The Cincinnati Bengals began the first part of their OTA programs on Tuesday and second-year wide receiver John Ross has continued to impress.
The Cincinnati Bengals drafted Washington wide receiver John Ross at ninth overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, injuries kept him off of the field almost his entire rookie season. Given the one time he was handed the ball he fumbled, fans have a bad taste in their mouth when talking about Ross. Could he turn that around in 2018?
Ross has been one of the centerpieces of attention this offseason. He’s earned praises from players like wide receiver A.J. Green who talked about how impressed he was with how hard Ross has been working this offseason and saying that he looks explosive and confident in camp. Former Bengals receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh has spoken about Ross‘ abilities and has worked hard to get him ready for the 2018 season.
The pressure was a big factor for Ross last season but he continues to put that behind him and do everything he can to improve and show Cincinnati why they made the right decision taking him in the top ten just a year ago. Ross has continued the hard work and receiving of praise after the first day of OTA’s on Tuesday. Catching passes from starting quarterback Andy Dalton and backup quarterback Matt Barkley, coaches were impressed with what they were seeing from Ross. Here’s what wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell had to say:
“He had a bunch of good plays today, and he had a couple of stupid plays, so that’s what is going to happen,” said Bob Bicknell, who is in his first year as Bengals wide receivers coach. “I’m glad he does. I’d be upset if we weren’t doing some stupid things right now so you go in and coach it up.”
Making catches in tight windows and deep down the sidelines, there are plenty of reasons to start getting excited about how Ross looks so far. Not able to participate much in camp last year, Ross never really had a chance to show what he can do. He is taking every opportunity this offseason to prove it.
Head coach Marvin Lewis spoke about the difference he has already seen from Ross this offseason as well. Due to injuries, Ross was never able to work in weight training so he looks bigger. Coming into camp last season his weight fluctuated from 185-188, but this season is moving between 190-196. Getting back into the weight room and into shape will only help Ross as he looks to take the league by storm in 2018.
“I’m a lot stronger,” he added. “I can do everything in the weight room. My legs have gotten stronger. I’m back lifting with everyone. I started college real small and wasn’t able to lift and then I got to lift and I felt better, I felt better as a player. Now I’m back to where I was when I was in college my senior year, as far as how physically ready I felt in college. I feel the same way now.
I’m really excited to see Ross’ abilities translate to the football field come September. I think he’s made strides this offseason and will be hard for defenses to cover in 2018. With his abilities and with how much coaches are praising him this early into workouts, I fully expect him to be the number two receiver across from Green. It should be a good year for the offense.