The Bengals have some very talented players on their roster. Guys like defensive tackle Geno Atkins and wide receiver A.J. Green are obviously the best players on each side of the ball. They are also considered two of the top guys at their respective positions. Narrowing down which is more valuable to the Bengals next season isn’t an easy task.
However, Dan Hanzus of NFL.com did just that, choosing Green as the Bengals’ most valuable player,
Green is an excellent bounce-back candidate coming off a disappointing-by-his-standards 75/1,078/8 line in 2017. The Bengals could have done more to add another weapon or two around their All-Pro wideout (the decision to let both Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu depart after 2015 remains puzzling, in retrospect), but the upside is, Green will continue to be Andy Dalton’s best friend. Two outside factors that could help Green get back to All-Pro status: 1) Tight end Tyler Eifert returns after another season lost to injury. Then there’s wide receiver John Ross, last year’s first-round pick, who will try to wipe away all traces of a nightmarish rookie season. No matter what happens, Green will continue to be the centerpiece.
Green has been Mr. Dependable since being drafted by the Bengals in 2011. The only season he didn’t record more than 1,000 receiving yards was in 2016 when an injury caused him to miss some time.
Considering how much turnover we have seen on the offensive side of the ball over the years, it is hard to ignore how steady Green has been. Whether it was the team letting Jones and Sanu walk in free agency, or constantly dealing with life without Eifert, Green has kept this offense afloat. Can you imagine the struggles the Bengals’ offense would have if Green wasn’t out there taking a good chunk of the focus away from the rest of the skill players? We could be talking about the Browns’ level of offense. Especially with the offensive line last season. I mean, the Bengals’ run game ranked 31st in the NFL last year.
The Bengals have been frantically trying to find a receiver who can start opposite Green, or at least take some pressure off their Pro Bowl receiver. They spent the ninth overall pick in the 2017 draft on John Ross and a fourth round pick that same season on Josh Malone. A second round pick in 2016 brought in Tyler Boyd as well.
Despite all that, the Bengals have still failed to have anyone put up any numbers that would look threatening next to Green. That is a big reason for the offense’s struggles. However, the fact that Green has still been able to put up good numbers despite being the focal point of opposing defenses every week is very telling of his talent. It is also hard to deny the value a receiver like that has to an offense.
It will be interesting to see what Green can do with a hopefully healthy Eifert as well as a hopefully more healthy and better prepared Ross in 2018.
Do you agree that Green is the Bengals’ most valuable player?