There is just three games left in the 2019 season and the Cincinnati Bengals are in full evaluation mode. Whether it’s in who to keep for 2020, or who they need to add for the future, this team is keeping its options open.
This Friday, we took the air for a Bengals mailbag episode of The Orange and Black Insider. John Sheeran and Anthony Cosenza answered a number of questions on the minds of Bengals fans as the first season of the Zac Taylor is coming to a close.
A question which has continually surfaced on our show, in some form or another, surrounds A.J. Green. There are a number of different stances on how both he and the team have handled the ankle injury heard ‘round the world and the truth is that there is at least some validity to the myriad of feelings about the situation.
Some believe he’s making a business decision in not risking further injury in what’s shaping up to be a historically-poor season for the Bengals, as he looks for his next contract. Others point the finger at No. 18 calling him a “quitter”, while even more fume about the perceived ineptitude continuing within the team’s medical staff.
On our show, we’ve made no bones about our stance on Green being a supposed “quitter”, in that we ardently believe that is not the case. Sure, if he was about 90 percent, in terms of health, and the team was, say, 8-5, he may be more inclined to push through the issue.
The fact of the matter is that none of us are in A.J. Green’s body and don’t know exactly where his ankle and/or mindset is at right now. The fluidity of the situation is frustrating, but we don’t know what we don’t know, as they say.
If we are going to attempt to connect dots, there is one route to examine which hasn’t been overly-talked about. It comes about with an equation formed by his anti-diva attitude, comments about wanting to stay in Cincinnati and his fire to win.
When asked about his possibility to play, Green has said that he’s not pressing it until he’s 100 percent. We’ve also recently talked about how Cincinnati’s patience in this process could pay dividends in the spring with future contract negotiations.
In the myriad of conspiracy theories one could come up with, in terms of Green’s dealing with his injury, one actual team-centered thought isn’t being talked about. Namely, Green not playing while not healthy is actually doing the team a solid.
On the surface, the notion sounds simply absurd. However, as in many crafts, if one’s mind and body aren’t 100 percent, necessary job output results don’t always live up to what is expected.
In this respect, at least part of Green’s mindset for not suiting up for the first 14 games of the season may reside in the fact that he feels his injury may actually be an on-field hindrance to the team. It sounds silly to think about the possibility of a potential Hall of Fame player hurting the team’s on-field chances, but there is a snowball effect at work here.
Take a look at Odell Beckham, Jr. in Cleveland. Apparently, the star wideout has been dealing with a hernia injury that has been questionably diagnosed and has ultimately led to a disappointing season by he and the team.
What has ensued is basically the worst statistical season of his career in which he has played most, if not a full season, as well as questions on his long-term viability. Because he isn’t fully healthy, he isn’t able to make the exciting plays Cleveland counted upon this year to make them a contender, while ascending Baker Mayfield to the elite level of NFL signal-callers.
His inability to cut, torque his body and make those plays that not many on planet Earth can elicit has resulted in a 6-7 season by the Browns. There are other issues, but this is something that has teemed under the surface.
Of course, 6-7 is much different than 1-12. However, Green’s mindset could be that if he isn’t able to do what is his norm and his ankle, which is a key cog to a receiver’s performance, isn’t holding up, he could actually be hurting the team if suiting up when hobbled.
A late/beleaguered cut on an out route could lead to a pick-six. The inability to high-point a ball at a critical point of the game, or even play a full 60 minutes is doing his team a disservice.
Maybe we’re painting Green in a more favorable light than some thinks he deserves with how this season has played out, but this is a guy who has given a lot to this franchise. And, frankly, there is more to this situation than one facet to factor into his and the team’s decision to not play.
Also on this week’s Listener Questions episode:
- Is it getting into dangerous territory to buy into the Joe Burrow hype machine?
- Janoris Jenkins was just released by the Giants—should Cincinnati pursue his services?
- Could the offensive line actually need less work next offseason than originally thought?
- How soon should the Bengals be planning for the heir apparent prospects for stalwart defensive linemen, Carlos Dunlap and/or Geno Atkins?
- The Bengals’ I.R. list is at an alarming size. Should fingers be pointed at the medical staff, the powers-that-be being too knee-jerk reactionary to injuries, or simple bad luck?
You can re-watch the recording the above-embedded YouTube video and Cincy Jungle’s Facebook feed. We also take questions for this episode via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Twitter (@BengalsOBI), or by calling/texting us at (949) 542-6241.
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