Here's the difference:
Last year defensive tackle Geno Atkins was rehabilitating a torn knee ligament. In addition to the amount of time that it generally takes to recover from such an injury, there's significant work involved for Atkins... just to get back to where he was. There is little room for improvement. The entire focus is recovery.
Despite being named to the 2015 Pro Bowl, his overall production in 2014 reflected an obvious decline associated with a major injury.
Now, Atkins can spend the offseason working to improve.
"Geno is excited. Geno was not overly excited about his season last season, his production overall," said head coach Marvin Lewis on Thursday. "Geno went through a traumatic experience. A lot of times people have a lot of people in their minds and have a lot of things they deal with."
"I’m really (excited) about Geno going forward. I know he’s excited about things and we have to get back to winning football. We’re going to win with our good players doing well and playing dominant. We have to be more competitive in every area across the board. How we practice, how we do things, and we've got to get better as a team."