Cincinnati Bengals: Receiver injuries mounting in preseason

After A.J. Green landed awkwardly on the practice field outside Paul Brown Stadium the first day of camp, there was a gasp from onlookers as he stayed on the ground and was helped into the locker room by the training staff .  That turned into a sigh of relief when the Cincinnati Bengals announced there was bruising of the knee and Green would likely return last Monday.

That was six days ago and Green still hasn’t made it back to the field, and the team doesn’t believe he will be ready in time for the August 8th preseason opener in Atlanta.

Although the team still maintains that Green’s injury isn’t serious, the team has a more pressing injury to deal with. Andrew Hawkins went down Thursday with an ankle injury after a diving attempt to catch an Andy Dalton pass early in practice. Hawkins was unable to get off the field without assistance, and the injury looks to be more significant than Green’s.

Backup reciever Marvin Jones has also been banged up throughout the camp and has recently been sidelined too.

If Hawkins’ injury causes him to miss any significant amount of time, the team would be relying on Jones and Brandon Tate to take over while Mohamed Sanu and Green are slated to play the outside spots. While that scenerio wouldn’t be optimal, it would be much easier for the team to digest than an nagging injury to Green.

If A.J. Green were to have a significant injury during the season, the Bengals’ recieving group suddenly becomes very average. It would look something like this - Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones, and possibly Brandon Tate or Andrew Hawkins (barring his current injury).

A legitimate passing game relies on A.J Green staying healthy

A legitimate passing game relies on A.J Green staying healthy

Those who may recall, Sanu had his own injuries last season and finished with only five games played, collecting 16 catches for 154 yards and four TD’s. While the numbers in the limited time were impressive, it is still only a small sample. Jones wasn’t much better, playing five games as well with 18 receptions for 201 yards and a touchdown. That leaves Brandon Tate with 13 catches for 211 yards and a touchdown.

All told, that’s 47 catches, 566 yards and six touchdowns between the three – add in Hawkins who may miss some playing time – and the total for the four players is  98 catches, 1099 yards and 10 touchdowns.

In comparison, A.J. Green had 97 catches for 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns and played every week.  Even though Green did play every game compared to three of the four other players (excluding Hawkins) who played no more than five games, it can be assumed that production at the reciever position would drop off dramatically if Green were out, compared to any other receiver

That’s part of the reason why many were surprised the Bengals didn’t pick up another receiver in the draft to not only play opposite Green, but what if Green were to miss significant playing time with an injury?

Rookie TE Tyler Eifert has been very promising throughout camp, and the team looks to utilize his size a lot in the red zone, but the deep threat would almost vanish if Green were to go down.

So while Hawkins injury Thursday might be a set back for the team, just hope that A.J Green can continue to be superman in 2013.

 Injury updates:

WR A.J. Green (knee), WR Tyone Goard (concussion), OT Andrew Whitworth (knee), DT Larry Black (ankle), TE Alex Smith (knee), DE Carlos Dunlap (concussion), DT Brandon Thompson (knee); WR Andrew Hawkins (ankle), TE Jermaine Gresham (hamstring). Active/Non-Football Injury – RB Cedric Peerman (ankle); PUP – FB Chris Pressley (knee), QB Zac Robinson (elbow), HB Bernard Scott (knee).    (news.cincinnati.com)