Know the enemy: Saints on Bengals WR A.J. Green

METAIRIE, La. -- Cornerback Keenan Lewis called him a "Hall of Fame guy." Quarterback Drew Brees called him a "freak" and a "stud." And safety Kenny Vaccaro said he's the most complete receiver in the NFL.

The New Orleans Saints have never played against Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green. But obviously they've been impressed with what they've seen from afar in his stellar four-year career.

Green has 4,214 receiving yards and 32 touchdowns in just 53 career games played since being drafted fourth overall out of Georgia in 2011. He's caught a TD pass of more than 70 yards in each of the past three seasons.

So far the only thing that has slowed the 6-foot-4, 207-pounder has been a toe injury that sidelined him for three games last month. But Green has slowly but surely been getting back on track over the past two games with a total of six catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. And the Saints will be prepared for Green's best when they host the Bengals on Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Here's what they've had to say this week:

CB Keenan Lewis (who faced Green for two years when he was with the rival Pittsburgh Steelers): "One pass, I just knew he was going out of bounds, and I've never seen anybody leap as high as he did. You can't take no plays off with him. ... You better watch for him every play. He's a dangerous guy. …

"Another tall guy who can go up and get it at the highest point. A very savvy guy who knows how to read defenses. Very quick to be so tall -- you usually don't catch guys that big and quick -- and just a good athlete. He's definitely one of the top in the league. He's up there with Calvin Johnson and those guys. He's a Hall of Fame guy. He'll be there one day."

Lewis, whose status is uncertain because of a knee injury, on how he relishes these matchup opportunities: "When you have an opportunity to go against the best, it just lets people know where you are. I feel as though me personally, I don't get the recognition that I deserve. … I don't want to float my boat -- but when you have the opportunity to go against the best, people start to recognize that. And I'm always up for the challenge."

S Kenny Vaccaro: "Man, he's elite. I remember watching him on Rivals, him and Julio (Jones) coming out of high school, and I was just like, ‘Wow.' He can do it all. He's the most complete receiver, to me, in the NFL, as far as being tall, go get the ball, but his routes are so crisp, he's quick and he's fast. I think he's the most complete. He's shifty. His weakness is maybe he's not as big as the other (top-rated) guys, but that's truly like his only weakness. He has great hands, great routes, nothing (more) I can say about this guy. Kind of like Julio."

Coach Sean Payton: "You can see the difference of when they have him and when they don't. He's explosive, he has outstanding hands, catching radius. He's one of those top receivers you've gotta pay attention to."

QB Drew Brees (who didn't draft Green when Brees was a Pro Bowl captain last year): "That's the best part about the Pro Bowl. No. 1 is just kinda the personal side of it, you get to meet some of these guys that maybe you don't know a lot about. And you look forward to seeing these guys in person, like, ‘Man, look at this dude run, look at this dude jump.' There are some special athletes over there. And he is one of them. He might be one of the best. He's a freak.

"He was on our board, he was on our board. We just didn't have the chance to get him. But yeah, he's a stud."