the right spots, we just have to keep building," offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "You can never judge improvement until we start playing games. He is more confident in his anticipation. He's always been accurate but he has a better feel in what we do with the concepts. Let's taper back a little bit until (the opener at) Chicago (on Sept. 8) and see how he does."