Before training camp practice today, Carlos Dunlap was asked about the desire to become a Pro Bowl player this season. He responded with "Most definitely, that's been one of my personal goals: to get out there with those guys"
Beyond the fact the Dunlap is entering his fifth year and would like to become a player that is selected for the Pro Bowl, he was motivated by a conversation last year from Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. As a guest of Vontaze Burfict, Guenther texted Dunlap stating that it is time for him to get there too.
After leading the Bengals in sacks last season at 7.5 (tied with Wallace Gilberry) and posting his personal best in tackles at 58, Dunlap wants to take that next step and become another Pro Bowl player the Bengals can boast along side of Burfict and Geno Atkins.
If Dunlap improves his numbers slightly and has the fan base in Cincinnati behind him, he probably deserves a shot at a selection. Dunlap's tackles are consistent with the players selected to last seasons roster. His sack numbers are where he falls a little short. Almost every defensive end selected posted double digit sack numbers.
Dunlap agreed in his response, "The Pro Bowl is based off numbers and fan support, We've got a good, strong fan base in Cincinnati here, so now I just have to go out and produce and put up the numbers."
There has been much talk of what the Bengals lost when former coordinator Mike Zimmer left to take the head coaching position, but it is bits like this that make me excited for what has been gained with Guenther. The players like him, and if he can motivate a player to work that much harder with a simple text conversation, imagine what he can do for an already strong defense.