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Lip Reading: Can the Bengals and A.J. Green Work Through Their Issues?

Can the Bengals and A.J. Green get on the same page?

CINCINNATI — A.J. Green's disappointing 2020 season continued on Sunday. The 32-year-old was only targeted once and didn't have a catch in the Bengals' 27-3 loss to the Ravens. 

Green left the field early in the third quarter with what the team described as a hamstring injury. He sat on the bench for the remainder of the game.

The CBS cameras featured Green when he was on the sidelines. He wasn't icing his hamstring or being worked on by a trainer. Instead, he was chatting with Bengals assistant wide receivers coach Troy Walters. 

A frustrated Green appeared to say the words "just trade me." The video spread quickly on social media. 

It's unclear if that's actually what he said, but the video is pretty telling.

The video lacks context. Obviously we have no idea what Green said leading up to those final three words. We also don't know if that's actually what he said. 

One thing is clear: Green is frustrated. 

He had one catch for three yards last week against the Jaguars. He has 14 receptions for 119 yards this season and still hasn't scored a touchdown. 

He was only targeted one time against the Ravens and the pass sailed way over his head. He clearly didn't know where the ball was, as it dropped right into Marcus Peters' hands.

Peters had a 12-yard interception return and Green didn't look interested in making the tackle.  

The seven-time Pro Bowler was on the field for 28-of-67 (42%) offensive snaps on Sunday. 

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Bengals head coach Zac Taylor wasn't sure when Green suffered the hamstring injury. 

“That’s a great question," he said. “It was around [halftime]. I can’t pinpoint it.”

Green doesn't look like the same player that carried this offense for the better part of a decade. He should be frustrated. Whether it's because of another injury or the fact that he isn't making an impact. 

“Nah. Not really. I think we were all frustrated at a point,” Tyler Boyd said when asked if he noticed Green's frustrations. “It was kind of hard to pick out individual guys. We were all upset. Not about our targets or things like that. We all want to win. That’s what it all comes down to. We felt that we left a lot out there, and that was the worst performance of the offense that we’ve ever displayed. I can tell you that will never happen again.”

Green might've said "just trade me." That doesn't mean he doesn't want to be in Cincinnati. That doesn't mean he actually wants to be traded. He was frustrated.

We all say things in the heat of the moment that we don't mean. 

Chances are he doesn't have much value anyway. How many teams want to trade for a 32-year-old wide receiver that has 14 receptions and is scheduled to make $12 million from now until the end of the regular season? 

Taylor, Brian Callahan and the rest of the coaches are going to have to get with their star wide receiver and figure this out. 

Green hasn't been involved in this offense. They aren't calling any quick slants or screens to get him involved early in the game. They don't send him deep anymore, which was one of his best attributes for many years. It feels like he's being phased out. He's been targeted six times total in the past two contests. 

It's fair for him to wonder about the future, while also being frustrated about the present. 

Green still believes he can help this team win. That wasn't the case on Sunday—for many reasons. The Bengals and Green have no choice but to figure it out ... fast. 

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