The Bengals lost a pair of key defensive players to serious injuries last season, but the team isn’t showing much concern about the availability of either one for the start of the 2014 campaign.
Cornerback Leon Hall has received clearance to do football drills following last year’s torn right Achilles and looks like he’s on track to make the same full recovery that he did after tearing the left one in 2011. Coach Marvin Lewis called it an “amazing recovery” on Tuesday and said Hall would be lined up as a starting cornerback if training camp started today. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who tore his ACL in October, isn’t quite as far along, but Lewis is no less confident that he’ll be in the lineup with Hall when the curtain rises on the regular season.
“I don’t have any concern, no,” Lewis said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Geno, all intentions is whenever he can get back. But, again, you have to go through the process.”
While the Bengals defense generally held up well without the missing veterans, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said recently that his message to the defense was that they weren’t good enough to get the job done last year. Having Atkins and Hall in the lineup would likely go a long way toward helping them reach the level that Guenther wants to see.