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Thread: Receivers get out of the blocks

  1. #1

    Receivers get out of the blocks

    Receivers get out of the blocks

    Posted 9 hours ago
    Geoff HobsonEditorBengals.com


    Bob Bicknell says A.J. Green is "The best I've been around."
    As the great A.J. Green says, the voluntary practices don’t give a rec
    eiver much to hang a hat on. There’s a helmet, but that’s about all. There’s no contact. There’s no press coverage.

    “It’s more like seven-on-seven out there,” Green said this week. “The OTAs are mainly for the skill players getting their timing down.”

    And that’s one thing this band of wide receivers has shown in the first two weeks of spring ball. Plenty of timing. As in fast times. It’s the only thing
    they can show and the Bengals’ strength and conditioning staff has been impressed with how fast the receivers are playing, a byproduct of the fast
    pace stressed in coordinator Bill Lazor’s new offense.

    How fast?

    One Bengals assistant compared the scheme’s style to the Chip Kelly get-it-and-go Eagles of five years ago, when Lazor was the quarterbacks coach
    for an obscure sophomore named Nick Foles and his league-busting 119.3 passer rating. Lazor’s scheme may not be as relentless as Kelly’s but he
    wants his guys up-tempo and so far the receivers have responded.

    How fast? John Ross ran a deep post late in Tuesday’s practice that GPSed him at 23.2 miles per hour. According to NFL.com, that by far would
    have been the fastest play in the league last season, which went to Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette at 22.05 miles per hour on a 90-
    yard touchdown run.

    Green has been in that range this spring, too, looking as fast as he’s ever looked in seven Pro Bowl seasons despite on the verge of turning the big
    one (30) in two months. He’s racked up a 23 mph snap this spring and multiple receivers have hit 21 and 22 miles per hour. According to NFL.com,
    there were 20 plays last season where a ball carrier went as fast as 21.05 seconds.

    And that’s even with sophomore Josh Malone nicked up and riding the bike instead of practicing. He’s expected back any day now and that gives
    them another sub 4.4 40 guy.

    Green says he likes it. He likes what Lazor has concocted and finds the number system used to call plays getting easier and easier even though it’s
    the first time he’s ever been under the route tree in 20 years of football. Speed is part of the reason for numbers instead of words.

    “I love it. I feel like Bill is putting his stamp on the offense. Last year we had to wing a lot of stuff. But now he’s put it in with his own staff,” Green said.
    “The numbers system, at first, was pretty hard but once you learn the route tree the numbers comes pretty fast. As long as you know the number, you
    know what you have to do. It’s definitely easier. All you have to do is know the numbers and you figure out everything else.”

    How fast?



    Tyler Boyd
    is having an impressive spring.


    “We have as good a receiving group as anyplace I’ve been,” said wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell, whose resume isn’t to be trifled with as a guy
    that has coached three different offensive positions from Cologne to Kansas City and Frankfurt to Frisco during 19 seasons in the pros.

    “Obviously in Philly we had some really good players,” said Bicknell, who has chalked up three 1,000-yard receivers with three different teams. “In
    Buffalo Stevie Johnson could really separate. In San Francisco Jeremy Kerley was an accomplished guy. But this group as a whole has a little bit of
    everything. You’ve got really good speed. You’ve got guys that can separate. You’ve got big players that can make contested catches. As a group, it’s
    impressive.”

    While Lazor coached Foles in Kelly’s system, Bicknell coached the Eagles receivers and DeSean Jackson had a career-high 1,332 yards in that 2013
    season. That was a year after Johnson had 1,046 for the Bills under Bicknell and a year before Jeremy Maclin had a career-high 1,318 in ’14 with
    Kelly and Bicknell after Lazor went to Miami as offensive coordinator.

    But it is Green that Bicknell says is, “the best I’ve ever been around.” No one is saying Ross is DeSean Jackson. After all, Jackson is heading into the
    11th season of a highly-acclaimed career and leads all active receivers with 17.3 yards per catch while Ross is looking for his first NFL catch. But why
    not? The 5-10, 175-pound Jackson is another sub 4.4 40 guy. The 5-11, 190-pound Ross is the fastest man ever recorded at the NFL scouting
    combine with a 4.22.

    These first five practices of the spring are part of one of Ross’ longest practice stretches as a pro and Bicknell says that’s starting to show.

    “He’s really coming along. He’s learning the offense well and he catches the ball really well,” Bicknell said. “We’ve got two or three deep plays where
    he’s been in position that we haven’t connected on, which is what we have to do to really be effective. Using your speed and using certain things in
    different routes and timing and all that, he can work on that a little bit. But I’m really impressed with how into it he is … He’s taken every rep he can.”

    Lazor and Bicknell want these guys on the move, whether they’re in the slot or outside and many of them are doing both with the mere switch of a
    formation.

    “Bill does an outstanding job moving guys around. With the group we have, No. 1, you have to do that with a couple of players that we have so they
    just can’t say, ‘Take ‘em away,’’’ Bicknell said. “In the NFL you need to have a bunch of guys that can do a lot of things so you can move them around.
    So it’s not always, ‘Running this.’ We have a group that’s extremely intelligent that can do those things. Plus they have little bit of a feel for the game
    and they have some skill sets that allow them to separate in different ways.”

    The receiver group won’t be defined by what is expected to be Green’s eighth Pro Bowl season. It will come down to the emergence of the four guys
    drafted in 2016 and 2017. Boyd, the ’16 second-rounder, looks poised to break out (Bicknell on his recent play: “He’s got a really good feel for the
    position. Very smooth. Catches the ball well. I’m really impressed with him … He ran an in-cut as well as anybody.”), but all eyes are on Ross,
    Malone, and Cody Core. Only Boyd has more than 17 catches.

