In just his third season in the NFL, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green has undoubtedly established himself among the league’s best players at the position and possibly among the best overall players in the league as well.
Through ten games for the Bengals this year, Green has 65 catches on 119 targets for an NFL-leading 1,013 yards and six touchdowns. What makes Green dangerous is his ability to use his size and smarts to be a possession receiver, but also have the ability to break open big plays and to be a big, dominant threat when Cincinnati gets into the red-zone.
If you were to deny Green’s talent and ability to make plays, you would simply be a fool. However, it would be far less foolish to doubt what he’s going to be able to do against the Cleveland Browns and their shutdown cornerback, Joe Haden.
When these two teams faced off, Green was targeted 15 times, not surprisingly the highest number on the Bengals by far. However, the star wide-out caught just seven of those passes for only 51 yards and failed to get into the end-zone. The biggest takeaway, though, was how Haden was able to remove the big play from Green’s repertoire in the game.
After that game and coming into this week, Haden has talked about how important is to not give Green any room behind him because that’s when corners get burned by the Bengals star. Haden is one of the few players in this league that have the ability to do just that to Green. Subsequently, I’m not sure you can expect many big plays from Green on Sunday, which could be a blow to Bengals offense and could wind up putting them in a close game against their in-state rivals.