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How will A.J. Green and John Ross compare to Bengals’ all-time wide receiver tandems

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Who are the best wide receiver tandems in Bengals’ history, and how will A.J. Green and John Ross compare?

Minnesota Vikings v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In the past five decades of Bengals’ history, there have been multiple pairings of wide receivers who have led the offensive passing attack. Based on the recent selection of John Ross with the ninth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, one can readily assume the Bengals will give A.J. Green and Ross every opportunity to form the next great wide receiver duo. We look back at the other receiver tandems and ponder how Green and Ross would compare.

Isaac Curtis & Charlie Joiner (mid 1970’s)

Curtis was a constant presence in the Bengals’ receiving corps from 1973 to 1984, averaging just under 600 yards per season in Cincinnati, with a high mark of 934 yards in 1975. Joiner ultimately entered the NFL Hall of Fame, after a lengthy career. Most of his production came as a member of the San Diego Chargers after his three year stint with the Bengals. In his brief time in Cincinnati, Joiner’s top season was in 1975 when he had 726 receiving yards.

Cris Collinsworth & Isaac Curtis (early 1980’s)

The aforementioned Curtis played his final four seasons with Collinsworth. In the first three of these four seasons, Collinsworth earned three Pro Bowl trips. When Curtis was healthy, the duo averaged a combined total of 106 receptions for 1,660 yards and nine touchdowns. Collinsworth and Curtis were the top receivers for the 1981 Super Bowl season.

Cris Collinsworth & Eddie Brown (mid 1980’s)

Collinsworth had a pair of 1,000 receiving yard seasons in 1985 and 1986 playing with a young Eddie Brown, who contributed over 900 yards of his own during those seasons. In 1985 the duo set a Bengals’ record as the first pair of wide receivers to total over 2,000 yards receiving (Collinsworth had 1,125 and Brown had 942). In 1986 they fell just short of that mark with 1,988 total receiving yards between the two of them.

Tim McGee & Eddie Brown (late 1980’s)

From 1986 to 1991 McGee and Brown were teammates on the Bengals, with the highlight coming during the team’s 1988 Super Bowl season. The duo compiled 1,959 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns on only 89 total receptions (an average of over 22 yards per catch). Brown received a Pro Bowl nod for his 1,273 yard effort that season. In the following season, 1989, the pair of receiviers combined for 2,025 receiving yards as only the second set to accomplish this feat in the Bengals’ two decades’ old history. In their last four seasons together, they averaged almost 1,800 combined receiving yards, and their 1991 season, when each reached the 800 yard mark, was a productive end to their time together.

Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp

Carl Pickens & Darnay Scott (mid-late 1990’s)

Despite the team’s inability to win games in the 1990’s, both Pickens and Scott provided a few of the lone bright spots during an otherwise bleak period in the Bengals’ history. Their careers overlapped in Cincinnati from 1994 to 1999, with the first three of these being the most prolific. From 1994 to 1996 they two of them totaled an average of over 2,000 yards and 16 ~ 22 touchdowns, with Pickens scoring double-digit touchdowns in each of those three seasons. Pickens also made the Pro Bowl in 1995 and 1996, with an average of 1,200 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns per season in those Pro Bowl years.

Chad Johnson & T.J. Houshmandzadeh (mid-late 2000’s)

After the Pickens & Scott pairing came to an end in 1999, another great pairing emerged a few years later, with both Johnson and Houshmandzadeh being drafted out of Oregon State by the Bengals in the 2001 NFL Draft. For eight seasons, this set of former Beavers developed into the most prolific duo in team history. From 2004 to 2007, they combined for over 2,250 receiving yards, with the climax of that peaking in 2006 and 2007 when they became the only pair of wide receivers to each reach the 1,000 yard mark. In 2006 they totaled 2,450 yards (1,369 for Johnson and 1,081 for Houshmandzadeh) and in 2007 they totaled 2,583 yards (1,440 for Johnson and 1,143 for Houshmandzadeh). That 2007 season was Houshmandzadeh’s lone Pro Bowl, while Johnson earned six Pro Bowl appearances, plus a pair of first team All-Pro selections. Johnson set many team records for receiving production, while Houshmandzadeh averaged about 1,000 receiving yards from 2004 to 2007.

Cincinnati Bengals v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Terrell Owens & Chad Johnson (2010)

This pairing only lasted one season together, but involves a pair of of receivers who both have Hall of Fame credentials. The duo compiled seven All-Pro selections and a dozen Pro-Bowl appearances. Unfortunately 2010 was a far cry from those accolades. Neither receiver reached 1,000 yards in what was Johnson’s last season in Cincinnati, and Owens’ last in the NFL. If you are rating based on their contribution to the Bengals, this pairing doesn’t quite stack up, but if you rate the pairings by their career production, it’s difficult to top this one.

A.J. Green & Marvin Jones (early-mid 2010’s)

Green has been a six time Pro Bowl selection, since his rookie season of 2011 until this past season of 2016. During that span he set various franchise and NFL records for production to begin a career. His average production of 80 catches for 1,189 yards and eight touchdowns is quite impressive. In two of those six seasons, Green teamed up with Jones to form a proficient pair of receivers. Jones wasn’t used much in his first season, and missed his third season due to injury, but in 2013 and 2015, the two receivers topped 2,100 total receiving yards. Their best season was in 2013 when they also both scored double digit touchdowns.

A.J. Green & John Ross (late 2010’s)

Green is an elite wide receiver, but with Jones now in Detroit, the question arises if anybody will pick up the mantle as the second part of a proficient wide receiver tandem. The Bengals just drafted Ross with a top 10 pick, hoping he will become just that weapon. Rating Green and Ross is clearly based on projections, and not on anything they have accomplished as of yet, and assumes several things, one of them being that Ross, a top 10 pick, can separate himself from Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd, to establish himself as the No. 2 receiver in the pecking order behind Green. With Green rightfully drawing the defense’s attention, Ross could be in line for big numbers as a deep threat in single-coverage. It’s likely he could top the 576 yard average that Jones reached in his three healthy years with Dalton at quarterback - especially with Dalton’s deep ball accuracy being better than it was early in his career. Could Green and Ross set the new standard for the top duo in Bengals’ history, or will they remain entrenched behind another pair?

Poll

Which wide receiver tandem was the best in Bengals’ history?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Isaac Curtis & Charlie Joiner (mid 1970’s)
    (31 votes)
  • 9%
    Cris Collinsworth & Isaac Curtis (early 1980’s)
    (73 votes)
  • 4%
    Cris Collinsworth & Eddie Brown (mid 1980’s)
    (32 votes)
  • 3%
    Tim McGee & Eddie Brown (late 1980’s)
    (26 votes)
  • 4%
    Carl Pickens & Darnay Scott (mid-late 1990’s)
    (36 votes)
  • 64%
    Chad Johnson & T.J. Houshmanzadeh (mid-late 2000’s)
    (511 votes)
  • 1%
    Terrell Owens & Chad Johnson (2010)
    (12 votes)
  • 8%
    A.J. Green & Marvin Jones (early-mid 2010’s)
    (69 votes)
790 votes total Vote Now