Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Green doesn't think he's a great receiver yet
By Jamison Hensley
CINCINNATI -- A.J. Green has gone to the Pro Bowl in his first two seasons. Calvin Johnson didn't go to his first until his fourth season.
Green has made 162 catches in his first two seasons. That's one more than Larry Fitzgerald had in his first two years.
So given what he's accomplished already in his short NFL career, does Green consider himself to be among the great receivers in the NFL?
"Not yet," Green said. "I still got a long way to go to be mentioned with all of the greats. The biggest thing is me staying consistent."
For a team whose previous No. 1 receiver wasn't as humble, such a response from Green is a refreshing change. But anyone who has watched Green knows he doesn't have "a long way to go." There are few receivers who can match his size, speed and playmaking ability.
Last season, Green finished seventh in the NFL in catches (97), 10th in receiving yards (1,350) and fourth in touchdown catches (11). His seven receptions over 40 yards led the league. The one criticism, and perhaps the only one, is the increased number of drops. He led the AFC North with seven drops.
Green said reaching that elite level is important to him.
"That's the main goal of playing this game," Green said.
The challenge for the Bengals is to continue to get the ball to Green when defenses are putting all of their effort into stopping him. A couple of practices ago, the Bengals had three defenders around Green and he was able to run past all of them for the big play.
"A.J is a special talent," quarterback Andy Dalton said. "He’s a great guy and works really hard and he’s only going to get better throughout his career.”
Cornerback Leon Hall said Green should be considered among the top three wide receivers in the league.
"He's one of those guys who has the confidence that he knows he can be one of the best, if he's not already," Hall said. "At the same time, he works hard like he's at the bottom of the barrel."