Jordan Shipley Injury: How Does Loss of WR Affect Andy Dalton, Bengals?

Andrea HangstFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 19, 2011

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 21:  Jordan Shipley #11 of the Cincinnati Bengals reaches for a pas while defended by Reggie Corner #27 of the Buffalo Bills during the NFL game  at Paul Brown Stadium on November 21, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Bills won 49-31.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Jordan Shipley tore his ACL in the team's 24-22 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday and has been placed on injured reserve.

This is a major loss for a team that needs all the targets it can get for rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, who is still struggling to hit his stride with the Bengals.

Shipley had just one reception, for negative one yard, in the team's season opener against the Cleveland Browns. That production increased somewhat yesterday, with three receptions for 15 yards before being injured in the third quarter.

In two games this season, it is true that Shipley didn't look impressive, but considering his stats from 2010 (52 receptions, 600 yards, three touchdowns), it's clear he was to have a major role in the Bengals' passing offense throughout the year.

Now that duty will fall primarily on rookie receiver A.J. Green. Green, who had 10 receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos on Sunday, will have to get used to those 100-plus yard games if he hopes to help the Bengals put up wins for the rest of the season.

He will anchor the Cincinnati passing offense as a rookie being thrown to by a rookie, and this surely makes Bengals fans nervous. However, Green will be assisted by fellow receivers Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell.

Receiver Brandon Tate will also need to see more snaps, as will tight end Jermaine Gresham.

However, the meat of the Bengals' offense is its running game, and backs Cedric Benson and Brian Leonard will figure largely in replacing the yards that would have otherwise gone to Shipley.

The main concern about Dalton is his readiness to lead a professional offense. So far, he's managed to improve from a 10-for-15, 81-yard, one-touchdown debut to a 27-of-41, 332-yard, two-touchdown follow-up.

Though Shipley's loss is a major one for the Bengals, that there are capable receivers and a talented running back corps there to make up for it should lower the pressure on the team significantly.