Bengals defensive player to watch: DT Geno Atkins

Geno Atkins

Bengals DT Geno Atkins closes in on Packers RB Cedric Benson in a preseason game Aug. 23 (John Griesop/AP)

How he beats you: The Bengals haven’t played particularly well on defense so far. They’re ranked 29th in the league against the pass, 30th overall and 29th in scoring defense.

But the Redskins’ offensive line must pay close attention to Cincinnati defensive tackle Geno Atkins, particularly in passing situations. Atkins has two sacks in two games this season, both against the Baltimore Ravens in the opener, after having 7-1/2 sacks last season, an unusually high total for an interior defensive lineman.

“Usually interior guys don’t get a whole lot [of sacks],” Redskins left guard Kory Lichtensteiger said. “Those are big numbers for him. I see a pretty dynamic guy that plays run and pass both very well. I don’t think he’s very heavy, but the weight that he has, he uses effectively. He’s got power and some finesse, too, so you’ve got to prepare on all fronts.”

How to stop him: The Bengals line up Atkins at different spots on their defensive line. So Lichtensteiger and right guard Chris Chester each should have chances to block him.

Center Will Montgomery likely will help out at times. The mobility of rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III helps against any pass rush. But most quarterbacks are particularly bothered by a strong up-the-middle pass rush. So it will be a good test for a Redskins offensive line that was a question mark entering the season but has held up relatively well in the first two games, particularly in the opener at New Orleans. Griffin has been sacked three times in his first two NFL games.

“It’s no different: You’ve got to use good technique and stay in front of him,” Lichtensteiger said. “If he’s going to beat us, make it be something where he just made a good play on it. Don’t give him anything.”

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