Bengals Need To Be Fueled By Green Energy

Posted by Dan Hoard on October 22, 2012 – 10:19 pm

If you look closely at A.J. Green’s college stats at Georgia, you’ll see that in addition to having 166 receptions and 23 touchdowns, he had one blocked kick.

“I was in charge of the field goal and extra point block team and all I wanted was to use A.J. one time,” said former Georgia assistant coach John Jancek, currently the defensive coordinator at the University of Cincinnati.  “So I battled to get him on the block team and sure enough, he blocked a kick to win a game against Arizona State.  It was the only time he ever tried it and he blocked it clean.  He was one for one.”

“We were down and needed a block and I just went up and blocked it,” Green told me.  “I have a picture of it in my house.”

Clearly, there aren’t many things that A.J. Green can’t do on a football field.  But one thing is impossible:  Catching the ball if the Bengals don’t throw it to him.

In Sunday night’s loss to the Steelers, Green finished with one reception for an 8-yard touchdown.  It marked the third time in his career that A.J. has finished with one catch (they have all been for touchdowns) and his eight receiving yards were a career-low.

“When you go back and look at the stats and see A.J. Green with one catch, it bothers you quite a bit,” said offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

Pittsburgh deserves most of the credit.  In addition to having cornerback Ike Taylor shadow Green on every play, Dick LeBeau gave Taylor linebacker help on short routes and safety help on deeper routes.

“They were buzzing safeties over the top or buzzing linebackers on some of the underneath stuff,” said Green.  “They did a great job – hats off to them.  Ike Taylor played a hell of a game.  He’s a great player and has been in the league for a long time.”

“They played a little bit more two-man than they have, but they’ve played it (before) so it wasn’t that big of a surprise,” said Gruden.

The extra attention from Pittsburgh’s defense did not have Green seeing red.  Unlike some other receivers in the Bengals recent past, A.J. did not throw a fit on the sideline when the ball was not coming his way.

“I feel like we had some good stuff drawn up, but the defense played well against me,” said Green.

“He can complain if he wants to,” said Gruden.  “I’m trying my hardest.  I want to get him the ball probably more than he wants it.”

The Steelers weren’t the first team to roll their coverage toward Green and they obviously won’t be the last.  The Bengals still have to get their best player the ball.

“There was a lot of concern about A.J. catching only one pass, and we have a concern that we didn’t get the ball to A.J. enough,” said head coach Marvin Lewis.  “We didn’t get the ball down the field and over the top.”

“We had some plays for him,” said Gruden.  “It’s not like he wasn’t part of any play.  Every time we call a pass play we know where A.J. is and what he’s doing and he’s a viable option.

“When it’s all said and done, you have to have some plays that feature him running fast and far and we didn’t have enough.”

The bottom line is that the Bengals have two weeks to figure out ways to get Green’s hands on the ball.  And blocking kicks is not what I have in mind.

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Posted in Heard It From Hoard | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Bengals Need To Be Fueled By Green Energy”

  1. By mwindle1973 on Oct 24, 2012 | Reply

    I think AJ is a lot like a young Randy Moss in the sense that if you have to you can throw a jump ball, and he’ll either grab it or prevent the int. There came a point when the other WRs weren’t picking up the slack, that we needed to throw AJ a couple jump balls and see what happened. I also think that if teams choose to play him that way, then line him up in the slot and let him run some flys and clear the underneath, for catch and runs. That’s what we used to do with Chris Henry. It essentially takes 3 guys to bracket a slot WR the same way you bracket an outside WR against the sideline with 2 guys. It may seem unconventional, but would’ve forced two things. Both wideouts are single covered. Also they have to choose to man up on the TE, or leave the RB uncovered and play a 3 man zone underneath. Either way, the point is no matter how we do it, if AJ is taken out of the game, we have to find a better way of using him as a decoy. I’ll add though that Lebeau seemed to have a good sense for what we were wanting to do. AJ had single coverage several times. But every time the pass was either designed to the other side of the field, or he was on a short comeback or similar route. I still feel like if we challenged the coverage it wouldn’t have held up.

  2. By mwindle1973 on Oct 26, 2012 | Reply

    I’ve been thinking about this issue with AJ getting shut down all week. I think it’s possible that the fact we have zero 7 step drop plays in the playbook can hurt in these situations. Maybe if we had a play designed to give AJ the time to bust these brackets. They were essentially having Ike engaging at the snap for 5 yards then trailing him the rest of the way. Then sending the S over the top. At times they went with a centerfield S cheating towards AJ, and a LB bracketing to side of AJ’s route. Other times Ike played the over bracket and a LB under, with single high coverage. An obvious call to bust that type of coverage when you have an AJ Green, is to call a double move, or stop and go, a long crossing route. But these all require 7 step drops. I think this line can block it, they are the top pass rushing unit so far this season according to pro football focus. And that’s with Jeff Faine rating dead last in C’s playing at least 50% of the snaps. With Cook back it might become like the stone wall of 05. But anyways it may be advantageous to adding a few vertical plays to the playbook. Just as a way to try to produce offense when a team shuts us down this way. It happened some last year. And it will happen again against the right team. That’s until someone steps up as a second deep threat. And hopefully Jones will be that guy when he comes back from injury. These young guys are giong to have growing pains, but I remain very enthused about their future and the teams future. This year’s draft class has been great,and we haven’t even seen the top pick yet! Can’t wait until next Sunday, I’ll be there with my daughter, hopefully watching a route of the Broncos!

  3. By davidhoffer2012 on Oct 27, 2012 | Reply

    I have been a Bengals fan since before they had stripes on their helmets. I watch, record, and study every game. Here is what I see so far this year. Offense: A young and inconsistent O-line. Cook going down a mere days before opening day has had more of an impact on both the running game and pass protection than most think. BJGE is a capable back but not able to do it on his own. Did anyone see Scott’s injury as a surprise (time to move on there). Also the suffling of WR2 is not working, name a #2 and stick with him, period. After the bye bring Cook back solidify the O-line, then make Marvin Jones the #2 WR, and Sanu #3 WR, keep Hawkins. Trade Binns, Whalen for a RB with shifty speed (ala Scott w/o injury history). Defense: stop experimenting with secondary…make Reggie and Crocker starting safeties (like last year). Hall and Clemons #1 & #2 at CB. #3 CB should be Dre. As for LBs…I have not yet witnessed the potential of Malaluga at MLB, not sure if it is injury, heart, brains, or what but he is not getting the job done. he is constantly out of position, late on the tackle, or just disappears in games. I think I have been seeing Burfict making checks and running down recievers Malaluga missed. Anyway put Burfict at MLB now instaed of waiting for next year (we all know its coming). Also is is me or does it always look like Gresham is give half effort, just seems sluggish. Coaching: Marvin’s main job is to get them ready to play, what happened in the Dolphin and Browns game? Jay when team double AJ, run the ball period, go back to the 2009 tape extra Tackle (Roland). it worked in 2009 and 1st half of Steelers game. Its not pretty or flashy, but works. especially in AFC North. Zimmer even though you have a great D-line and are afraid the backend may not hold up, you gotta blitz a little more. maybe on 1st down instead 3rd. Anyway all just my opinion based on limited knowledge and understanding.

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