The Cincinnati Bengals have kicked off mandatory minicamps for 2019, and while there are a bunch of new faces on this year’s squad, the return of some old faithfuls have been a sight for sore eyes.
One of those needed returns came in the form of A.J. Green, who did on-field route work for the first time since late last season. Green had surgery on a damaged toe ligament towards the end of 2018, but has seemingly bounced back nicely in his recovery.
Also bringing smiles to Who Dey faithful was in Green’s recent proclamation that he’d like to stay in Cincinnati for the long-term. His contract expires after this season, but he has liked what he has seen in the new Zac Taylor regime to want to stay in The Queen City for what would seemingly be the rest of his career.
Still, even though he has looked great in very limited work this summer, one may have to pause about Green’s 2019 outlook. Even though he’s had a Hall of Fame caliber career, there are a few reasons to be skeptical that we’ll see the great players we’ve seen for the vast majority of No. 18’s career.
On the flip side, we could be staring at the greatest season yet from Green. A number of factors, ranging from his mindset to plays conducive to his skills could yield big results. John Sheeran and I discussed Green’s 2019 outlook on this week’s Orange and Black Insider podcast.
The pros and cons
New offensive system: Taylor was part of a system under Sean McVay that produced two receivers with at least 80 catches and 1,200-plus yards. Given Green’s career statistics, these types of stats lines are right up his alley. And, with what should be a more innovative scheme, Green should see a number of big play opportunities.
Conversely, however, the system will also be attempting to spread the ball around. Tyler Boyd is trying to pave his own way to stardom, while John Ross is looking to take another big step as a pro. And, if Tyler Eifert can actually stay healthy, that’s more potential targets away from Green.
Age and injuries: In two of the last three seasons, Green ended up on Injured Reserve. Unfortunately, in those two seasons (2016 and 2018), he was on pace for a couple of his best statistical years.
Of course, the two season-ending injuries were more of bad luck nature than his being “injury-prone”, but as Green approaches 31 years of age, doubts on longevity creep into the mind. Were the hamstring and toe issues just freak incidents, or are they initial signs of a body breaking down from years in the sport?
Potential uncertainty at quarterback: Really, this argument mostly centers around Dalton’s own missing of the end of seasons in two of the last four years. With two freak thumb injuries in 2015 and 2018, Dalton missed time and if that continues, it could hurt Green’s production.
The “Taylor system” facet also plays into this here. Common sense tells us that Dalton could be in for one of his best professional seasons this year, but there is also the small chance of growing pains and immense outside pressure while in Taylor’s new scheme.
Chip on his shoulder: In case you didn’t know, Green is a competitive guy. While he’s always been low-key, he’s shown the occasional emotional moment on the field (Jalen Ramsey, anyone?).
We’re pretty sure Green has fought of his own internal demons chirping about these injuries and his age, so he’ll want to prove people wrong. Given his track record, his path to redemption, so to speak, should be readily available.
A contract year: As mentioned above, Green’s future with the club is up in the air at the moment. Most folks believe the Bengals will give him a new deal to remain with the club, but stranger things have happened.
Regardless, we’ve seen players with much less talent than Green raise their play with a big, new payday potentially on the horizon. Green could do the same, and that aforementioned chip on his shoulder could grow even larger if Cincinnati low-balls him this summer.
What should we expect from A.J. Green this year, in terms of statistical output?
This poll is closed
More of the same greatness
A decline because of multiple factors
His greatest year yet!
Also on this week’s show:
- What’s going on with Jonah Williams? Is it serious?
- Cincinnati is shuffling the looks of the offensive line in mandatory minicamps and new acquisition John Jerry is in the mix.
- Is it reason to worry that things are so unsettled on the offensive line, or is it early enough in the process? Might it be a good sign that they are still looking for the right formula?
- The Raiders are going to be featured on this year’s “Hard Knocks” documentary. How will characters like Vontaze Burfict and Antonio Brown be portrayed?
- Do you buy into the distraction stance and it potentially spoiling the schemes of teams on the documentary?
Our thanks to all of our live listeners, as well as to the subscribers to our show! Be sure to join us for Thursday’s Q & A session and submit yours to us!
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