One could make the argument that the Cincinnati Bengals defensive line is the deepest unit within the Mike Zimmer defense. Carlos Dunlap posted 9.5 quarterback sacks inside an eight-game stretch last season. Geno Atkins, rated as one of the defense's top pass rushers (generated a quarterback pressure per every 15 pass attempts, which is better than Dunlap), is coming along as a premiere defensive tackle. Combined with Domata Peko, Pat Sims could be a devastating force up the middle due to, according to Marvin Lewis, his increasing maturity. Did you see Sims abusing Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday around during the preseason finale?
Michael Johnson appeared to be causing enough havoc to make quarterbacks nervous in the pocket and Robert Geathers appeared to be doing a better job solidifying his situational role as a run defender. Both defensive end and defensive tackle will have Jonathan Fanene and Frostee Rucker rotating in at both positions as situational pass rushers. Last season Rucker produced a team-high quarterback pressure per 12 attempted passes and Jonathan Fanene posted a career-high 6.5 quarterback sacks during his most recent full season -- missed most of 2010 with an injury.
Not a bad group this team has put together on the defensive front.
Starters: Robert Geathers, Michael Johnson, Geno Atkins, Domata Peko
Backups: Carlos Dunlap, Jonathan Fanene, Frostee Rucker, Pat Sims