A.J. Green healthy, has limited role in Bengals minicamp

Tue Jun 11 3:49pm ET
By JOE KAY
AP Sports Writer

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton throws during an NFL football practice Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)


Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton throws during an NFL football practice Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)


Cincinnati Bengals President Mike Brown watches the team practice from the stands during an NFL football minicamp Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)


Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver AJ Green (18) catches a pass during an NFL football minicamp Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)


Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver AJ Green catches a pass during an NFL football practice Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)


CINCINNATI (AP) A.J. Green ran a deep route along the left sideline and caught Andy Dalton's pass in stride, a sight the Bengals desperately missed during their last-place season.

Green has fully recovered from surgery on his right big toe, the most promising development in an offseason of regrouping. He was limited in the first day of mandatory minicamp Tuesday, but only because the new coaching staff didn't want to push him too hard.

''A.J.'s been cleared to do everything,'' first-year coach Zac Taylor said. ''But we're just going to put him out in individual (drills) and let him run around a little bit and not do any of the team stuff. I know what to expect from A.J., so it will be good just to see him catch balls from the quarterbacks. But we're not going to give him too much work.''

Green missed nearly half of last season with a torn ligament in the toe . He finished with 46 catches for 694 yards - both career lows - and six touchdowns. The Bengals also lost Dalton for the last five games with a turn thumb ligament.

A last-place finish in the AFC North prompted the Bengals to fire coach Marvin Lewis and hire Taylor from the Rams . The offense finished last in the league in 2017 and near the bottom again last season.

The main focus for the offense in minicamp is learning yet another new system. Brian Callahan is the Bengals' third offensive coordinator in the last three years, a dizzying rate of change that has contributed to the poor showings.

Although Green hasn't been able to fully participate in offseason workouts, Dalton thinks their eight seasons together will compensate for the missed time.

''I understand how A.J. runs routes,'' Dalton said. ''There's obviously going to be some new stuff that we're doing now, but it's easier with guys like that. It's easier with guys I've thrown to and I know how they work.''

Tight end Tyler Eifert was held out of practice as he recovers from a broken ankle that sidelined him for the last 12 games. He signed another one-year deal. Eifert has been limited to 14 games over the last three years because of injuries to his back and ankle.

TOP PICK LIMITED

Left tackle Jonah Williams wore a jersey but didn't participate in the afternoon practice. Taylor said Williams, the 11th overall pick in the draft, got ''a little dinged-up'' during practice last week. It's unclear how long he'll be held out of practice.

NEW GUY

Guard John Jerry signed a day before minicamp, replacing second-year guard Rod Taylor, who was waived. Jerry has been with the Dolphins and Giants during his eight-year career, sitting out last season.

COACHES

Former Bengals linebacker Brandon Johnson and cornerback Cortland Finnegan are this year's coaching interns as part of the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship program. Johnson was with the Bengals from 2008-11 and is currently the head coach at Betty Fairfax High School in suburban Phoenix. Finnegan spent 11 seasons with the Titans, Rams, Dolphins and Panthers.

Player Notes
John Ross Aug 12 12:20pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver John Ross III has left camp to be with his son after both his son and his son's mother tested positive for COVID-19. Ross missed Tuesday's practice and has no timetable for a return. The speedy wideout is clearly prioritizing his family over football, rightfully so, at this point of the preseason. Ross will be placed on the Reserve/COVID list while he is away from the team.

From RotoBaller

Tavon Austin Aug 12 12:20pm ET

The San Francisco 49ers are bringing free-agent wide receiver Tavon Austin in for a workout. The team is hoping to sign the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver if the workout goes well. San Francisco is looking to bolster their pass-catching corps after speedy wideout Travis Benjamin opted out of the 2020 season last week. Austin caught 13 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown in 14 games with the Cowboys last season.

From RotoBaller

Antonio Gibson Aug 12 12:10pm ET

Washington running back Antonio Gibson has been doing all he can to learn an NFL playbook amid the coronavirus pandemic, which includes sitting in on wide receiver meetings in the early part of camp. Gibson played receiver in college, but also had 33 carries and is expected to primarily be a running back in the NFL, especially with the team releasing Derrius Guice following his arrest. Last season at Memphis, Gibson scored eight receiving touchdowns and added four on the ground so the "Swiss Army Knife" player will be a matchup nightmare for defenses. It will take Gibson time to learn everything about the RB position, but he is electric with the ball in his hands so expect Washington to get creative finding ways to get him involved. Gibson is a high-upside sleeper to target late in fantasy drafts.

From RotoBaller

Dak Prescott Aug 12 11:40am ET

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones will look to take a step forward in his second NFL season, and will be doing so with a new offensive coordinator in former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. In his first public comments since being hired in January, Garrett raved about the sophomore-signal caller's work ethic and the work Jones put in to learn the offense without the two being able to meet face-to-face due to the coronavirus pandemic. Jones showed huge upside last season with five-300 yard passing games and three games with four-plus touchdowns. His main issue was turnovers as he threw 12 picks and fumbled a league-leading 18 times. Garrett had great success with Dak Prescott, so expect him to help Jones improve in year two making him a good QB to target if waiting on the position in drafts.

