CINCINNATI -- One of the Cincinnati Bengals' best defensive players will make his season debut this weekend.
Cincinnati defensive tackle Geno Atkins is expected to play against Baltimore, coach Zac Taylor said in a teleconference after Friday's practice. Atkins missed the first four games of the season with a shoulder injury he suffered toward the end of the preseason.
"He's done a great job working back into practices," Taylor said. "Mentally, physically, he's ready to go."
Although Atkins has not been a full participant during any game-week practice this season, he did begin working in a limited capacity last week.
Atkins was the Bengals' lone Pro Bowl representative last season and was on the NFL's All-Decade team for the 2010s. The veteran's return is a much-needed boost for a Bengals defensive line that has been decimated by injuries and opt-outs this season.
Atkins' availability is also timely given the opponent. The Ravens (3-1) are third in the league in total rushing, and the Bengals (1-2-1) have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards in the NFL.
Even though Taylor didn't specify what the extent of Atkins' role will be against Baltimore, the second-year coach said it was good to have the defensive tackle back in the rotation.
"Obviously we've had a lot of injuries at that position," Taylor said. "He's been the force in that group here for a long time. It's good to get his presence back. I know he's excited about it."