Ocho flips the switch

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on May 3, 2010 – 8:38 pm


The Ocho hasn’t been this graceful since he caught that six-yard touchdown pass from Carson Palmer for the AFC North title as he was going down on his back against the Chiefs.

After showering partner Cheryl Burke with a raft of gifts on her 26th birthday (the diamond heart necklace has the tongues wagging),  Chad Ochocinco logged his highest score of 25 on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars in all but wrapping up another shot next week.

The Ocho finally sold his most harshest critic this side of Marvin Lewis when judge Len Goodman gave him a nine for the waltz because of his “fluid arms.”

“I don’t know why, but for some reason tonight, it clicked. I was able to flip the switch,” said The Ocho a few hours after the show. “For the first time I felt like I do on the field. I had that same swagger. That same confidence.  It’s about time. I’ve been working so hard, I feel like it’s been paying off.”

Goodman declared that he will remember “May 3, 2010” as the day Ochocinco became a contender.

“To hear that from a professional dancer was big thrill,” Ochocinco said.  “I’ve got my competitive juices going.”

If it was a game?

8-137, 2 TDs.

And he is thinking about football, too. He says he’s getting up at 5 a.m. to lift and run. He got a text from Lewis telling him No. 1 pick Jermaine Gresham looked good at rookie camp. Ochocinco says he’s still on last year’s sked, when he came into the on-field workouts in mid June.

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Of WRs, Rodney, and age

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on May 3, 2010 – 12:41 pm

A few musings on the rookie camp just completed:

» Now that Marvin Lewis has confirmed he’s talked to the agent for Pacman Jones, what is the next step?

Apparently Jones didn’t have a great workout when he was here back in February or they would have signed him, so if they are serious they would no doubt bring him back for another look see.  It would seem like they’ve already got four cornerbacks and two punt returners. So if they end up signing him it will only be because he worked out again and it would have to be off the charts, wouldn’t it?

But, who knows, maybe then it would be worth it.

» The wide receiver thing really gets interesting with sixth-rounder Dez Briscoe. Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski put the heat on everybody when he said it’s a free-for-all after The Ocho and Antonio Bryant.  And  right now you’ve got no idea how it’s going to come out and probably won’t until Labor Day.

That class of ’08, second-rounder Jerome Simpson and third-rounder Andre Caldwell,  is going to be feeling the scrutiny. Simpson is a longshot to make it, but you have to feel that Caldwell showed enough last year in crunch time in the slot that he should be very much in their plans

But the addition of Bryant gives them huge flexibility because he can also play the slot. If a guy like Briscoe or Matt Jones come on playing the outside, that could get intriguing.

Plus you know Shipley is going to make it. But is he going to be the third receiver in the slot, or the fourth or fifth?  It was Shipley who knocked Bengals receiver Quan Cosby out of the punt return job at Texas and could he do the same here and knock him off the roster? You’d think if Shipley is one of the three receivers playing a lot, they wouldn’t want him returning punts and Cosby would have a life. But what if he isn’t?

And what if Briscoe takes what Bratkowski says to heart and drops the 10 pounds while continuing to look like he did in what amounted to his only practices before he tweaked his groin?

Bottom line is we have no idea. It is to be played out. But you would think by the time the dust clears they’ll have three good receivers and a good punt returner.

» Why does rookie tight end Jermaine Gresham remind me of Rodney Holman?

He’s got the same serious, don’t-get-in-the-way-of-my-job demeanor. Rodney doesn’t suffer fools and this kid strikes me as the same you-can-count-the-consonants way.  But once you get to know Rodney, the guy’s a great talker, funny, smart, honest, but it takes awhile.

I think Gresham is the same kind of guy. He guards his privacy and doesn’t dole out his trust very easily. Fine with me. I think it’s great. It shows the kid has some substance to him.

And, yeah, he plays the same position and if can play it as well as Holman, he’ll make Carson Palmer a very happy man.  With his size and the way he moved around this weekend and caught the ball, it all  made you think of Holman, too.

» With a May birthday, I never feel as old during the year as I do when public relations stalwart P.J. Combs hands me the rookie camp roster.

Two guys born in 1989? Wasn’t that just last Thursday? I swear I just heard Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire” in the car.

(Why, by the way, do they play the same 40 songs on classic rock stations? And nothing after 1982?)

But what really gets me is Mike Windt, the University of Cincinnati long snapper via Elder High School.

My son long snapped against Windt in a Division I state playoff game in 2003 when Anderson head coach Vince Suriano dared take his Kurt Shoemaker-Matty Mullenaux Redskins into “The Pit.”  Just like he does now over at Mount St. Joe, Vince is one of those few guys that can beat more with less, so you know they gave them a good game. They got into the red zone about four or five times, but couldn’t come up with enough points to stop the Panthers’ march to the state title.

Never saw that Friday night game. That was Lewis’ first year here and he started taking the team early to the West Coast. So I was in Arizona trying to pick up the game on the Internet and trying not to throw up on the laptop. From what I remember, no bad long snaps in the Windt-Hobson duel.

Now the only thing they have in common is they’re both getting out of school and in the next few weeks are going to job interviews. My guy is getting out of grad school and heading to the Big Apple. Joe Windt’s kid is coming across town to put his resume in front of special teams coach Darrin Simmons.

I wish them both well as I steady my cane.

(You always  go to the kids for advice. I was thinking about writing a story built around the two kids. How they snapped against each other in a long-ago game and now one is headed to the real world and one is headed to the world all kids want to try.

“Nah,” my kid told me. “You know how you’re always saying that no one cares about what you do or think and they just want to read about the Bengals? They don’t care about me, either.”

Well played, kid.)

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Remembering Karm

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on May 3, 2010 – 10:04 am

Lions defensive line coach Bob Karmelowicz came out of Miami and the college game to the Bengals and the NFL with his hair on fire (he did have reddish hair) nearly 20 years ago and never stopped coaching at the optimum level of animation and passion.

Karmelowicz battled illness for years with the same toughness he demanded of his players and when he died Saturday at 60 of nasal cancer one of the NFL’s great players paid him homage when Vikings defensive end Jared Allen told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune he was “a major influence” on his career.

Karmelowicz coached Allen in Kansas City and his other stops included Houston, Washington and Detroit.  But his first pro job was on head coach Dave Shula’s staff in Cincinnati in 1992. Well aware of his resume at the University of Miami (where he taught a guy named Warren Sapp the position), Shula put him with defensive coordinator Ron Lynn. After two seasons Lynn took Karmelowicz and linebackers coach Mike Haluchak to Washington.

“I can’t say enough good things about Karm. He was an outstanding defensive line coach,” said Bengals director of football operations Jim Lippincott, who also joined the Bengals in ’92. “He had no problems coming from the college game and he became one of the great ones. A great motivator. He was also very good at personnel. He was a good scout. A very talented man.”

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