Guenther challenges defense, says Geno good to go

Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther came off the field after Wednesday's practice and pronounced defensive tackle Geno Atkins ready to go for Sunday's 1 p.m. Paul Brown Stadium opener against the Falcons.

Atkins played his first regular-season game since tearing his ACL last season last Sunday in Baltimore and he logged 49 snaps despite just playing 13 in the preseason. He got carted off the field at the end of Sunday's game with feet issues that appear to be soreness and he didn't practice Wednesday, but Guenther said he's OK.

No one is looking for him to be his dominating self until he gets more snaps under him.

"I thought he played well. It's kind of his preseason if you will," Guenther said. "It's good for him to get more and more reps just to get back in the swing of playing. Hopefully he can keep progressing and get to where he was. He knows he has to work through it."

Atkins couldn't chase down Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco out of a three-man rush on third-and-16 and when wide receiver Steve Smith got behind the secondary, it turned into an 80-yard touchdown pass.

Guenther, who never met a blitz that didn't intrigue him, was kiddingly asked if he got tired because he didn't call a pressure.

"I went back and looked in the offseason at that defense and we were damn near 100 percent," Guenther said. "We get the ball checked down and we rally to the ball."

Asked if a mid-season Atkins gets to Flacco, Guenther said, "Probably."

After being on the field for 88 snaps, Guenther told his guys before Wednesday's practice he didn't want to hear about anyone being tired.

"If you don't want to play 10-minute drives, get them off the damn field, we can help that," Guenther said. "That was my message today. Get your butt in shape or get off the field in three plays. Your choice."

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