Atkins, a fourth-round pick in 2010, led NFL interior linemen with 7½ sacks last season, and is already well ahead of that pace.
"Geno — I'm telling you, the dude is like a little pit bull," Newman said. "He's stocky, compact, and his first step is amazing. I worked out with him in the offseason. His first step is unbelievable, and he's smart. I couldn't believe this is only his third year in the league. The guy's going to be one of the best at that position for sure."
The Bengals have one of the league's tallest lines with the 6-foot-7 Johnson, 6-foot-6 Dunlap and 6-foot-3 Peko. Atkins is the smallest at 6-foot-1, but he does most of the pushing around.
"He's unreal," Peko said. "He's one of those guys when you look at his stature you're like 'Oh, man. He's a smaller tackle.' But when he's out there on the field, he plays like he's 6-foot-7."
And when they surround the quarterback, it makes it tough to see the receivers and get the ball to them.
"In the quarterback's mind, his clock is sped up and he really has to get rid of the ball, he can't hold onto it," safety Chris Crocker said. "Our defensive linemen are very tall guys. Just them getting their arms up, getting around him — it's uncomfortable. As long as they continue to get the pressure like they're getting, then we'll make a lot of plays."
NOTES: Cornerbacks Leon Hall (hamstring) and Nate Clements (calf) returned to practice Wednesday on a limited basis, an indication they could play against the Dolphins. Hall has missed the last two games, and Clements was sidelined against the Jaguars. ... Top draft pick CB Dre Kirkpatrick also returned to practice on a limited basis. He hurt his left knee over the summer and missed all of training camp. He returned to practice before the final preseason game, but developed tendinitis that sidelined him again.
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