Is A.J. Green The Next Larry Fitzgerald?
By Jason Henry
Cincinnati Bengals backup QB John Skelton made minor waves during the team’s organized team activities when he compared WR A.J. Green to All-Pro Larry Fitzgerald of Arizona Cardinals.
Putting aside the large contrast in numbers and accomplishments for a second, the comparison may not be that far off. Their “measurables” are about the same, Fitz is 6-3 while Green is listed at 6-4. Green is about 10 pounds lighter than Fitzgerald, but both men have the ability break a tackle in the open field.
In regards to their statistics, Green’s career is off to a better start. When Fitzgerald first stepped on the field for the Cardinals back in 2004, he caught 58 balls for 780 yards. Granted, he’s only had one good quarterback during his time in Arizona, but he collected 2,189 yards on 161 catches over his first two seasons. For Green, he has 2,407 yards in his first two years and 162 receptions. Both men had 18 touchdowns in their first two seasons as well.
So giving a little credence to Skelton’s argument, he isn’t that far off. After all, he actually played with Fitzgerald and threw him the ball.
The thing about both receivers is they have the ability to out-jump most defenders and possess fantastic core strength as well as amazing body control. It was evidenced by Fitzgerald’s 55-yard touchdown in Super Bowl XLIII. He pushed off of CB Ike Taylor’s attempt to jam him at the line of scrimmage, caught Kurt Warner’s pass and zipped downfield for the touchdown.
Similarly, Green has shown the ability to break away from a cornerback and out-jump him for a touchdown or muscle his way across the middle for a first down. The only qualities holding Green back from being on the same level as Fitzgerald is his age and experience. If he continues at his current pace – with the same quarterback – Green will eventually overtake Fitzgerald because he will probably have a better team around him.
Skelton may be just a backup quarterback in Cincinnati, but he could be on to something with Green’s ability.