If Bengals QB Andy Dalton has the kind of year that OC Hue Jackson envisions, it’s because he’ll be a point guard executing some pretty exotic stuff. After his first season was marred by injuries to both starting wide receivers and a starting tight end, Jackson is itching to unload some Xs and Os.
“We're going to open Pandora's box more,” Jackson said. “We tickled it a little bit last year. We're going to open it up a little bit more this year and be who I think we can be…But I tell you what, the defenses are so good, the defensive players are so good and they disguise all the time, why can't we? It's a chess match, and whoever is not afraid to pull the trigger, pull the trigger. And I'm not afraid, so let's go.”
“I tell people all the time -- close, personal friends of mine -- that was probably my best coaching job. To not have A.J. Green. To not have Tyler Eifert. To not have a healthy Jermaine Gresham to start the season. You lose Kevin Zeitler for a couple games,” Jackson said. “We mixed and matched pretty well last year. Not to the best of what we could have been, but we did a decent job. Obviously a healthy Cincinnati Bengal offensive football team has a chance to be very dynamic….If we can stay healthy, some of those hardened times can turn into some good times.”
Jackson went run-heavy in 2014, which is typical of his style, but we shouldn't ignore the possibility that a healthy A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and Tyler Eifert could lead to the Bengals taking a more balanced approach in 2015. They were the 5th-most run-heavy team last season after finishing middle-of-the-pack in that category under then-OC Jay Gruden the year before. If Jackson does in fact call more pass plays, it can only help Dalton's fantasy prospects.
Monday, July 27, 2015, 9:35am
Based on recent conversations with those inside the Bengals organization, one fact rings true: The Bengals really like WR A.J. Green. They want him to stay in stripes for a very long time, and they believe he will ultimately do that.
None of that should come as a surprise. After all, Green has been to the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons. In those same seasons, he has been one of two NFL receivers to end each year with 1,000 yards receiving and five touchdowns, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The other is Calvin Johnson, the league's highest-paid wide out.
What we do know, the story went on to say, is that Green isn't too concerned about the immediacy of his new deal. Earlier this month, during his football camp for kids around Cincinnati, he said he had no problem waiting until after this season to talk to the team about locking him up long term. Those comments came about a week before Bryant and Thomas got their deals that helped set the market for top-end receiver value. This past weekend, Green echoed his previous sentiments to one of his home state television stations, but he added that he knows his "time is coming." At least the way things stand now, it looks like this won't be too messy of a situation when the time comes to get a deal done and Green will remain a Bengal.
Saturday, June 27, 2015, 11:02am
Harvey: First, I must say, the "if" is a big qualifier. Obviously, every team comes into each new season believing "if" it can stay healthy it has a chance to truly be great. In Cincinnati's case, I really do believe that some measure of greatness can be achieved assuming at least near-complete health this season.
Injuries derailed many of the Bengals' hopes in 2014, with receivers A.J. Green and Marvin Jones, tight ends Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham, offensive linemen Andre Smith and Kevin Zeitler, and running back Giovani Bernard missing significant chunks of the season. Had the Bengals been able to get a couple games back where those players weren't injured, they might have won an extra regular-season game, and perhaps they would have had a better shot in the playoff game at Indianapolis. Because of the qualifier "if," it's hard to guess about the unknown. But here's the thing: On paper, the Bengals are poised to be every bit as good as the 2013 team. That year's offense ranked 10th. Last year's was 15th. The Bengals certainly will be more improved this season.
It's also year two under offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, which should help. Jeremy Hill has emerged as a bell cow rusher and the team expects to have healthy weapons in the passing game. The story added the team better understands how to rotate Hill and Bernard at RB. Where the 2013 and 2015 offenses will differ is in the way that they play. Two years ago, Cincinnati had a pass-heavy system that put a lot of pressure on quarterback Andy Dalton's shoulders. This season, the Bengals will use Hill and Bernard to pace the offense.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Bengals coaches are as confident in Marvin Jones' health and style of play as you've undoubtedly read in recent days. Receivers coach James Urban is among the most impressed. He told me a couple days ago that this spring was "baptism by fire" as it pertained to Jones. It was all about getting the rust off the wide out by putting him through every scenario he should face this season. Urban was pleased with what he saw, as was Jones. He was quick and crisp in his routes and started sharpening his timing with quarterback Andy Dalton by the end of the minicamp that concluded Thursday.
Health-wise, Jones told me Thursday he has no lingering effects of the foot and ankle injuries that held him out all of last season. He feels perfectly fine and made it through the practices without any issues. I think it's safe to say Jones is back.
Jones was one of our favorite sleepers last summer, but his season was derailed by an ankle injury. His 51 catches for 712 yards and 10 touchdowns resulted in the 3rd-highest FP/T in 2013. He’s poised to surprise if he can prove he’s fully healthy and win the starting job opposite A.J. Green. Mohamed Sanu played pretty well last season but he struggled with drops, and Jones was ahead of Sanu when disaster struck. Both players are free agents after the season, so this is one of the more interesting camp battles to monitor this summer. One thing to note: Sanu only saw an average of 5.2 targets in the 12 games in which Green played, so Cincinnati’s WR2 it wasn’t a high-volume role in OC Hue Jackson’s run-oriented offense. That could change if Jones wins the job, but it’s something to keep in mind.
