Not exactly Masterpiece Theater, is it?
The Ocho’s dating show, “The Ultimate Catch,” debuted Sunday night on VH1, with Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco cutting his field of 85 women down to a very sweet 16. Congrats to the Ocho for making a niche outside football, but we still like to watch him best on Sunday afternoons.
It began in the Rose Bowl with drills like trash-talking and end-zone dances. It ended 90 minutes later with The Ocho seeding the women one through 16 to set up the rest of the series. I already forgot the name of the top seed, but I am keeping up with his tweets and it sounds like his boxing workouts are as intense as ever as he vows to be in top shape for the upcoming season.
As last month’s minicamp broke, one of his fellow receivers wondered if The Ocho would save him one. But there were no Bengals and no Cincinnati girls.
That’s about all you need to know, except that T.O. tried to get a phone number from one of the girls and The Ocho still let her advance.
More than anything, to me at least, the show got the wheels turning about the competition at the Bengals wide receiver spot. The only way they can keep seven receivers is if they kept only two quarterbacks and that is a longshot unless J.T. O’Sullivan or Jordan Palmer totally implode in preseason. And they have shown no signs of that.
So figure six, and nothing has changed since last month with everybody on the bubble but The Ocho, Antonio Bryant, Andre Caldwell and Jordan Shipley.
The public backlash against Caldwell has been sharper than how the coaches view him. They think he came back in excellent shape and played faster than any of the receivers in the spring, in large part because he’s so comfortable with the offense in his third season. The guy plays all three spots, is physical, and can run. Maybe he’s not one of your top two receivers, but you just don’t throw away guys like that, either.
There is concern about Bryant’s knee, which knocked him out of a couple of the last minicamp practices after he worked all spring. But the thinking is he’ll be OK because they’ll back him off. He did play last year on it after he missed the first month of the season and while he caught just 39 balls in the middle of the Bucs quarterback mess and coaching snafus, they still like the fact he averaged 15.4 yards per catch. So look for him only once in the two-a-days, and he’ll probably get some Fridays off once the season starts.
But it is not really six they’re cutting to. It is five that are going to be active on Sunday and three of the guys conceivably have to help them on special teams. That would not appear to be Matt Jones, Jerome Simpson, or Terrell Owens for that matter.
You have to think the closest Batman and Robin will come to teaming up this year is this past Sunday night. The money, the fit, the age (36) makes less sense than when T.O. visited back in March
The fifth guy could very well be punt returner Quan Cosby. Shipley might be able to do it, but if he plays a bunch from scrimmage he’ll need help and Cosby is merely coming off the Bengals’ best return season in 25 years.
It is hard to see both Jones and Simpson making it. But you could also see either one getting a spot because they do provide the best deep threats beyond The Ocho. The edge would have to go to Jones over Simpson because of his experience and the fact that the Bengals could use his college quarterback skills in some kind of Wildcat.
You’d have to think the favorite for the sixth spot is sixth-rounder Dez Briscoe. He didn’t do much in the spring because of hamstring problems, but the kid was 20 when they drafted him and he worked enough that they were impressed with how smoothly he ran routes. He’s got good size, speed, and has the big upside, as they say. If they try to get him to the practice squad, you have to assume somebody takes him off waivers.
The Ocho and Briscoe are bookends of eras. Briscoe became a Bengals fan the week Chad Johnson guaranteed a victory over the undefeated Chiefs. Dez was 14. The Ocho has since taken that Joe Willie moment from nearly seven years ago to the next level and you have to take your hat off to him. He’s become bigger than big. You’ve got to credit him for realizing that disgruntled superstar (2008) doesn’t cash as well off the field as a smile and nine touchdowns (2009).
But the real Ultimate Catch would be The Ocho handing down his DBs knowledge and line-of-scrimmage experience to a kid like Briscoe that grew up watching him play. Chad would have no problem with that. We’ve known for more than seven years that Chad will talk to anyone willing to listen.
They’ve got a date.
Tags: Briscoe, Ochocinco, ultimate catch
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