T.J. Houshmandzadeh on John Ross: The only guy that 'can do what he does is Tyreek Hill'

James Rapien

CINCINNATI — The Bengals have high expectations for rookie quarterback Joe Burrow this season. They're hoping the 23-year-old signal-caller can help turn around an offense that scored just 279 points in 2019, which was 30th in the NFL. 

Burrow should have plenty of weapons at his disposal. A.J. Green is 100 percent healthy and ready to show the world that he can still be an elite wide receiver. Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon return after posting back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. 

Cincinnati also drafted Tee Higgins, who has already worked out with Burrow multiple times this offseason. 

They have plenty of talent at the skill positions, without mentioning the fastest player in the NFL. 

Wide receiver John Ross is hoping to be a difference maker for the Bengals this season. He continued to workout with T.J. Houshmandzadeh during the offseason. The former Bengals great believes Ross could have a big year.

"The only guy in the league I can say can do what he does is Tyreek Hill. He's that talented," Houshmandzadeh told Dan Hoard on the Bengals Booth Podcast. "If he can maintain his level of confidence when things aren't always great, the Bengals are gonna have a problem on their hands with A.J. (Green), Tyler Boyd, drafting Tee (Higgins) and Ross. There's only so many balls to go around. Ross is the only guy on that team that can do what he does and that will always separate him."

The Bengals drafted Ross with the No. 9 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He's missed 24 of a possible 48 regular season games due to various injuries. 

Former Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis didn't want to draft him. He benched Ross after he fumbled as a rookie and the speedster didn't get much of an opportunity the rest of the season.

Ross admits that he needed to get stronger, not only physically, but mentally. 

"Physically, he should just be good," Houshmandzadeh said. "With Ross, he is just so physically talented. I tell him this all the time, I say 'Man, Ross. If we could switch roles...' If I could give him my mentality or if he could give me his talent. Oh my god. Those two combinations would make the best receiver to ever play.

"He's fast. He's quick. He catches the ball well. He just has to believe he has all these qualities. A lot of me working with Ross is working with him mentally as well. It's easy to be confident when things are going well. Can you be confident when things are going bad?"

Ross showed his potential at the start of the 2019 season. He had a huge game in Week 1 against Seattle and was on pace to finish the season with 1,312 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. Unfortunately for Ross and the Bengals, he suffered a sternoclavicular injury that forced him to miss half the season. 

The addition of Burrow should help Ross tremendously. Ross has seen 33 targets of 20 or more yards over the past two seasons. Only 10 of them were deemed catchable according to Pro Football Focus. Burrow was the best downfield passer in the country at LSU last season, posting a 99.3 passing grade on passes longer than 20 yards. 

Ross and Green have only played in nine games together since 2017. Both have been plagued by injuries. If they can stay healthy, then the Bengals should have one of the more explosive offenses in the NFL. 

Listen to Hoard's entire interview with Houshmandzadeh below: