A.J. Green thinks John Ross is ready to help him out in ways he didn’t as a rookie.
When the Cincinnati Bengals spent the No. 9 pick in the 2017 Draft on John Ross, they thought they’d acquired the perfect receiver to play opposite A.J. Green. Unfortunately, injuries ruined the speedy wide receiver’s rookie season. Now, Green believes Ross is back on track and ready to make his life easier.
Green told The Sporting News that Ross has his “confidence” back. Perhaps more importantly, he also thinks the second-year wideout is “healthy and explosive” once again. If that’s true, Ross will get every opportunity to earn the starting wide receiver spot on the other side of the field from Green.
Putting a playmaker at the other receiver spot could drastically change the Bengals offense. Andy Dalton needs all the help he can get to make this year a success. Securing an upgrade over Brandon LaFell should immediately make the Cincinnati offense much more dangerous.
Of course, Ross needs to actually stay healthy if he’s going to improve the Bengals offense. To date, he’s shown zero ability to do that for even a brief amount of time. That’s why Marvin Lewis can’t afford to change his scheme up to maximize Ross’ ability to hurt defenses down the field. He’d be smart to put a few plays in to unlock Ross’ speed, but he can’t afford to drastically change the team’s entire scheme.
Green still has every reason to be encouraged by Ross’ progress. He understands more than anyone else in Cincinnati what is required to thrive on the outside for the Bengals. The former Georgia star may or may not understand what a benefit a healthy Ross can be for his own game.
With Ross in the lineup, teams won’t be able to double-team Green on such a constant basis. He’s still going to receive the lion’s share of attention from opposing secondaries, but he might enjoy an occasional one on one opportunity. That’s a luxury Green hasn’t previously enjoyed with the Bengals. Time will tell if Ross can really stay healthy and deliver Green the space on the field he needs to become an even bigger superstar.