First of all, the uncertainty surrounding Green’s status, in preseason practice and during each of the weeks leading up to the first couple of games, couldn’t have helped, although the South Carolina Gamecocks were in a similar predicament, yet they still managed to win the SEC East.
Secondly, Green missed all of the Bulldogs’ first three games against AQ-conference competition, and he played only part of the fourth such game, due to cramping in what was, for him, the first game of the season. In the fourth quarters of those four games, Georgia trailed by eight, was tied, trailed by one, and trailed by two, respectively. Could 60 minutes’ worth of A.J. have made a difference in any of those games? Absolutely, it could have. The ‘Dawgs probably wouldn’t have won all four if Green had been suiting up in silver britches, but it’s hard to believe Georgia would’ve lost all four with him in the lineup from start to finish.
Thirdly, if you want to know what A.J. Green is worth to a football team, just ask the Cincinnati Bengals. They think he’s the "total receiver," so much so that they’ve put their money where their mouths are by guaranteeing him $19.6 million.
At the end of the day, of course, it does not matter; last year’s Classic City Canines were statistically superior to their 2009 counterparts, but that did not make them a good team. The Red and Black couldn’t close the deal when it counted---or, more precisely, they could’ve, and didn’t---and the result was the worst case scenario, as Georgia came up short in literally every single-score game.
Before you get too depressed at the thought that A.J. Green will spend what would have been his senior season wearing an orange jersey with tiger stripes, pay heed to what Christian Robinson had to say about incoming freshman Malcolm Mitchell:
I’ve never seen anybody that could stop on a dime like he can. I mean, I love A.J., but A.J. never stopped like he can. He gets separation. A.J.’s got that speed and quickness, but I’ve never seen someone with the feet that [Mitchell] has, and just the separation he can achieve with his routes.
If you had July 28 in the pool as the day Tyler Dawgden would begin buying into the offseason hype about the Dream Team, thank Mitchell for making you a winner. Here’s hoping we all get to thank him for making the Bulldogs winners this fall.