A.J. Green may be "the best wide receiver in football,” Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday.
Now Harbaugh is counting on his secondary to find a way to contain the second-year receiver in the regular-season opener next Monday night at M&T Bank Stadium.
"He’s a great one, man, so we really have to be prepared for him,” cornerback
Stopping big-play receivers like Green was a struggle for the Ravens during the preseason. Atlanta’s Julio Jones torched Baltimore for 109 receiving yards and a touchdown and Detroit’s Calvin Johnson put up 111 yards and a touchdown.
The suspect play of the Ravens’ secondary during the early preseason contests didn’t give Green any more confidence heading into Monday’s matchup.
"It’s the preseason, so I take note of it, but in the back of my head it’s still a preseason game,” Green said Wednesday during a conference call with the Baltimore media.
Green is coming into the season after an impressive rookie campaign where he racked up 65 receptions for 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns on his way to earning a Pro Bowl nod.
But in his one game against the Ravens – he sat out the Week 11 matchup because of an injury – Green had just two catches for 26 yards. He now gets another chance against a team that held him to one of the worst showings of his rookie season.
"I feel like I have nothing to prove,” Green said. "I just go out there and play my game and when the ball is thrown my way I try to make the play.”
Green, 6-foot-4, 207 pounds, will have a size advantage over any cornerback that the Ravens decide to match up against him. That combination of size and speed is what makes Green such a dangerous target.
"Incredible athleticism,” Harbaugh said. "You throw a ball anywhere near him and you don’t think he’s going to be able to catch it, and he finds a way to go grab it. He’s got an amazing catch radius.”
The respect between the two sides is mutual, as both Green and the Ravens sang the praises of their opponent.
Green called Webb "one of the best all-around football players in the league” and Webb said that Green "is becoming one of the top receivers in the game.”
"I respect him, he respect us,” Webb said. "But we know on Monday night it’s going to be a dogfight, it’s going to be a challenge for me, a challenge for him. We just want to win and I know he wants to win."