It was 1st and 10 for the Bengals, on their own 43 yard line. As soon as Dalton snaps the ball, Ross takes off. As Ross is running downfield, he passes Vontae Davis and makes him fall down. Dalton throws Ross the ball. Dalton throws it a little behind Ross, and Ross slows down to catch it. In him slowing down, that allowed safety Jordan Poyer to catch up. Ross spins out of his tackle. While this happens, Vontae Davis manages to catch up. Ross jukes him out to the right, and runs left. Poyer now back in pursuit, Ross takes a hard step left, and cuts back right. That’s makes Poyer and Davis falls down, and Ross then jogs into the end zone.
Sounds cool, right? Well it looks cooler watching it, give it a look:
The term human joystick is correct here. How about Ross? After an embarrassing rookie year in which he only played 17 snaps, he’s looking to redeem himself. So far, this pre-season has been a step in the right direction. That touchdown was just not relieving for Bengal fans, but also for fans of the NFL rooting for John Ross.
Now that the Bengals have made it clear that Ross is a vital part of their offense, let’s look at how he can help them now, and what he potential to be.
Just in case you didn’t see from the play above, the Bengals want to use Ross as downfield threat. With his speed, you just have to do it. You just can’t ignore his speed. In him being a downfield threat, that also takes a safety with him. That helps the offense generally, as taking a safety out if the play opens up another target. Instead of having a safety on Green, Green could be 1 on 1. And we all know what Green can do when he has a chance to make a play. It could also make an opportunity for Eifert to make a play. It could take a safety out of the box, and give Mixon a little more room to run, which he needs badly, given how bad the Bengals run blocking has been. Overall, Ross being on the field makes the Bengals offense better.
In the quick game:
With Ross’s explosiveness, quickness, and great route running, it would be very beneficial for the Bengals to use him there. However, there is an issue with him doing that: his hands. Ross has never been the WR to showcase his talents by making big catches. Drops has been an issue for Ross all throughout training camp. Ross ran a quick slant on a 3rd and 4 play. Perfect release, great route, and the ball hit him and the hands, and then he drops it. Ross is just very inconsistent in that area. It’s something that will improve as his career continues, but in the mean time the Bengals need to be careful with him in that area. However, if he can consistently catch the short bullet passes, he can make even more plays. We’ve seen him catch them before, it’s just a matter of consistency.
For now, John Ross will be wide receiver 2. Bengals drafted him to take the pressure off of Green. Until Green leaves Cincinnati, Ross is going to stay as the 2nd wide receiver for the Bengals. He has the potential to be a number 1 wide receiver in the future, but he really needs to improve his hands.