Dalton-to-Green highlight of Bengals scrimmage

The best play of the night? A.J. Green made it, of course.

That’s happening almost every day now in Bengals camp.

Green made a diving catch along the sideline during an 11-on-11

drill Friday night, a prelude to Cincinnati’s scaled-back training

camp scrimmage.

It was the crowd pleaser.

”When you see one-on-one (coverage) with A.J., it’s going to

trigger something in you to take a shot down there,” rookie

quarterback Andy Dalton said. ”He’s a big guy, he’s physical and

he can make a lot of catches.”

He’s making the spectacular ones look routine.

The Bengals took Green with the fourth overall pick out of

Georgia, giving themselves a replacement for Chad Ochocinco. They

traded Ochocinco to New England for draft picks, making the rookie

their primary receiver.

He’s playing the part so far.

During an 11-on-11 drill against the starting defense, Dalton

was under pressure and simply threw the ball deep down the left

sideline, hoping Green could catch up to it. The receiver stretched

out and came down with the ball while landing hard inbounds –

easily the best play of the night.

It excited the fans. The coaches? Not so much.

”Every time he lands on the ground I’m like, `Oh, please, don’t

hurt your shoulder,”’ offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said.

”He’s a special guy. He’s fun to watch. Every time I see someone

lined up on him kind of 7 or 8 yards deep, I feel like yelling at

the quarterback, `Throw it to A.J.!”’

Green didn’t make a big deal out of it.

”It was a good catch,” he said. ”Not one of my best. I can do

that pretty much nine times out of 10. It’s nice making a big play

in front of my teammates.”

How could it have been better?

”I probably could have scored on it,” he said. ”I probably

should have stayed up and tried to run through it, but I chose to

dive. I was a little tired.”

The rest of the night was more humdrum by design.

The Bengals severely scaled back the annual camp scrimmage

because many of the players had practiced only once. Free agents

couldn’t work out with the team until Thursday because the NFL’s

new labor agreement wasn’t approved until then.

Usually, the Bengals give the ball to the offense and see how

far it can advance on downs. This time, they did only about 15

minutes of scrimmaging, running 18 plays in all from midfield.

Unlike previous years, nobody kept statistics.

Dalton, a second-round pick from TCU, is getting the first shot

at the starting job. He worked with the starting unit and got the

most snaps of the four quarterbacks during the scrimmage part of

practice.

Dalton has run most of the plays throughout camp, learning a

little more of the offense each day.

”Andy had another great day,” Gruden said. ”He was efficient

on third-down (plays), had some key completions, got the ball out

of his hand when he had to. He’s doing a good job of managing the

game so far.”

He’s in line to start the preseason opener next Friday in

Detroit.

”They’ve been giving me a lot of snaps, giving me the

opportunity to go out there and start everything off,” Dalton

said. ”I think they’re just trying to get me ready, get me looks

against the defense, and hopefully getting me ready for the

preseason game next week.”