A.J. Green discusses down year and improving in 2018

(Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images) /

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green knows he had a down year in 2017 and discussed with the Cincinnati Enquirer how he plans to rebound.

There are not many wide receivers in the league that would call 75 catches for 1,078 yards and 8 touchdowns a down year but Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green does. He looks back at the 2017 season as a step backward and wants to get back to being himself in 2018. Seeing a drop in yards per catch and having several dropped balls last season, Green says he just wasn’t himself.

There were plenty of things that went wrong with the Bengals offense in 2017 with their putrid last place in yards per game, but Green was still the spotlight. Even with his missed opportunities like dropped passes and not being himself, he was still about the only piece that did get something going last year. Either way, we should expect a better Green in 2018.

Head coach Marvin Lewis discussed the drop in big plays with Green’s six plays of 25 yards or more last season. The entire offense should look different and more aggressive in 2018 as they try and get back on track. The offensive line still needs major improvements for some of the playmakers to have time to make those big plays. Green took responsibility for his part in the bad offense last year though.

"“Just trying to do too much, not letting the game come to me,” Green said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I was thinking too much. Thinking I have to make every play to get the offense going. Not being myself and just going out there and having fun like I usually do. … Seasons like that you have to change and grow. I felt this was definitely one to help me grow more as a person and channel my emotions a little bit better.”"

Giving offensive coordinator Bill Lazor a full offseason to develop his own stamp on the playbook should be something to watch in this year’s offense. Green will also be working with new wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell. The biggest part will be the return of tight end Tyler Eifert if he can manage to stay healthy this season.

Eifert is a big weapon in the middle that is not only a safety blanket for quarterback Andy Dalton but also takes pressure off of Green. Having another huge threat allows for less double team’s and stacking over Green from the secondary. Then there is wide receiver John Ross who is coming in fully healthy for the first time and looking to prove himself to be worth the ninth overall pick last season.

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If Cincinnati can not only get some protection for Dalton to have time in the pocket but also get other big-time playmakers on the field it will significantly give Green less pressure. Not putting all of the pressure on him considering he’s what the entire offense ran around last season. There’s nothing better than a player playing with something to prove and we could see that from Green in 2018.