    “It’s like any other job. You show up that first year and you’re trying to figure it all out,” Bicknell said. “You do the best you can. Sometimes you get
    opportunities and sometimes you don’t. Then the second year comes along and you’re a little bit more prepared .Then, really, it’s the third year in the
    NFL guys start to progress to their career. Some guys are asked to do it earlier and can. But the reality is I think these guys are right on schedule of
    progress.”

    The faster, the better.





    http://www.bengals.com/news/article-1/Receivers-get-out-of-the-blocks/d769eb97-0300-4dc5-b91c-7f9d565a8353








  2. #2
    I mentioned this in another thread but I think it's worth repeating. All eyes are going to be on John Ross this offseason for numerous reasons, but I think Lasor's most important job might be fixing things at the slot position. IMO that means getting Tyler Boyd's career back on track.

    Granted, the Bengals desperately need more from the WR2 spot than Brandon Lafell can give, and they also need to make more big plays downfield. But IMO Lafell's replacement is already on the roster. John Ross simply wasn't ready last year. That needs to change ASAP because the job is waiting for him. But the Bengals desperately need Boyd to return to his rookie form when he was a shocking good high percentage/highly productive chain mover.

    Happily, the last two games of the 2017 season provided a reminder of what Boyd can be. Thirteen targets, ten catches, a game winning TD against the hated Ravens. After 14 weeks of missed games entirely or spotty play where Boyd was only targeted a few times a game the last two weeks of last season gave Boyds career a much needed dead cat bounce the Bengals can build on going forward. Best, getting Boyd back on track would ease the burden on AJ Green, who suffered from too much attention last season. Of course getting Eifert back should also help on that front, but Boyd is capable of catching 40-50 more passes than last year, and if he does the improvement in the offense could be huge.

  3. #3
    Would love to see Malone get more snaps this year too.

    I wouldn’t be shocked or disappointed if by the half way point of the year lafell is our 5th best WR.

  4. #4
    Heaven help me, I’m getting excited for this season.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by HOF View Post
    I mentioned this in another thread but I think it's worth repeating. All eyes are going to be on John Ross this offseason for numerous reasons, but I think Lasor's most important job might be fixing things at the slot position. IMO that means getting Tyler Boyd's career back on track.

    Granted, the Bengals desperately need more from the WR2 spot than Brandon Lafell can give, and they also need to make more big plays downfield. But IMO Lafell's replacement is already on the roster. John Ross simply wasn't ready last year. That needs to change ASAP because the job is waiting for him. But the Bengals desperately need Boyd to return to his rookie form when he was a shocking good high percentage/highly productive chain mover.

    Happily, the last two games of the 2017 season provided a reminder of what Boyd can be. Thirteen targets, ten catches, a game winning TD against the hated Ravens. After 14 weeks of missed games entirely or spotty play where Boyd was only targeted a few times a game the last two weeks of last season gave Boyds career a much needed dead cat bounce the Bengals can build on going forward. Best, getting Boyd back on track would ease the burden on AJ Green, who suffered from too much attention last season. Of course getting Eifert back should also help on that front, but Boyd is capable of catching 40-50 more passes than last year, and if he does the improvement in the offense could be huge.
    Agree on Boyd... in fact, I thought he was going to break out in his second season... didn’t happen. I absolutely expect Ross to make significant progress and as you noted, Boyd showed late last fall what he can be. I still think Lafell makes it for another year and contributes, but assuming Malone also shows up some, 2018 is it for Brandon.

    Core is the forgotten man and after last year, it’s easy to see why. After all the hype in the pre-season, he pretty much stunk up the joint. I could see Tate making the 53 and maybe Erickson, too. But I still like Kermit Whitfield, although he’s small... he can return and he’s really quick. Or maybe they go with 5 WRs and keep Quinton Flowers as the 4th back and ST guy.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by texbengal View Post
    Agree on Boyd... in fact, I thought he was going to break out in his second season... didn’t happen. I absolutely expect Ross to make significant progress and as you noted, Boyd showed late last fall what he can be. I still think Lafell makes it for another year and contributes, but assuming Malone also shows up some, 2018 is it for Brandon.

    Core is the forgotten man and after last year, it’s easy to see why. After all the hype in the pre-season, he pretty much stunk up the joint. I could see Tate making the 53 and maybe Erickson, too. But I still like Kermit Whitfield, although he’s small... he can return and he’s really quick. Or maybe they go with 5 WRs and keep Quinton Flowers as the 4th back and ST guy.


    I think they can turn things around as quickly as they fell apart. Bengals historically bad start last season was the result of many things going wrong at once. Bengals now hoping to turn things around by making a few more plays downfield, forcing a few more turnovers on defense. In short, manageable goals built around subtle coaching changes and reasonably achievable improvement from developing players.


    Boyd - Hobson keeps pointing to a minor injury as the thing that knocked Boyd off track. I keep thinking it had more to do with what was found in his car. Regardless, clean slates for everyone. Moving forward....I know talk is cheap but Bengals already talking about Boyd exceeding, not matching, his rookie production. That's exactly what I'm talking about. Bengals should be thriving at the slot.

    Ross - What's a reasonable goal for Ross? 30 receptions? 40 receptions? More? Less? More important, if Boyd and Ross become steady and regular contributors in the passing game...how many big plays to the Bengals add this season that they would have left on the field in 2017?

    Malone - I don't see the same type of direct path to playing time that Ross and Boyd have. Until LaFell goes away I would be happy to see him move up the food chain to the point where he's active each week and becomes a part of the rotation. IMO he was better than Core right out of the box and I think he's got more upside than most realize. As the Vols #1WR he ran the full route tree.

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