Considering just how well A.J. Green and Andy Dalton clicked in their 2011 rookie season, the notion that Green was the only mouth to feed in Cincinnati seemed true.
The Bengals came into 2012 with a very good chance of capturing a coveted AFC North, but offensive coordinator Jay Gruden seemed rather handcuffed by a lack of offensive weapons.
While the team did bring in running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis to replace grizzled veteran Cedric Benson, it was a lackluster receiving corps that needed to step up.
Green finished last season with 65 catches for 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns, making his case as one of the league's rising stars at the wide receiver position. Andy Dalton, the sole beneficiary of Green's top-notch season, completed 300 of 516 passes for 3,398 yards and 20 touchdowns.
While Jermaine Gresham was a good safety valve in 2011, he didn't make much sense as the team's No. 2 receiving option.
Enter Armon Binns and Andrew Hawkins.
Two lowly touted receivers entering the season, Binns and Hawkins have combined for 365 yards and three touchdowns on 24 catches in three games.
Binns, a physically imposing target at 6'3" and 210 pounds, is a very solid possession receiver who just makes sense opposite A.J. Green as a split end.
Conversely, Hawkins is a smaller, slot-type receiver who had had success as a vertical threat early on. While the pass catcher has a number of deficiencies in his game, he's been a very solid player for the Bengal offense and should continue to make big plays.
Who will have a better career?
The play of Binns and Hawkins has opened things up for A.J. Green this season. After being held to five catches in the first game of the year, Green has logged seven and nine in his last two contests respectively.
Just last game against the Washington Redskins, the Bengal wideout put up nine catches for 183 yards and a touchdown.
With their signal-caller Dalton playing well so far this season, look for Cincinnati to continue lighting up the scoreboard this season behind a young offensive core.
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