A quick canvas of the league revealed 10 No. 1-caliber receivers: Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, Alshon Jeffrey, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, DeMaryius Thomas, Jordy Nelson, T.Y. Hilton, Odell Beckham and Antonio Brown.
Robinson, the Jaguars’ second-year receiver, is below that level, but on this team at this moment, he’s the best.
Robinson averaged 5.2 catches for 61 yards and 0.22 TD from Week 2 to Week 10, which extrapolates to an 84-974-3.6 over the course of a full 16-game season. He posted fringe WR2-type numbers before suffering a stress fracture in his foot. The Jacksonville receiving corps should feature Robinson, Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns. If QB Blake Bortles can progress, this could be a dangerous passing game, and Robinson would be the primary beneficiary.
Moore caught 33 passes for 618 yards and five touchdowns while also running for one score that season and he followed that up with seven more touchdown catches the next year. He continued to play a prominent role in the offense in 2013, but drifted into an insignificant role with Oakland last season.
Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson was the head coach in Oakland when Moore was a rookie during the 2011 season. The problem for Moore's fantasy potential is he'll be behind A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones and the recently re-signed Brandon Tate, at least heading into OTAs and camp.
“I’ve got the green light to do anything and everything I need to do to get back to where I need to be,” Bengals WR Marvin Jones texted Thursday after another workout. “I’ve been surprised at the progress I’ve made in only going on my second week training and at the rate I’m going I’m sure I will be in game shape very soon.”
Jones was one of our favorite sleepers heading into the season, but ankle and foot injuries made it a "lost year" for the talented wideout. Mohamed Sanu stepped in and shined as the team's WR2 opposite A.J. Green. If Jones and TE Tyler Eifert make a full recovery, Andy Dalton will have a nice group of receivers to target in 2015.
Friday, January 2, 2015, 5:04pm
Bengals WR A.J. Green (concussion, doubtful) missed practice Friday after taking limited reps Thursday and is doubtful for Week 18. With Green doubtful, look for Mohamed Sanu to have a solid game against Indianapolis. He averaged 5.0-93-.60 in the five games Green missed (or was very limited) this season. He didn’t do much (3-54 on nine targets) against Indianapolis in Week 7, however.
Friday, January 2, 2015, 5:04pm
Bengals TE Jermaine Gresham (back, questionable) returned to take limited reps Friday after missing practice earlier in the week and is questionable for Week 18. The Bengals may have to lean on Gresham with A.J. Green likely out. He’s not a safe start in daily due to the questionable tag, however.
It's not a good sign that Green isn't practicing today, though (for what it's worth) beat writer Coley Harvey said that he thinks he'll be cleared by Sunday. If Green can't play, then Mohamed Sanu should be a nice start. He averaged 5.5 catches for 96 yards and 0.5 TD in the four games that Green missed this season. He also posted a 3-84-1 in a game against Atlanta in which Green only played 7 percent of the snaps.
Bengals Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green returned to practice Thursday morning in a limited capacity, but he remains under concussion protocol.
According to a Bengals official, Green still has to see a neuropsychologist and an independent neurologist before Sunday afternoon's wild-card-round playoff game at Indianapolis. Once he clears evaluations from both, he'll move beyond the protocol and will be allowed to play.
He will see the neuropsychologist Friday and the neurologist Saturday.
It sounds as if Green is on track to play, though he still has a few hurdles to clear.
Bengals A.J. Green has entered the league's concussion protocol, per ESPN's Coley Harvey and Paul Dehner of The Cincinnati Enquirer, after sustaining a blow to the head from Steelers safety Mike Mitchell late in the fourth quarter of the Bengals' 27-17 loss.
The hit came less than a second after Green hauled in a 17-yard pass and was wrestled down toward the ground by Antwon Blake, forcing a fumble. The result was a pivotal recovery by the Steelers, ending the Bengals' drive.
The blow to the head prematurely ended Green's night, in which the receiver caught six passes for 67 yards over his final two drives after a sluggish start. His status for Sunday's Wild Card game against the Indianapolis Colts is in jeopardy, depending upon his progression during the week. Mohamed Sanu would move back to the WR1 role but he had just one catch for 16 yards in Week 17. Giovani Bernard had a 7-56-1 receiving line in Week 17 and will likely continue to be a major factor in the passing game while Jeremy Hill gets the carries.
Friday, December 26, 2014, 6:53pm
Bengals WR A.J. Green (biceps, probable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is probable for Week 17. The probable tag means that Green will be able to play against the Steelers. He was limited against Denver on Monday Night Football after injuring his arm.
As we always like to point out, it's tough to trust a player when he says he's going to play. But it's at least a bit of good news if you need Green Week 17. Cameras caught Green grimacing multiple times as trainers tried to work on his arm on the sideline. At one point, he even went into the locker room for X-rays. Green said the tests were negative.
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