CLEVELAND _ Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green has come up big when the Bengals have needed him most the past month and none bigger than last Sunday against Pittsburgh with a career-high 224 yards. But Green thinks he's got to come out "small," when he meets arch nemesis Joe Haden this Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 19) and the Browns.
"He got up into my chest," Green recalled of last month's meeting in Cincinnati. "I've got to play lower and aggressive and get off the line like that."
Haden held Green to three catches for 29 yards, giving Green a total of four catches working against Haden in the last two meetings. Chad Johnson, the Bengals all-time leading receiver, had the same kind of advice earlier in the week, as well as urging Green to change up his gait. But Johnson also said he doesn't have much to work on and says Green is better than he is.
"I don't know about that," Green said. "Chad is one of the greatest receivers I've ever seen. The way he comes out of his routes with his quick feet was unbelievable. I'm working on that change-up stuff. Just trying to get better."
Here's something else that will help Green: the running game. Haden has had some help from linebackers buzzing underneath Green and it if they're tied up in play-action or stopping the run, that may give Green some more space.
BULLETIN BOARD: There's enough bulletin-board material to go around this week. Forget Marvin Lewis and Jeremy Hill. Word out of Cleveland after last month's Browns' rout was they knew what the Bengals were going to run and the Bengals have heard it.
"We have to give them all the credit in the world. They did a tremendous job," said offensive coordinator Hue Jackson last week. "I've heard all the things that they knew exactly what we were doing and how we were doing it and kudos to them. This Sunday we'll find out - it's going to be a different show.
"Every good offense has tendencies. I'm sure there are certain things they saw that we do that we do. There are certain things that they do that I know that they do. At the end of the day that's just part of football. We'll find out. Come Sunday the tale of the tape will be there."
BOLING ROLLING: Jackson used a lot of unbalanced lines last week, but he said it wasn't so much to protect Clint Boling in his first NFL start at right tackle. He thought Boling did well, but no one is going to be surprised if new pickup Eric Winston gets some snaps at that spot or as an extra tight end against the Browns. Particularly if tight end Jermaine Gresham can't play, although it sounds like head coach Marvin Lewis thinks he can.
"I thought Clint did a good job. I thought he battled," Jackson said. "He was playing his first game at tackle and playing against some of the best pass rushers in the world and he did a tremendous job. He's obviously got to play some guys this week that are just as good so it's a challenge. He walked out there, didn't blink and got it done. I think he did a heckuva job."
HALL-HAWK: Two friendly foes go against each other Sunday after Bengals cornerback Leon Hall and Browns slot receiver Andrew Hawkins both missed last month's game because of injury.
"If anything, that's what I'm more excited about. Not the Johnny Manziel thing," Hall said. "I don't want it to sound bad, but I'm glad (Hawkins) missed the last game because I wasn't playing anyway. So it was one of those things where I didn't miss too much with him. It will be fun. I went against him a bunch, but this time it really counts."
Hall went against the 5-7, 180-pound Hawkins the previous three years in practice, so he knows he has to guard against his elite quickness. But that's not the only thing going on with them. Hall says it may be more like chess than practice.
"He's smart, too. He works people's leverages," Hall said. "He knows what he's doing. He's not just trying to out-quick everybody. But that's definitely his biggest strength."
"Hawk is tricky. He's a tricky matchup. There were days I'd come in and say, 'I'm going to get my hands on him and see how that works out.' Sometimes it doesn't work out as well. Sometimes I'll say, 'I'm going to back up a little bit and let him do his little shakes,' and that doesn't work out. It's a little match up game. It's a little chess game. That's a term that's used a lot, but it kind of is. You can't sit there and do the same thing against him. He'll figure it out. He's smart enough."