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Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap honored by PFWA and PFF

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Atkins scored honors from PFF and PFWA, while Dunlap earned PFWA’s Good Guy award.

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NFL: SEP 20 Chargers at Bengals Photo by John Sommers/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images

The Cincinnati Chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America has named Geno Atkins as the Bengals’ 2017 Most Valuable Player, and Carlos Dunlap was the recipient of the organization’s annual “Good Guy” award.

Dunlap, coming out of his eighth season, is the 17th recipient of the PFWA’s “Good Guy” award, given for professionalism and cooperation with media and understanding the media’s role in covering the team.

“Both through his work in the community, with his bully-free zone initiative, and on a regular basis being available to the media, Dunlap served as an example of the highest standard of what it means to be a professional athlete,” Dehner Jr. said. “There were many tough days in the locker room this season, but Dunlap was always there and available with thoughtful perspective.”

Dunlap finished 2017 with 46 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, one forced fumble, seven pass deflections, and one interception returned for a touchdown.

This marks the second PFWA MVP for Atkins in his eight-year career. He also won the award in 2012.

Atkins finished the 2017 season with nine sacks, 10 tackles for losses and 20 quarterback hits. Pro Football Focus rated Atkins as the second-best interior defensive lineman.

“Atkins served as a constant disruption and focal point in the game plan of opposing offensive coordinators,” said Cincinnati Enquirer Bengals beat writer Paul Dehner Jr. “His raw numbers may not have been as prolific as in previous seasons, but his consistent production set him a notch above the rest of the team.”

In addition, Atkins was named to the Pro Football Focus All-Pro Team.

Defensive interior – Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals

PFF Grade: 91.5

Elite Stat: Atkins couldn’t match Donald’s efforts as a pass-rusher, but he still finished second in total pressures among interior defenders with 70.

At his best, Geno Atkins was the best interior pass-rusher in the game, but then Aaron Donald and J.J. Watt came along and simply raised the bar. Atkins has never quite gotten back to that 2012 level of dominance he had, but 2017 was his second year of getting close, and that’s good enough to secure him a spot on PFF’s All-Pro team alongside Donald. This gives this team one of the most destructive interior set of pass-rushers you could hope to assemble. Atkins posted 70 total pressures over the season, trailing only Donald among interior defenders, and notched 32 defensive stops. His pass-rush productivity score of 11.8 also trailed only Donald.

Congratulations to both players on these well-deserved honors.