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One if by T.O, Two if by Chad

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on August 25, 2010 – 5:44 pm

During Wednesday’s locker-room session, Terrell Owens said that Chad Ochocinco is the best wide receiver that has been opposite him since the incomparable Jerry Rice.

“It’s been awhile since I’ve had somebody of that caliber,” Owens said. “I played with Jerry Rice. He was at the top of the charts as far as being explosive and making a play anywhere on the field.  It’s been awhile and that’s not a knock on (any) of the guys I’ve played with.  You put our resumes side-by-side, there’s nobody out there that can really compare until you put Jerry Rice.”

Owens has it right because he’s going by the numbers. At some point during the Sept. 12 opener in historic New England, the Dynamic Duo should make some history themselves.

 One if by T.O.

 Two if by Chad.

Owens is 49 receiving yards away from becoming the third player in NFL history with 15,000, joining only Rice (22,895) and Isaac Bruce (15,208).

Ochocinco is 48 yards away from becoming the 33rd player with 10,000 yards and moving ahead of Eric Moulds on the all-time list.

When they both reach the milestone, the Bengals become just the second team in NFL history to line up a 15,000-yard receiver and 10,000 yard receiver at the same time. Rice teamed with Tim Brown in Oakland from 2001-2003.

Owens saw Rice pass the 15,000-yard mark his rookie year of 1996 when he was teamed with Rice and J.J. Stokes in San Francisco.


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Five takes

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on August 13, 2010 – 3:59 pm

Five observations:

1. BRADY BUNCH:  It would be nice if at some point Sunday night against the Broncos the Bengals’ first offense could do what the Saints and Patriots did in their opener Thursday night.

In his second series, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady led a 14-play, 93-yard TD drive that featured three throws of at least 20 yards. In his third series, quarterback Drew Brees took New Orleans 86 yards in 20 plays for a TD.   
 
With Carson Palmer, Cedric Benson, Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, and…well, that’s fairly comparable firepower, isn’t it? But note that the Saints had two three-and-outs before Brees had his scoring drive. And in his first drive Brady couldn’t convert a red-zone turnover into a touchdown and New England had to settle for a field goal.

It makes you start to think, “Why can’t they do that that?” but if you take another look it took each club about six or so snaps to get warmed up and that’s about all the Bengals had Sunday night in Canton.  So don’t hang them just yet, give them some rope. If they get close to a quarter and can’t score, then maybe you can start with the why-can’t-they-do-thats.

One interesting note about Brady’s 17 snaps as reported by The Boston Globe’s Albert Breer. All but three had Brady under center, including a third-and-14 play-action pass that resulted in a 16-yarder to Brandon Tate, a second-year receiver taken in the third round. Used to be you always knew where two things were located in New England. Brady would be in the shotgun and Paul Revere’s statue would be in the North End.  

But the Pats are changing gears, like the Bengals did last year. As Breer notes, they won’t ditch the spread, but they did come out in that first red-zone series with one back, one receiver and three tight ends (two of them prized rookies Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski) in an effort to become more balanced.

Yet you don’t hear anybody complaining that they’re taking the ball out of Brady’s hands. That’s what three Super Bowls get you. Bob Bratkowski, like offensive coordinators everywhere, gets continually ripped. But his ability to execute Marvin Lewis’ vision won them the division last year.
 
2. T.O. CAN STILL RUN: Maybe I’m nuts, but Terrell Owens looks closer to a No. 1 draft pick than a 36-year-old receiver at the end. I’m just basing that off what he’s done against cornerback Leon Hall in practice. Remember last year? Nobody ran past Hall last season with any consistency. He and cornerback Johnathan Joseph just don’t give up long balls.

Brandon Marshall’s longest catch against them was nine yards. Santonio Holmes’ longest catch against them in two games was 21 yards. The longest catch by a Ravens wide receiver in two games was 23 and they had none of 20 in one game. No Vikings wide receiver had a catch of 20 and neither did any Jets receivers in the last two games. The one
game Hall did get nicked was in San Diego on Vincent Jackson’s 34-yard touchdown catch.