From RotoBaller

Kenjon Barner Aug 12 11:03am ET

Free-agent RB Kenjon Barner (Falcons) agreed to an undisclosed deal with the Baltimore Ravens Wednesday, Aug. 12.

From TheHuddle

Nick Chubb Aug 12 11:00am ET

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb told reporters during a Zoom session on Tuesday that he is "ready to share work with (Kareem) Hunt and play alongside him in the same backfield." Chubb and Hunt played eight games together in 2019 after Hunt served an eight-game suspension to begin the season. Chubb told reporters, "Last year, it was just half a season (with Hunt), and this year, he's here and ready. I look forward to it." While Hunt's presence in the backfield will affect Chubb in the passing game, the Browns figure to skew run-heavy under first-year head coach Kevin Stefanski. That, along with a revamped offensive line, should lead to more than enough fantasy production for both Chubb and Hunt in 2020. Draft Chubb as a low-end RB1 in all formats this season.

From RotoBaller

Vic Beasley Aug 12 10:53am ET

Updating a previous report, Tennessee Titans LB Vic Beasley (undisclosed) failed his physical and was placed on the Non-Football Injury list.

From TheHuddle

T Y Hilton Aug 12 9:33am ET

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) passed his physical Wednesday, Aug. 12, and was activated from the active/Non-Football Injury list.

Fantasy Spin: Hilton has been plagued by soft-tissue injuries, and this hamstring injury adds more trepidation. He's a WR3 that you need a backup plan for, but he has upside there as well.

From TheHuddle

Matthew Stafford Aug 12 12:30am ET

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been cleared to play football after a COVID-19 test resulted in a false positive. Stafford commented, "I want to play football. I want to be out there", in addressing a situation he referred to as "scary". The veteran quarterback was on his way to one of the best seasons of his professional career last year, passing for 2,499 yards and 19 touchdowns in only eight games. But a fractured back ended his season Stafford and his fantasy value will be weighed down by the specter of that injury heading into fantasy drafts.

From RotoBaller

Equanimeous St. Brown Aug 11 11:23pm ET

Green Bay Packers WR Equanimeous St. Brown (ankle) will be ready for the first practice Saturday, Aug. 15, according to general manager Brian Gutekunst.

From TheHuddle

Evan Engram Aug 11 11:13pm ET

New York Giants TE Evan Engram (foot) said he is ready for training camp thanks to 'a very strong and aggressive rehab' this offseason.

Fantasy Spin: Engram has delivered TE1 production when on the field, but he has played just 19 games over the past two seasons because of various injuries. He could be a Top 5 player at his position, but you need to have a quality backup plan in place.

From TheHuddle

Boston Scott Aug 11 11:03pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles RB Boston Scott is 'positioned to be the No. 2 running back' in 2020, according to Zach Berman of The Athletic, and Berman said he expects Scott to have a Darren Sproles-like role in the backfield.

Fantasy Spin: Scott flashed his upside late last season, piling up 151 rushing yards, 199 receiving yards and scoring four times over the final four games. Miles Sanders is the lead back in Philadelphia, but his owners may want to grab Scott as a handcuff.

From TheHuddle

Malik Turner Aug 11 11:00pm ET

For the second day in a row, the Green Bay Packers have added a wide receiver. This time, it's former Seahawks wideout Malik Turner, who had 15 catches for 245 yards last season. Turner's much more likely to play a role on this team than the other addition, Travis Fulgham, but he still faces an uphill battle to be a fantasy-relevant part of this roster in 2020. Still, Green Bay is fairly shallow at receiver, so Turner could end up as the team's No. 3 wide receiver by the time the regular season rolls around.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo Aug 11 9:33pm ET

San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo is no longer wearing a knee brace in practice this year.

Fantasy Spin: Garoppolo had previously said his knee is back to 100 percent following his 2018 injury, and shedding the brace is further confirmation. A more mobile Garoppolo could lead to a few more big plays, but he should probably still be viewed as more of a high-end QB2 than a every-week fantasy starter.

From TheHuddle

Mike Daniels Aug 11 8:03pm ET

Updating a previous story, free-agent DT Mike Daniels (Lions) agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth up to $2.7 million with the Cincinnati Bengals Tuesday, Aug. 11, according to a source.

From TheHuddle

Aug 11 7:23pm ET

Updating a previous story, free-agent CB Ross Cockrell (Panthers) will remain a free agent after failing to come to terms on a contract with the New York Giants.

From TheHuddle

Aug 11 6:33pm ET

Free-agent DT Darius Kilgo (Lions) signed with the New England Patriots Tuesday, Aug. 11. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

From TheHuddle

P.J. Hall Aug 11 6:13pm ET

Free-agent DT P.J. Hall (Raiders) visited the Houston Texans Tuesday, Aug. 11.

From TheHuddle

Xavien Howard Aug 11 4:23pm ET

Miami Dolphins CB Xavien Howard was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, Aug. 11.

From TheHuddle

Vic Beasley Aug 11 4:13pm ET

Tennessee Titans LB Vic Beasley (undisclosed) was placed on the Non-Football Injury list Tuesday, Aug. 11. LB Reggie Gilbert was waived.

From TheHuddle