In what should be a shock to no one, new Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson thinks Cincinnati has the top quarterback (Andy Dalton) and wide receiver (A.J. Green) tandem in the NFL.
“I think they’re the best in the game in my opinion,” Jackson said. “I know people will fight that and say differently, but I’ve watched these guys and these guys have grown. They came in together. They started off hot, they’re still hot. Every year statistically, they’ve gotten better.”
Jackson appears to have a case. Green has the most career receptions by a receiver in NFL history through their first three seasons with 260 and has racked up more yardage each year with the Bengals. However, I wouldn’t say they have gotten better each year.
The Dalton to Green connection resulted in 1,426 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2013, but also 12 interceptions, good for a 73.9 passer rating. And that’s the lowest it has been over the three-year span.
So if Dalton/Green isn’t the best QB-WR duo in the league, who is?
It’s tempting to say anyone in Denver who catches passes from Peyton Manning, such as Demaryius Thomas. From 2011 to 2013 Manning to Thomas resulted in 185 completions for 2,863 yards, 24 touchdowns, three interceptions and a first down 44.7 percent of the time for a passer rating of 123.0. But even that is low compared to what defenses have to deal with when they play the Green Bay Packers.
Since 2011, Aaron Rodgers has thrown to Jordy Nelson 224 times and has completed 158 of those passes (70.5 percent). They have produced 2,683 yards, 26 touchdowns, three interceptions for a passer rating of 143.9. Plus, they have needed eight yards on average for the first down and have moved the chains 51.3 percent of the time.
There are other good candidates of course: Tony Romo to Dez Bryant in Dallas, Matt Ryan to Julio Jones in Atlanta, Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson in Detroit plus Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall in Chicago. But all pale in comparison to what Rodgers to Nelson has done over the past three seasons.
Note: Tight ends were excluded from this study.