Year 3 is the benchmark set by the NFL and its teams to decide whether something is working, or it is time to move on from a player or coach. There is no more rookie season, or sophomore slump to blame. The third year gives everyone an idea if this player or coach is for real. In light of solid ‘A’ draft ratings, I believe it is important to spotlight a few players and a coach who are entering their third year with the Bengals, and see what we can expect from them. This week’s focus is on one of the most dominant, if not most dominant young receivers in the game today.
Adriel Jeremiah Green is easily on the top 5 best receivers in the NFL list, and in some respects top 3. Green is an absolute stud at wide receiver, both in the classroom and on the field. His strong work ethic and relentless pursuit to be the greatest receiver in the NFL absolutely highlighted the 2010 draft for the Bengals. Green is not only a franchise player, but a guy a franchise can be built around. Green’s overall ability, commitment to excellence, and great character make him an absolute slam dunk as a player.
Green is coming off one of the best receiving season’s a wide receiver in orange and black has ever had. Green’s 97 receptions for 1350 yards and 11 touchdowns earned him his 2nd trip to the pro bowl in as many years as being a pro. Green, who is not a selfish player, always says it’s whatever it takes for his team to win the game. This is shown more and more the longer he is a Bengal. Green shows his versatility by run blocking, taking the hand off on an end around, and even lining up in the slot when needed. Watch tape of him and you’ll ask yourself, is there anything he cannot do?
With the addition of Eifert in the passing game, and high expectations for Gresham, Sanu and Marvin Jones, one would think that with all this offensive firepower, A.J. Green might get lost in the shuffle. This could not be more wrong. Green is intent on improvement and he is definitely more focused on the few passes he dropped than the 97 he held onto. Look for these pieces to take the pressure away from Green and create more one on one match-ups. Green is the kind of receiver who is most definitely open in a one on one coverage scheme.
A.J. Green has by far been the most consistent player on the Bengals since 2011. Drafted 4th overall, he has lived up to and exceeded any and every expectation set, and look for more of the same in 2013. Green should be able to eclipse 100 catches, exceed over 1500 yards and catch at least 13 touchdowns this coming season. The Bengals will have a few important decisions to make following the 2014 season as who to sign and who to possibly let go. A.J. Green will hopefully not even make it that far, and the Bengals can sign him to a long-term deal, making him and his unstoppable hands a Bengal for life.