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A.J. Green: "It Starts With Me"


On Thursday morning following the birth of his son Easton Ace, proud dad A.J. Green was asked if had a gained a new perspective on life after becoming a father.

"This guy is depending on me and I'm going to have to show him the ropes," he said.

I can guarantee this about young Easton: He will be taught the importance of owning up to your mistakes.

After the Bengals 29-17 loss to Denver on Sunday, I asked Green five questions on our postgame radio show. No matter what I asked, the Pro Bowl receiver steered the conversation to his fourth quarter drop of a critical third down pass.

"I can't have a drop in a crucial moment," A.J. told me. "That really hurt our team. We had a good drive going and I just killed it.

But that wasn't his only mistake. One play earlier, Andy Dalton dropped back to pass on second-and-three and looked to throw to Green in one-on-one coverage. But A.J. was run blocking on the play and not ready for a pass. After scrambling in the opposite direction, Dalton had to toss the ball away.

If either of those plays had resulted in completions to Green, the Bengals would have had a first down near midfield trailing by five points in the fourth quarter.

"I had a big drop on third down and I missed a hand signal so that's two big mistakes on me," said Green. "I've got to be better. I have to be more focused in clutch situations."

The storyline going into the game was that the Bengals needed to get their running game going and they opened with 65 rushing yards on their opening drive and 143 rushing yards overall. That helped them take the lead in the fourth quarter against the defending Super Bowl champs, but critical mistakes on both sides of the ball cost them the game.

"We have to be able to find a way to grind it out," said head coach Marvin Lewis. "We dropped a third down pass and those kinds of things are huge in the game. Just do things the way we know you can do them. We have a lot of good players that are doing good things a lot of the time. But today we didn't do it well enough, long enough."

"We knew there were going to be ups and downs and everything wasn't going to go like that first drive," said Green. "But when it gets down to it, I can't have that drop. I cannot have a drop like that. And then missing that assignment. It starts with me. This offense has to run through me and I let my team down today. I let myself down. I pride myself in being one of the best and I didn't show up today."

But there's another lesson there for young Easton. Everybody makes mistakes – it's how you respond that matters.

A.J. Green is determined to atone for his errors on Thursday Night Football against the Dolphins.

"It's good that we can get back and play on Thursday to try to get this feeling out of us," said Green. "Especially me. I'm ready to get back to practice."

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Cincinnati Bengals take on the Denver Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium in week 3 of the regular season 9/25/2016

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