In Friday night’s 17-6 preseason win against the New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green was on the field for just 17 snaps.
That number is three fewer than the amount of times he watched the tape of a particular snap, the one where a pass from Andy Dalton went through his hands in the end zone on second and goal.
“I ran that play back 20 times,” Green said. “It hit my hands and right off. It was a great ball. Hit me right at the hands.”
Jets All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis had the coverage on that play and most of the others, holding Green without a catch in his two series on the field.
Monday morning before practice, Green still was lamenting the drop.
“I don’t like to drop anything,” he said. “Once it hit my hands, I feel like I got to catch everything. It was good to get back out there (for practice Sunday) and catch the balls some. But it’s still in the back of my mind.”
Safety Taylor Mays returned to practice Monday after leaving Friday’s game against the Jets with a head injury and missing Sunday’s practice.
“Paul (Sparling, Bengals trainer) did a good job getting the doctors in to see me,” Mays said. “I was cleared (Sunday), but I just had to make sure I didn’t get any headaches. They took a lot of precautions.”
Mays was hurt early in the second quarter making a tackle on Jets rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill.
“I was trying to hit him in the chest and he kind of went low,” Mays said. “I think I actually hit (Bengals cornerback) Terence Newman, so he’s the one who really knocked me out.”
Mays said he was eager to get back to practice so he can be ready for Thursday night’s second preseason game at Atlanta, where he will get a chance to renew acquaintances with Falcons tight end and future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez.
“We played them my rookie year when I was in San Francisco. I had man coverage at the end of the game with like two minutes left, and he beat me on like a third-and-five,” Mays said. “It was the first game I started.”
With BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Bernard Scott not expected to play Thursday in Atlanta, the backups will have plenty of chances to audition for a backup spot on the 53-man roster.
The Bengals already know what they have in Brian Leonard, a third-down specialist entering his sixth season. And Cedric Peerman showed his value on special teams last year and last week, recovering a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown against the Jets.
The two players with the most to prove are Aaron Brown, a free agent who spent two seasons in Detroit, and Daniel “Boom” Herron, the Bengals’ rookie sixth-round pick out of Ohio State who missed a portion of minicamp and OTAs with a foot injury and the first part of training camp with a hamstring issue.
“He’s only had a couple days of real practice under his belt,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said of Herron. “Going forward he will get a good opportunity to play a little bit more. A running back needs opportunity and a chance to get a feel for it and go. He has to have the ‘physicalness’ to play at this level, and he’s now getting an opportunity to exhibit some of his skills.”
Regarding Brown, Lewis said: “He has shown great burst and athleticism. He’s obviously done it when we had the practices and team periods. Now we have to turn it on to the live fielding against the opponent.”