The Cardinals have a new weapon in their arsenal, and it’s one of the most exciting players in the NFL. A.J. Green is quickly becoming a fan favorite with his electrifying play on the field and his personality off of it.
Getty A.J. Green of the Arizona Cardinals lines up against the Kansas City Chiefs during a preseason game at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on August 20, 2021.
A.J. Green, a seasoned wide receiver, appears very similar to his former self outside of his jersey.
He’s making critical receptions, overpowering and outsmarting opponents with his mix of size, athleticism, and expertise. Perhaps most significantly, he enjoys his time with the Arizona Cardinals.
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Green stated on Thursday, September 29 on the “Big Red Rage” radio program and podcast, “I’m enjoying it.” “I discovered a place where I can enjoy myself once again. We’re winning, and we’ve got a fantastic team.”
Green, the 33-year-old former Cincinnati Bengals standout, inked a one-year contract with the Cardinals this offseason, swapping his orange and black for Cardinals crimson. The change of environment seems to have re-energized the seven-time Pro Bowl receiver, who had been written off as beyond his prime and a shell of his former self by some.
Green remarked, “The new location, the new vibe simply gave me another push.” “A lot of people thought I wouldn’t be able to play again, that I was losing my edge, but I know how hard I work every year. I still have a lot of gas left in my tank, and I’m grateful Arizona gave me this chance.”
Even his family in South Carolina has seen a change in Green this season while watching Cardinals games on TV.
“They said something along the lines of, ‘Man, A.J., you’re just smiling and having fun again.’ And I’m like, ‘I’m sure I am.’ He said, “Winning gives pleasure.”
Green and his new colleagues will try to keep their winning ways going when the Cardinals take on the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, October 3 in a battle of 3-0 teams. The NFC West battle is scheduled to begin at 1:05 p.m. MST.
Cincinnati is being bid farewell.
Green, who is now in his 11th NFL season, scored his first touchdown with the Cardinals against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 2.
He backed it up with a five-catch, 112-yard effort against the Jaguars in Week 3 at Jacksonville, his first 100-yard receiving game in almost three years.
Green had last surpassed the century mark on October 21, 2018, when he had seven receptions for 117 yards in a defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs for the Bengals.
Green was one of the greatest receivers in the league until injuries slowed him down. He began his career with seven straight Pro Bowl appearances, including six seasons in which he surpassed 1,000 receiving yards. The only time this happened was in 2016, when he had a 964-yard season.
He missed the whole 2018 season due to a foot ailment, and he missed the entire 2019 season after hurting his left ankle in the first session of training camp. In 2020, he returned to the Bengals and appeared in all 16 games, but the 6-foot-4, 210-pound receiver was more of an afterthought in the offense, with a career-low 523 receiving yards.
Green stated, “I enjoyed my time in Cincinnati.” “I’d never give it up for anything. In Cincinnati, I met some lifetime friends. But, alas, all wonderful things must come to an end.”
Green has a lot of juice left, according to the GM.
Despite Green’s injuries and decreasing numbers, Arizona general manager Steve Keim trusted in him and what he could provide the Cardinals.
Green’s one-year, $6 million contract was dubbed the worst free-agent signing of the offseason by Bleacher Report at the time. Alex Kay, a reporter, wrote:
While pumping the tires on Green makes sense for any competing club looking to add a veteran to its receiving corps, the price tag Arizona paid for a guy who hasn’t produced at a high level in over a half-decade is much too expensive.
Following a quiet two-catch, 25-yard performance against the Tennessee Titans in the season opener, Green has been more engaged in the offense, scoring against the Vikings and then leading the club in receiving against the Jaguars.
On Friday, October 1, Keim told Arizona Sports’ “Burns & Gambo” that it was “great to see A.J. have that type of day because of what we witnessed throughout camp.” “We saw a big, athletic receiver with a lot of energy left and were very enthusiastic about him,” says the coach.
Green has 10 receptions for 181 yards and one score in three games this season. Kyler Murray’s quarterback has found him to be an excellent downfield weapon. Green leads the Cardinals in receiving yards per game (18.1), and his four 20-yard receptions are tied for the most in the NFL this season.
In the Cardinals’ balanced passing offense, Green is third in receiving yards, as Murray continues to spread the ball around:
- Christian Kirk has 15 receptions on 17 targets for 239 yards and two touchdowns.
- Rondale Moore had 13 receptions for 184 yards and one score on 15 targets.
- A.J. Green had ten receptions (18 targets) for 181 yards and one touchdown.
- DeAndre Hopkins has 13 receptions on 16 targets for 158 yards and three touchdowns.
- Chase Edmonds had 16 receptions for 121 yards on 17 targets.
- Maxx Williams has 10 receptions for 113 yards on 11 targets.
Green added, “We know we have a lot of players that can make plays on the ball.”
So far this season, defenses have mostly concentrated on slowing down Hopkins, allowing Green and Arizona’s other pass catchers to enjoy huge games.
Green added, “(Hopkins) is a player who’s going to demand a lot of coverage and make it simple for us.” “We have to eat to loosen up the coverage for him when they’re bracketing him, double him.”