More details on John Ross’ rookie season were revealed this morning, and they explain some of the confusion from yesterday when Marvin Lewis claimed he was optimistic that Ross would play this week, and then hours later, Ross was placed on Injured Reserve.
Apparently the rookie had been hiding a new shoulder injury in hopes of playing through it.
Asked Marvin Lewis about rookie WR John Ross shoulder on @SiriusXMNFL & he said it's the "other shoulder" and that Ross had been concealing injury hoping to play before finally "coming clean" with team.— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) December 7, 2017
Obviously it is disappointing Ross’ season will come to an end this way. He has faught injuries since being drafted by the Bengals. A shoulder injury held him out of training camp and he didn’t make his debut until the third preseason game. He then suffered a knee injury in the last preseason game, which held him out of Week 1. Ross played in Week 2, but really he was sat after fumbling the ball away on his first NFL touch. He then sat out to try and fully heal from that knee injury. Ross played a few snaps against the Colts and Jaguars during Weeks 8 and 9, but after a miscommunication with Andy Dalton against Jacksonville he was benched again. He has been a healthy scratch for each game since.
This week’s game against the Bears was seemingly going to be when we finally got to see Ross in action with the season slowly slipping away, but the receiver’s injury was finally revealed on Wednesday as he didn’t practice and then was placed on IR. This, however, isn’t that uncommon of a practice as Ross Tucker notes of players with an injury-prone label.
BTW, based on reaction seems people don't realize this isn't that unusual. Young guy w/ "injury prone" label trying to fight thru injury & prove himself.— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) December 7, 2017
Now we don’t necessarily know when he suffered this new shoulder injury, but it doesn’t seem like it would be common to hide an injury that would place you on IR for long. If it didn’t happen at practice though, then it would’ve at least happened in Week 9, so that would’ve been a long time to hide this. The injury is serious enough that it’s going to require surgery, which will reportedly occur next week.
It really is quite poetic for this to happen during this infamous season. Fans came in with such an enthusiasm for this year’s Bengals, and Ross was a big part of that. I remember just envisioning how open Ross could get in single coverage all day. Now, that enthusiasm is a thing of the past for this season. Like so many other things we were optimistic about with the Bengals, nothing ever materialized.
Ross will finish his rookie season with one carry for 12 yards and a lost fumble.
Still, I wouldn’t throw the bust label on Ross yet. It is clear this coaching staff hasn’t gotten the best out of their players, so the notion that a new coach could get Ross going isn’t so far fetched. The injuries are concerning, but hopefully Ross has learned from this experience and will be both a better player and person for it.
Next season could be so much different from this year. For Ross, we will have to hope that is the case. He could be the key to this offense getting back to a respectable form. There is talent all over the Bengals’ roster, but if Ross can’t live up to that ninth overall status then the Bengals could be in real trouble going forward.