A.J. Green is a big reason the Cincinnati Bengals find themselves in the hunt for a playoff berth. Needless to say, this offense can’t afford to lose him.
The Bengals may be on a bye this week, but it’s not been an enjoyable week for Marvin Lewis and Co. The news that A.J. Green might need surgery on his foot puts the team’s entire season in jeopardy.
At the moment, they only trail the Steelers by a half-game in the AFC North. Andy Dalton and his charges would like their chances at catching Pittsburgh in the second half if their offense is at full strength. Now, that may be in serious question.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Green has been one of the most productive wideouts in the NFL through eight weeks, catching 45 balls for 687 yards and six touchdowns at the midpoint of the Bengals’ season. His presence on the outside makes things pretty simple for the rest of his offensive teammates. The threat of Green down the field gives Cincinnati’s other receivers single coverage on almost every snap. It also gives running back Joe Mixon favorable fronts to run against.
That’s what makes the news that Green will at least miss “some games” so troubling for the Bengals coaching staff. There is no realistic way for them to replace his production in the lineup. They can try to keep opposing defenses off balance with some changes to their scheme, but that’s all going to be smoke and mirrors in the end.
At best, the Bengals can hope to tread water if Green is only forced to miss a few games to rest his injured foot. If surgery occurs, it will almost certainly end his 2018 season. That would also kill off any chance Cincinnati has at making a playoff run.
Every NFL team needs good injury luck to enjoy a good season. The Bengals aren’t any different. A.J. Green might be the single most important player on Lewis’ roster. If he’s forced to miss significant time, his team’s promising 2018 season may turn into a disaster.