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News » Cincinnati Bengals Inside Slant 2009-04-10

Cincinnati Bengals Inside Slant 2009-04-10

Cincinnati Bengals Inside Slant 2009-04-10
Mike Zimmer's biggest priority during the offseason was finding a way to improve the Bengals' pass rush. With the signing of defensive tackle Tank Johnson, they made another step toward achieving that goal.

No Bengals defensive tackle has had more than three sacks in a season since John Thornton had six in 2003, so it was obvious that the team needed to make upgrades.

Johnson, who struggled in Dallas' 3-4 alignment the last two seasons, can play both positions on the inside in the Bengals' 4-3. Zimmer said that Johnson would be playing in a three technique, which is more of a pressure type of defender with pass-rushing ability who can create matchup problems than a run-stopping interior lineman.

"If you look at the personnel in the NFL now, the offensive tackles are all pretty good. The guards are not quite as good," Zimmer said. "If you can work it out that guys are getting one-on-one, they've got a chance to win some."

Where Johnson fits in on the line remains to be seen. The starting tackles could be Johnson and Domata Peko with Robert Geathers and Antwan Odom at the ends. But Geathers is still rehabbing from a knee injury, and won't be on the field until minicamp on June while Odom was injury plagued last year.

Whatever the case, Johnson's addition does give the Bengals a nice mix of veterans and youngsters. But before he brought Johnson in, Zimmer made sure to outline what was expected of him.

"I called a lot of players in Dallas and talked to former players, front office people and former D-line coaches about what type of guy he is," Zimmer said. "I also encouraged him to call former players about me. Sometimes I'm not the easiest guy to get along with and they need to understand what I am about.

"We've got a good nucleus of guys who know how to do things. That's been one of the positive things so far and we don't want a guy coming in here disrupting the chemistry."

Quarterback Carson Palmer also liked the move because of what it can do for the team in division games.

"It's exciting thinking of him and Domata playing next to each other," Palmer said. "It's a great signing for our team, especially for the division we're in. He's a big, physical guy that can play the run and get after the passer."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 10, 2009

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