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Marvin Lewis is really excited about Margus Hunt

Through five practices, Lewis is very happy with the way Hunt has performed.

The Bengals defense figures to be solid again in 2014, but if they want to remain 'elite', they'll need someone along the defensive line to step up and replace Michael Johnson.

Arguably the most consistent pass-rusher for the past three seasons, Johnson notched 25 sacks and 90 QB hurries over the past three seasons. He signing a lucrative deal with the Buccaneers this offseason, and it looks like 2013 second-rounder Margus Hunt is going to be the one primarily responsible for replacing him.

"He's one of the [young] guys that I would write down on that list to see them out there and playing -- really playing," Lewis said during the pre-training camp presser. "Now that he knows what to do, he can play carefree and pin his ears back and go. He can play faster."

Hunt hasn't disappointed. Through five practices, Lewis is very happy with the way Hunt has performed. In today's meeting with the media, Lewis said "I think he’s made a huge, huge leap" when asked about Hunt.

For much of the offseason, Hunt has been pointed to as a player expected to take a big leap in 2014. When Johnson left for the Bus and Mike Zimmer left to coach the Vikings, Zimm singled out Hunt as a player who help keep Cincy's defense great.

"They'll be fine. (Wallace) Gilberry is good. I think Margus Hunt will take a big jump. They've positioned themselves well for a long time."

Hunt didn't get a sack as a rookie, but did notch 11 QB hurries. He'll be counted on to do a lot more in Year 2. If he can live up to the praise he's drawn from Lewis thus far, we could be in for a treat.