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New coach says Ross' speed can pay off


DeSean Jackson is a good guy to emulate for John Ross, says new receivers coach Bob Bicknell.

MOBILE, Ala. - New Bengals wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell is in the land of purgatory these days. He not only is trying to get to know the players in front of him during Wednesday's practice at the Senior Bowl, he's trying  get a handle on his own players in  just the second week on the job.

But one thing he knows is that John Ross is fast. Ross, the most enigmatic player on the Bengals and maybe the NFL, is now Bicknell's mystery. But not for Bicknell. There is no enigma. Not a man who ran the fastest 40-yard dash in the history of the NFL Scouting Combine last year.

Coaches love speed. It's the one thing you can't coach, they say. Bicknell, who has coached the position with three different teams before this assignment, is no different.

"A guy that can run, everything else we can work on," Bicknell said. "I'm really excited to get in there and start talking to him and get working on things that can help him. Any guy that can run like that, its fun to try and get him to do everything we can to make him successful."

Between injuries and wrong routes, Ross exasperated head coach Marvin Lewis more than excited him and his rookie stat line of three games, 17 snaps, no catches, and a fumble reflected Lewis' lack of patience with his first-rounder.

But Ross gets a fresh pair of eyes in Bicknell that coached a trio of wide receivers in Philadelphia to career-high yardage seasons and they were all different, led by the 5-10, 178-pound DeSean Jackson. There was also the 6-0, 200-pound Jeremy Maclin and the 6-3, 212-pound Jordan Matthews.  When it comes to physical types, the 5-11, 188-pound Ross closely resembles the three-time Pro Bowler Jackson.

"I would hope that John could look at a guy like DeSean. It would be great if he could make some of those plays because it would be good for us," Bicknell said. "DeSean is one of the top ball skills guys in the league. Yeah, he's got the great speed, but he also can do the other things and he worked hard at doing those things.

"If the guys do that, hone in on those things that make them successful, they'll do it. He's got that speed, he's got that ability. I feel like the players are looking at the great players that lead the league in what they're doing." They're asking, 'How do you do it?'"

Bicknell saw enough of Ross while he was coaching in San Francisco in 2016 that, "He was a guy I said, 'Oh that kid is probably going to be the next guy. He's a talented guy.'"  For Bicknell, he's glad he's got the fast guy.

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