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Paul Guenther believes in Margus Hunt

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Could Margus Hunt breakthrough in 2015? Paul Guenther seems to think so.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

As the Bengals enter their 13th season under head coach Marvin Lewis, Paul Guenther is heading into just his second season as an NFL defensive coordinator.

Third-year defensive end Margus Hunt is entering just his sixth full year of playing football after not picking up the sport until his college days at SMU. Needless to say, both Guenther and Hunt are still finding themselves in the NFL, and the growing pains were evident last year.

Guenther's defense fell from being ranked 3rd in total defense in 2013 to 23rd in 2014 while also finishing dead last in total sacks. Speaking of, Hunt has just 1.5 sacks in his two-year NFL career and has played just 373 snaps during his Bengals career. Even with so little production to this point, Guenther thinks Hunt is on the verge of breaking through.

At yesterday's Bengals media luncheon, here's what Guenter said about hunt (via Local 12):

"(We need to) keep him on the field. Last year he was progressing at a high rate. Even the little things maybe you don't notice, once he went down and missed six or seven weeks it was like starting over again. Keeping him on the field and continuing to improve his technique and understanding he's made leaps and bounds that way. We just have to keep him on the field. He’s one of the guys on the cusp of maybe breaking through as a starter."

Hunt did manage to show some flashes of being an impact pass-rusher, as evidenced by this sack vs. the Colts in the wild-card playoff loss:

The problem is, Hunt is already off to a slow start this year after suffering a back injury in offseason workouts that now has him on the PUP list. Hunt needs to have a good showing this year to keep his roster spot secure with younger guys like Marcus Hardison and Will Clarke waiting in the wings. It's good to see his DC still seems to believe in him.