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.
Throughout training camp, one player looked ready to step up and replace the production lost by Johnson, and 2013 second-rounder Margus Hunt is the man.
Through 16 practices, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther was very happy with the way Hunt has performed.
"You have to have more than a bull rush or the guy's just going to anchor down on you," said Guenther. "He has the ability to come under a tackle or long arm him. I'm trying to get him to use his length better. He needs to understand how to use his length. He's getting better in the pass rush, he's doing a good job in the running game. He's not where he needs to be, but that's part of the preseason getting him some snaps in situations."
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 Guenther, as well as defensive line coach Jay Hays thus far, we could be in for a treat.
"There are if you know what you are doing," Hayes said. "And he's learning what to do. I was pleased with what he did. He did a couple things he needs to get better at, but, he's coming."
Judging by how Hunt disposed of Jeff Linkenbach, "he's coming" might be the best way to describe him right now.