The Cincinnati Bengals are being dismissed by seemingly every major media outlet. Now, their superstar receiver A.J. Green is no longer even considered a superstar. Replacing him is Steelers young stud and archrival JuJu Smith-Schuster.
This substitution was made by NFL.com writer Dan Hanzus.
Here’s what Hanzus had to say about the 30-year-old 7-time Pro Bowler.
“I hate including Green here. He’s been a consummate professional during his eight seasons with the Bengals, a quiet warrior who carries the Cincinnati offense when healthy. Problem is the ‘healthy’ part has officially become an issue for Green, who missed seven games last year, six in 2016 and three more in 2013. His last healthy season -- a 16-game campaign in 2017 -- resulted in good but not elite production (75/1,078/8). Entering Green’s age-31 season, is it fair to wonder if we’ve already seen the best of the franchise great? The glass-half-full spin: Offensive-minded new head coach Zac Taylor could goose a team and offense that had grown stagnant in the late period of the interminable Marvin Lewis era. If Taylor sparks the Bengals, Green will undoubtedly surge. But his body must be along for the ride.”
He doesn’t note Green’s play as the reason for his dismissal. It’s his health. Even Bengal fans can attest to the struggle that this team has seen with Green on the sideline. After a 4-1 start and a 5-4 record with Green last season, the Bengals finished the season just 6-10.
Green missed seven games last season and six in 2016. While he did put up his sixth 1,000-yard season in 2017, the aging former Bulldog must prove that he can get back to and stay on the field for the long haul.
Then, the addition of Smith-Schuster also seems like a solid move. The Steeler recorded 1.400-plus yards last year, exactly tying A.J. Green’s career high. However, Smith-Schuster did secure more all-purpose yards.
Although hated in Cincinnati, he’s earned the spot.
Smith-Schuster joins Michael Thomas, Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr., and Davante Adams as the league’s seven “superstar” receivers.