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Paul Guenther calls Geno Atkins "just a guy out there"

Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther needs more out of Geno Atkins, who recovered from an ACL tear during last year's offseason, or "we need to go find a new inside rusher."

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Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins suffered an ACL tear against the Miami Dolphins on Halloween night in 2013. He wasn't the same in 2014. We were supposed to wait a year and give him the benefit of the doubt. That's what superfan WhoDey McNutty would say. Geno Atkins' numbers are down. Give him a year. He doesn't even look like himself. GIVE HIM, a year. No push, slower than normal.

Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther described him as "just a guy out there."

Atkins spent last year repairing and rehabilitating a torn ACL. Now I'm not a doctor and I do not pretend to act like one on the internet. I only know that when someone tears an ACL, there's a long rehab with a ton of work involved and if you're lucky, you return to your old form. If you believe in miracles, maybe you return to your old form within a year. Otherwise, that means Atkins wasn't improving nor growing... rather recovering.

Give him. Another. Year. It makes sense and most of us accepted it.

A year or not, Paul Guenther needs him at pre-ACL Atkins soon. Per the Cincinnati Enquirer

Can he be the same Atkins that racked up 18.5 sacks in 25 games prior to tearing his ACL?

"I sure hope so, because we need him to be that way," Guenther said. "Otherwise we need to go find a new inside rusher."

Since '11, Atkins leads all defensive tackles in the NFL with 29 quarterback sacks... and he holds that distinction even after missing half of 2013 and generating a career-low three quarterback sacks in 2014. During his inhumane season in '12, with 12.5 quarterback sacks and four forced fumbles, Atkins contributed with 64 quarterback disruptions (13 quarterback hits and 53 quarterback hurries). It earned him a six-year contract worth $56.423 million with $31 million guaranteed. All of those numbers dropped considerably in 2014 to 40 disruptions (four quarterback hits and 36 hurries).

The Cincinnati Enquirer adds:

Doctors have said the defensive lineman by all accounts looks 100 percent healthy, but then why such a significant drop off in production from last year?

"I wish I had the answer to that," Guenther said. "He just didn't play as effectively as he has in the past. Whether it's in his mind from a health standpoint, we got to get that figured out before next season starts.

Guenther added that "We need to get him back to where he was, being that game-wrecker there inside. Otherwise, we need to go find a new inside rusher."