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Baltimore Ravens Focusing On Bengals Defensive Tackle Geno Atkins

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CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 02:  Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills is sacked by Geno Atkins #97 of the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 02: Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills is sacked by Geno Atkins #97 of the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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The Baltimore Ravens are well aware that Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins is one of Cincinnati's best defensive players. Along with leading the team with eight quarterback sacks (most in the league by a defensive tackle), Atkins leads all defensive tackles in the NFL with 14 hits on the quarterback and ranks second with 25 quarterback pressures behind Detroit's Ndamukong Suh. Baltimore Ravens' head coach John Harbaugh said when asked about Atkins:

"You’ve got to block him, and you’ve got to block him really well," Harbaugh said. "He can defeat pretty much any block. He’s playing at a very high level. A second-year guy, he’s really emerging as one of the better tackles in the league."

Ravens guard Ben Grubbs says that Atkins' short stature, along with his strength, gives the second-year defensive tackle tremendous leverage.

"Being that low to the ground definitely helps you," Grubbs said. "It benefits you when it comes to getting leverage and playing with power. … He’s different because he’s shorter, for one. And powerful. One of the strongest guys I’ve ever gone against. He’s a good player, and I respect him."

Atkins, a first alternate for the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl, is rated as the league's top defensive tackle by Pro Football Focus, most notably as a pass rusher. Atkins has recorded 27 stops, which constitutes an offensive failure (quarterback sacks, limited yards rushing the football), which ranks eighth amongst defensive tackles. Only Bengals middle linebacker Rey Maualuga has more on the team.