Jun 11, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green catches a pass during minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
You’d be hard-pressed to find any NFL player who doesn’t consider AJ Green one of the games’ elite receivers, but that doesn’t mean he believes he’s reached that point yet. In an interview with CBS Sports, Green talked about what makes a receiver elite, and claimed that he hasn’t accomplished that yet:
"“No,” said Green, “I’m not there yet. This is only my third year, and I have a lot more learning to do. The biggest thing at this position is consistency — to keep getting better each year and don’t regress — and that’s my goal. I’ve been in the league two years so I still have a lot of time. When I get to Year Six, maybe then I can say I’m one of those receivers.”"
In a separate interview with ABC News 4, Green further explained what he’s doing in order to reach the next level in 2013:
"“Going into my third year, I know the offense. I can play and be free and not worry about things. The goal, keep progressing, getting better each year. The biggest thing, hoping to get some wins and get over the hump for that one playoff game,” he said."
It came as a bit of a surprise when it was announced that HBO’s Hard Knocks will feature the Cincinnati Bengals this year, and Sean O’Donnell of Pro Football Central believes that the added pressure from having the cameras on them frequently will help them in the long-run:
"There is a concept called context-dependent memory which enables the human mind to recall things easier when it is learning in the same environment as it is applied. Therefore, if the players are learning their schemes with the added pressure of cameras around, they may be more likely to duplicate their success in a game-day environment.Let’s not forget, the last time the Bengals were featured on Hard Knocks, they went 10-6, winning the AFC North."
It’s a great theory, and hopefully one that holds true. Having every practice viewed by millions of people will give the Bengals a sense of what it’s like to play in the prime-time games that they have struggled in over the past three seasons. Instead of running from the fear of the spotlight, the Bengals are meeting it head-on, and that’s the mentality of a champion.