It is almost easy to forget about Geno Atkins when the Bengals aren’t playing. He doesn’t say much. He keeps to himself. He lives a very private life. However, when he is on the field, he is impossible to forget.
Atkins has been having one of his best seasons as a Bengal, and Pro Bowl voters are recognizing him for it. He has received the most Pro Bowl votes for the defensive tackle position in the AFC. Also notable though, no other Bengal is leading at any other position in Pro Bowl voting and no Bengals player is among the top 10 vote getters.
Now the Bengals have been experiencing a frustrating season offensively and defensively. It makes sense in a way that only one Bengals player is among the top Pro Bowl vote getters, because really the only other player who really deserves to be up there is A.J. Green. Despite having a down year as his standards go, Green is easily one of the best receivers in the NFL. At this rate he will barely get above 1,000 yards, and the only other season that he didn’t reach 1,000 yards was last year when he missed a huge chunk of the season.
Still with Antonio Brown in the way, there was little chance of Green receiving more votes than him in the AFC. It will be more more interesting to see where he ends up as far as the other AFC receivers go.
Still, Atkins’ accomplishment is pretty great considering his competition. Ndamukong Suh and Brandon Williams are easily his toughest competition. It really helps him that a player like Aaron Donald is in the NFC. He currently has roughly 200,000 more votes than Atkins. That has a lot to do with the media coverage around Donald and lack of attention with Atkins in the press.
Atkins actually leads all defensive tackles in sacks this season with seven. He easily earned his place at the top of the AFC defensive tackle list in the voting. Also, he did have this hit on Thursday Night Football:
Geno Atkins with the stunt blitz that LT Chris Clark didn't see. The #Texans desperately need Duane Brown back.#Bengals pic.twitter.com/efHiNl6nKU— FF Draft Stats (@ffdraftstats) September 18, 2017
It seems like this season Atkins has even more pep in his step. It is hard to say how that happened, but it could be the fact the team added more reliable complimentary players to surround him with. Now, teams can’t double and triple team him as easily. He isn’t even the team leader for sacks. Rookie Carl Lawson has 7.5 on the season and is two away from breaking Carlos Dunlap’s record for 9.5 sacks in his rookie year.
Atkins’ dominance is something every fan should be happy about. Next season, the defensive tackle will be 30-years old, and it seems like the Bengals have a nice system going on to make sure he can play for quite a bit longer.
It really is an honor to have an player receiving the most votes at any position, but considering the expectations coming into the season, and the frustrating mishandling of the start of the season, it seems like the Bengals should’ve had a few more players closer to the top.
There’s still time to vote for the Pro Bowl.