Ravens strong safety Bernard Pollard issued a warning along with his complimentary words about Cincinnati Bengals Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green heading into Monday night's season opener.
Green is the Bengals' most dangerous downfield threat, one of the better young receivers in the league. At 6 feet 1, 225 pounds, Pollard is an intimidating enforcer in the middle of the Ravens' defense.
“I think A.J. Green is a really special talent," Pollard said. "The guy can go down the field, he can go across the middle. But, when he goes across the middle, he has to see us. And that’s not taking anything away from him, but this is what we live for.
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"When we see receivers come across the middle, if we are in the right defense, we are going to smack you, and we are going to let you know that you came across the middle on the wrong team. Having said that if you miss him, he can hit a home run."
As a rookie, Green recorded 65 receptions for 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns with an average of 16.3 yards per catch.
Fast and surehanded at 6-4, 207 pounds, Green provided an instant go-to guy for quarterback Andy Dalton during his rookie season. The former first-round draft pick from Georgia was particularly dangerous on the road, where he caught 39 passes for 603 yards and five touchdowns.
He wasn't successful, though, against the Ravens last season.
Green missed the first game against the Ravens last season due to an injury, and was limited to two catches for 26 yards and no touchdowns in the regular-season finale in Cincinnati where Baltimore won the AFC North division title last season.
"He has a special gift, and I think [Bengals coach] Marvin [Lewis] has done a great job as far as getting guys in there to help Andy," Pollard said. "We just have to be ready. We don’t know what’s going to happen yet, but we know they are going to test us. We know that anytime a team steps in here, we are going to get their best shot. I don’t care who it is. They can have no wins, we are going to get their best shot.”