News

Print
RSS

Matchup of the Game: Sons also rise

Posted Sep 5, 2013

In one of those games that is simply going to be decided at the line of scrimmage, no questions asked, this matchup of sons of two of the tougher NFL players in the '80s and '90s is the marquee joust.

BENGALS DT GENO ATKINS VS. BEARS RG KYLE LONG

In one of those games that is simply going to be decided at the line of scrimmage, no questions asked, this matchup of sons of two of the tougher NFL players in the '80s and '90s is the marquee joust.

And that's saying something in a game that also features a franchise player (Bengals RE Michael Johnson) against the Bears big free-agent acquisition (LT Jermon Bushrod), as well as two first-rounders battling on the other edge in Bengals RT Andre Smith (2009) against Bears LE Shea McClellin (2012).

The 6-1, 303-pound Atkins, fresh off Monday's five-year, $55 million extension that reflects how the NFL views him following his 12.5-sack season, gets a first-round pick himself in the 6-6, 313-pound Long. Bears observers are raving how Long is the real deal. Big and athletic with a mean streak longer than his Hall of Fame dad, 6-5, 268-pound Howie Long.

And the Bengals know all about Kyle Long, one of the 30 prospects invited to a Paul Brown Stadium pre-draft visit. They've got high regard for him and as long as Andre Smith was unsigned Long was an option because the Bengals think he can play right tackle. They wouldn't have taken him with the 21st pick (a moot point when the Bears took him at 20), but the Bengals had high enough grades on Long they could have taken him at No. 37, high in the second round.

"I saw him as a second-rounder, but he's really surprised me how well he's adapted to guard," says draft guru Rob Rang of CBSSports.com. "He only played five games at guard at Oregon. He's a big, athletic guy, a rare combination for a guard. He's going to have to pull up his bootstraps when he goes against Geno.

"The knock on Geno coming out was his size. That he was too short, and his arms weren't long enough. But he's so quick, he's got such a burst, and he uses his leverage so well against big people and that's what Kyle Long is going to have to deal with. Geno gets up into your pads."

Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham, an NFL guard for a decade, says this is going to be a new experience for Long. Even for an NFL son.

"(Long) has had a good preseason. I watched him against San Diego and he was dominant," Lapham says. "But this is the regular season against arguably one of the best in the game. I think they're going to help him. They won't let him go 1-on 1. That would be unfair. There are ways to slide the line and try to slow Geno down.

"Geno can use his leverage as a strength against a bigger guy; that's what he does (turning to his favorite metaphor to describe Atkins). It's like trying to block a bowling ball of knives coming at you. He's just relentless. He finished everything and he plays at a high level every snap."

The amazing thing to Lapham is not that Howie Long has two sons playing in the NFL, but that Geno is the product of 5-11, 200-pound Gene Atkins, a safety for the Saints and Dolphins during 10 seasons. Both with good gene pools, Lapham says.

But Atkins has a head start on the DNA, playing his 49th NFL game and looking for his 24th sack as he begins his fourth season.

(By the way, Howie Long, an end, had 18.5 sacks in his first three seasons.)

"(Kyle Long) has never felt the surge when Geno comes off the ball," Lapham says. "I don't think he's ever felt that before."

 

Recent Articles

  • Tuesday notes: Jones sees red; Sunday Night smiles for Leah

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted 7 hours ago

    Views: 5,366
  • Fantasy Recap: Week 4

    By James Morris - Posted 8 hours ago

    Before this week’s games were played I don’t think you could have found one person on the face of the Earth that would have said that Eli Manning would finish as this week’s #1 fantasy QB, and Kirk Cousins would completely implode and throw 4 INTs and just 1 TD. And not that it matters for anyone outside of 2QB leagues, but the Bills finally benched E.J. Manuel in favor of Kyle Orton on Monday.

    Views: 554
  • Five takes from Pats-Chiefs

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted 13 hours ago

    Five takes from the Chiefs’ 41-14 blowout of the Patriots on Monday night as the Bengals get ready for a Sunday Night Football game (8:30 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 5) in New England.

    Views: 5,941
  • New Kids in Town challenge New England tradition

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted 23 hours ago

    The Green-Dalton Bengals have done enough winning since 2011 to test the Patriots on Sunday Night Football (8:30-Cincinnati's Channel 5).

    Views: 5,563
  • Monday quick hits: Still salutes support; Lewis says Tez expected; Rex back in busy RB mix

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted Sep 29, 2014

    Defensive tackle Devon Still came back from his bye week Monday to find his locker stacked with boxes and envelopes that he assumed “are for my daughter.”

    Views: 9,458

Recent Videos

Photos