CINCINNATI — The Bengals are hoping that multiple players exceed expectations this season, specifically some of the younger guys on the roster. There are plenty of realistic candidates to choose from on offense and defense.
A.J. Green opted to go with a fellow wide receiver when asked which Bengals player is poised for a breakout campaign.
"John (Ross) is going to have a great year," Green said without hesitation. "I think John is going to have an unbelievable year."
John Ross is entering his fourth year in the NFL. The Bengals selected him with the ninth overall pick in 2017. Injuries have forced him to miss significant time in each of his first three seasons. He's flashed his potential in short stints. The team is hoping he can put it all together in 2020.
"He’s unbelievable. He’s one of the fastest people I’ve ever seen," Green said. "The way he gets in and out of his breaks is unbelievable. He’s had a great camp outside of getting injured, and I’m very excited for him. He’s going to help our offense out so much."
Ross left camp in August to care for his three-year-old son who tested positive for COVID-19. He missed about a week, but rejoined his teammates in Cincinnati once his son was fully recovered.
Green isn't the only wide receiver on the team to praise Ross' performance. Tyler Boyd believes the 24-year-old's speed and quickness make him "unguardable."
Shortly after Ross returned to camp, he tweaked his elbow going up for a catch in practice. He was able to continue practicing, but the coaching staff played it safe and limited his reps moving forward. He wasn't listed on Wednesday's injury report and has been a full participant in practice.
"I’ve been talking to him," Green said. "Me and John, we’ve been hurt. So, I’ve been in his ear just telling him it’s going to come. You really can’t control his injuries. Just go out there and play his game. Don’t worry about what’s going to happen after that, just take one play at a time and enjoy playing football. That’s one thing, you have to enjoy playing this game."
Ross admits that he lost confidence early in his career. He dealt with injuries and wasn't given many opportunities on the field when he was healthy.
Despite the adversity, he has shown plenty of ability when given the chance. He led the team with eight touchdown receptions in 2018. He was on pace for over 1,300 yards receiving after four games last season. Unfortunately another injury ended what could've been a career changing campaign.
“Sixteen games and more,” Ross told AllBengals when asked about his goals for this season. “January 1, 2020 that’s the first thing I said, ‘make sure you are ready to play 16 games and more this year’ because that has obviously been my biggest my problem.”
Despite the injuries, Green is still a believer in Ross. Only time will tell if his prediction will come true.
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