It isn’t that outlandish to say that missing A.J. Green for what was nearly a season and a half wrecked the Bengals’ offense. He is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL when healthy, and when he wasn’t out there it forced more guys to step up then were ready to do so.
His return to the offense is among an entirely different feeling. Rookie like quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receiver Tee Higgins have looked like injections of exactly what this offense was missing. Tyler Boyd has established himself as a legitimate target, and John Ross (someone who has has barely shared the field with due to both of their injuries over the past two seasons) is healthy. It reminds Green of one of the best seasons during his time in Cincinnati.
“Sky’s the limit,” Green told James Rapien of Sports Illustrated. “I feel like we, as a team, have a lot of weapons. I think this is the most loaded the receiver room has been since 2015 with John (Ross), TB (Tyler Boyd), Tee (Higgins and Alex (Erickson) and all these young guys. We’ve got a stacked room and the backfield with Joe (Mixon) and Gio (Bernard), we’ve got a stacked offense. We just need everybody to stay healthy and when we get this thing moving, the sky’s the limit for us.”
This offense certainly has all the necessary weapons to attack opposing defenses in a multitude of ways. There is no lack of talent at the skill positions for the Bengals in 2020. The problem comes when injuries start to play a part, which has unfortunately been an all too common occurrence over the past few seasons. If they can turn things around in that regard, it should be a pretty fun season.
This season will come down to two things for the offense as far as things that they can control. The offensive line has to show some pretty significant improvement beyond the insertion of Jonah Williams into the lineup. It will also depend on how well Burrow is able to adapt to the NFL. That is something that Green doesn’t think will be a problem for long.
“Joe, he’s going to be great for the next 15 years,” Green said. “It’s just getting that rhythm. We’re always talking after [practice], even before I got hurt. ‘I need to put the ball there or how do you like this ball or how do you like this route.’ So it’s always constant communication. Joe is going to be a great one.”
There have already been countless Bengals players to talk about how confident they are in Burrow already. However, Green’s opinion probably holds the most weight out of anyone at this point. He is restarting with a rookie quarterback while he is already in his 30’s. If Green wants to get to where he has expected to for most of his career, he’s have to have a pretty strong belief in whoever Cincinnati brought in, and that appears to be the case.
The last thing now is for Green to get some real time in practice with his new quarterback. An early minor injury held him out for a few days during camp, and unfortunately this offseason has been drastically different than any other with the lack of a preseason. It appears this offense will have to learn to mesh together during the regular season. The future seems to be bright according to one of the best Bengals to ever do it, though.