Pro Bowler was having his best season so far when his season ended just as he was heading towards the easier stretch of games(he torches Baltimore), a stretch that proved difficult without their #1 WR and Gio. AJ is a tremendous athlete that makes amazing catches . . .however, I'm just not sure that he's a great football player. TWICE(!) in his shortened season he thought a passing play was a running play so when Dalton rolls out expecting AJ to be beating his man, he's out there blocking. Dalton now has to run with no designed protection . . . even if he throws it away, it's now offensive pass interference on AJ. He also had a couple of potentially long TD passes, one against Washington, where he just tried to run under it and catch it in stride but the passes were knocked away because he didn't go up for the ball. Julio Jones might be the best today at going up to get the ball on a deep pass. That's called throwing the ball up for your PLAYMAKER to MAKE A PLAY!!! If he made one play on the two deep passes that I saw, he would have joined Randy Moss as the only two to have 1,000 yards their first 6 seasons. The best WR they have by far, but he could be better.
Coming into this season, I didn't like the LaFell signing at all. I thought that a mediocre WR would take much needed snaps/catches from Boyd and Core. I'll admit that he proved me wrong. He still may have just been a stop-gap because it looks like Core may be the new #2. LaFell had some sweet footwork on the sidelines a few times and his 86 yard catch and run in Houston was impressive, but I especially liked his even-keeled approach. He didn't seem to get too upset on the field when things didn't go his way or he felt that he didn't get a call from the refs. His quiet professionalism reminded me of . . . AJ Green. Don't throw a mini fit when you don't get a call on a third down in the second quarter because you'll have to top it if you don't get a call on an even more important third down in the 4th quarter and look like a dipshit that can't control his emotions. I only stress this because of the positive example shown to the next four names on the list.
Some good, some bad. Pretty good rookie season even though he only started twice. Has some moves, and will fight for the ball. Needs to maybe focus and work on getting open a bit more. Disappeared at times. He caught 21 passes the first four games without AJ, but possibly hit the rookie wall as he finished with only six more with just 2 catches in each of the last three games. Looked better on reverses than just about any Bengal WR since Tim McGee, but that's not really saying much as the Bengals have notoriously sucked on reverses. 4 runs and one was a passing lateral. 1 yard, 3 yards, an exciting 15 yarder Sunday where he turned up field and hit the hole quickly and a 39 yard run @ Cleveland. If he doesn't get Jeremy Hill disease(aka as readingyourownpressitis), he should shred nickel corners next season. Already an upgrade from Sanu as 3rd WR.
Sanu - 33 rec - 394 yds - 0 td 2015 mostly as a 3rd WR with 4 starts
Boyd - 54 rec - 603 yds - 1 td mostly as a 3rd WR with 2 starts and only one of those was while AJ was out because Core moved right into the #2 role quite nicely.
Started the last four games and showed flashes here and there. Mixed results but did look like he belongs in the NFL. Eight of his 17 catches came @ Houston but for only 39 yards and the longest was only 9 yards. He will catch the ball in traffic, he showed that Sunday and in the pre-season. Unless they re-sign LaFell, we just got a glimpse of Marvin Jones' replacement.
Finally got a chance to show why he's been on the roster for a few years. He had a couple of debatable drops but he also made a few nice catches. A good #4 or #5 WR. He's been learning the system for three seasons so he should be able to hold onto his roster spot unless Cincy drafts a WR.
The Bengals may have FINALLY found their return man. He flipped the field a few times and looked dangerous on a few screens. Knows how to set up blocks, knows when to hesitate and when to burst. Too many screens fall apart because the receiver thinks it's a race and outruns his blockers. Sometimes it's best to pick your spots and Erickson does that pretty well.
Fill in your own review. I only saw parts of two pre-season games and I don't recall anything he did.
I think that the Bengals did well replacing Sanu and Jones and their WR group is a lot like TE. They have enough young talent at both spots to ignore those position groups this off-season. Let them grow into the offense instead of the revolving door at the back end of the roster. That approach helps no one.