AJ Green
Green has underperformed during his first two games of 2020. (Scott Boehm/AP Photo)

There was once a time at Bengal’s wide receiver AJ Green was an elite receiver and one of the best in the NFL. However, that time is now over. Injuries and poor play have taken their toll on Green, and he is far from what he once was. AJ Green is no longer elite, and now he’s just a plain ole’ good receiver.

What makes an elite receiver?

Many people will ask what I am basing my assessment of Green on. Many will ask what the qualities of an elite receiver are. Well, plain and simple, and elite receiver is one that can consistently catch 50/50 balls. He can always beat 1-on-1 coverage. He will not drop passes.

Most importantly, he will catch all catchable balls thrown to him. That is what makes a receiver elite. AJ Green used to be able to do these things, but in his last two games, he failed in almost every way possible.

AJ Green vs Chargers’ Defense

Joe Burrow’s first professional pass went to AJ Green. He caught it, but he did so out of bounds. Green was slow to get up after the play; however, he continued to play until the end of the game. Green would catch 5 of 9 passes for 51 yards that game. However, all but one of his catches were on short-yardage passes. Green was unable to beat the defensive backs on routes down the field. However, on the one play that he did beat the defender, Burrow overthrew him.

Burrow wouldn’t throw a single deep ball the Green after that, not because Burrow could not, or even because of the Charger’s pass rush. Burrow did not throw a deep ball because AJ Green could not get open.

AJ Green vs Browns’ Defense

In Week 2, AJ Green faced a weakened Brown’s secondary. Many thought he could bounce back from his week one performance. He could not. He caught only 3 of Burrow’s 13 passes to him. During this game, all but two of Joe Burrow’s passes to Green were uncatchable. It means that Green was unable to pull in eight very catchable passes. Several of which hit him directly in his hands.

AJ Green’s stat line is especially atrocious, considering that his quarterback threw for over 300 yards. Yet Green only accounted for 29 of Burrows 316 pass yards.


AJ Green may have once been an elite receiver with the Bengals, but now his elite traits are gone. He couldn’t beat the Chargers’ or the Browns’ secondary consistently. He was unable to pull in very catchable balls. He lost on the 50/50 balls. AJ Green is still a good receiver and a threat in the deep game, but he’s not what he used to be, and he never will be again.