A.J. Green headed out to Wednesday morning’s walk through expecting to follow it up with his first full practice of the season in the afternoon and then playing in his first game of the season Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Local 12) at Paul Brown Stadium against then Ravens.
But the injured ankle of the Bengals franchise wide receiver flared up during the walk-through and by the time Green went to get treatment in the training room, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor emerged from his news conference to find out Green wouldn’t practice.
Check out some of the top photos from practice as the Bengals prepare for a Week 10 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.
So Taylor had to revise the news of the day from expecting Green to play on Sunday to downgrading him back to day-to-day. It was a sudden turn of events on a day that began with not only Taylor expecting Green to return, but rookie quarterback Ryan Finley talking about how his first NFL start would be enhanced by the team’s best player.
Now it’s unclear just exactly what the status of the ankle is. Taylor didn’t have enough information to call it a setback, but it was serious enough that Green stayed in the training room during practice. Taylor had said Green would be on a pitch count Sunday, meaning he wouldn’t take every snap, but it’s questionable that he plays at all Sunday since he has yet to go through a practice at full go.
RYAN SEEKS RHYTHM: As expected, Finley was as cool as a hit song in his first full-fledged news conference as the starter. Note these answers to questions like if pre-season reps are beneficial and what his definition of leadership i:
On the reps: “Football is football, and like I said, getting into a rhythm and proving to myself that I can do it is a big thing. And relying on good coaching. I’m not going to try to do anything special. I’m going to go out there, get completions and run our offense the way it’s meant to be and get us into the right checks and let our playmakers make plays. We have a lot of playmakers, so when in doubt, give those guys 50-50 shots. We have A.J. back, Tyler Boyd, Auden Tate – just give those guys chances to make plays down the field. And with Joe (Mixon), just give him the rock and see what happens. Put the ball in the field.”
On leadership: “At this point, I just want to bring energy and juice and positivity, and get guys going to feel like we’re getting into a rhythm. That’s huge. We have so many athletes, and getting into a rhythm and feeling like we’re moving the ball is huge. For me right now, it’s just executing football plays for this football team, and bringing juice and bringing energy.”
Taylor, a fellow college transfer who played quarterback, got off a good line about Finley's brains.
“It certainly doesn’t hurt. He has asked the right questions. He has experience. He spent 10 years in college, you know ," Taylor joked. :He’s a mature rookie. His approach has been really good. He’s always prepared like he’s one snap away, like any good backup quarterback would approach it."
LAMAR AGAIN: Every Cincy school kid knows Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has eviscerated the Bengals the two times he’s played them. A month ago he lit them for 152 yards rushing in becoming the first quarterback to throw for at least 200 yards and run for at least 100 yards in a regular-season game. The Bengals are hoping the third time is the charm.
“It definitely helps, said Bengals right end Sam Hubbard before Wednesday’s practice when asked if seeing him multiple times eases the assignment. “It’s such a unique experience playing against him because he can do things no other player can do. To have that experience under your belt helps. You know how to approach him with angles and you hope we do a better job containing him.”
Here’s the amazing thing about what the Ravens are doing on the ground. They’ve rushed for at least 200 yards in half of their games and that includes 210 rushing yards last Sunday night against a Patriots defense that was supposedly in the process of re-writing the record book. And they’re doing it with an offense that everyone has played in high school and college.
“Everyone has an assignment when you play option football,” Hubbard said. “The key is everybody has a job. There has to be somebody leveraging it, someone chasing it from the inside, someone taking care of the dive. It’s going to be different players in those different positions. It comes down to being assignment sound.”
Linebacker Nick Vigil probably said it best when he explained why the Ravens make the option look so new and exotic:
“They’re good up front. They’ve got three good tight ends that can block and catch. Then you’ve got No. 8 (Jackson) who is one of the most electrifying guys in the league and one of the fastest guys on the field. That comes with a lot of issues.”
INJURY UPDATE: Despite the setback with Green, the Bengals are the healthiest they’ve been pretty much all season. Green, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) and right guard Alex Redmond (knee/ankle) are the only ones that sat out Wednesday with injury. Kirkpatrick and Redmond won’t play and Green would have to be questionable. But no one went limited and four players that missed last week, slot corner Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), pass rusher Carl Lawson (hamstring), right guard John Miller (groin) and left tackle Cordy Glenn (concussion) all went full Wednesday.