So you’d have to say these two guys can play. If not at a Pro Bowl level then pretty close, and Owens, working on Hall’s side a lot of the time, has managed to get by a few times.

Virtually no one did that last year.

3. NO PANIC ON GEATHERS: The Bengals are trying to figure out what’s wrong with the foot of left end Robert Geathers and have put it in a boot. Word is the worst-case scenario is he might not be able to play until the regular season.

Perfect. The guy got worn down last season, barely ever coming off the field after an offseason he had microfracture knee surgery, and if he can get some time to chill now it probably would be the best thing that ever happened to him and second-round pick Carlos Dunlap.  Dunlap needs snaps. Drink plenty of fluids, kid.

4. FAVORITE ROOKIE: Got to like Vincent Rey, the rookie free agent linebacker out of Duke. He’ll hit you and ask questions later and apparently his comedy standup was the hit of the rookie show. He’s Queens all the way. Grew up in Far Rockaway. Went to Bayside High School. Likes the Mets instead of the Yankees, so you could like him based on that alone. Dad drives a subway train underneath Manhattan.
 
Of course it’s a longshot, but maybe the practice squad calls. Yet he doesn’t look out of place. He’s far from intimidated. It doesn’t look, as they like to say, that it’s too big for him.
 
5. TWO-WAY GO: Some of the reactions of moving linebacker Dan Skuta to fullback were interesting.

They didn’t just wake up after Sunday’s game and say, “All those who played fullback or tight end in high school, take one step forward. Michael Johnson, not so fast.”

They scouted Skuta as both a fullback and linebacker when he was coming out of Grand Valley State, sending both running backs coach Jim Anderson and assistant linebackers coach Paul Guenther to work him out.

And head coach Marvin Lewis was intrigued enough that he put Skuta in some offensive meetings this past spring in a potential backup role. Last Tuesday he said it was a good time to make the switch because they see Skuta as playing some linebacker and since he’s well-versed in the defense, they could take some time before the season to school him in the offense and see what he can do.

Even if starting fullback Fui Vakapuna didn’t get hurt it sounds like they would have done it anyway because Skuta can’t remember if Lewis came to him before or after Vakapuna dinged his shoulder.

So the move didn’t come out of left field.

One of the great differences between football and baseball:

In baseball, a guy moving from first base to left field merely has to change gloves and catch a few flies to change positions. But in football, a guy has to change his life and if it’s going to work it can’t be thrown together.


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T.O. aiming for night practice

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on July 29, 2010 – 8:20 am

GEORGETOWN, Ky. – Terrell Owens is still expected to be here for Thursday night’s practice, but his 11:45 a.m. news conference has been postponed after the club learned he wouldn’t be on the scheduled redeye flight out of California. It has been rescheduled for after the 7 p.m. practice.


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The future is now

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on July 28, 2010 – 5:17 am

In some ways, it is the anti-Bengals move.

In other ways, it is pure Bengals.

Either way, the Terrell Owens move shows a bunch of things: Just how much Mike Brown wants to win, how much influence Carson Palmer has, and just how rare speed and separation are among NFL wideouts that you have to find it in a 36-year-old physical freak.

Before 2007, Isaac Curtis, Tim McGee and Michael Westbrook were the only Bengals wide receivers to make a catch after their 30th birthday.  Since then, it has become a matter of routine.  The Ocho and T.J. Houshmandzadeh became the first 30+ starting duo ever in 2008 and for the third straight season the Bengals may line up with two Opening Day starters 30 or older at receiver as Brown and Marvin Lewis try to find weapons for Palmer.

One national media guy called Tuesday and said this looked like a Mike Brown move and I said it looked just the opposite because of the age thing. He likes his receivers young and fast, especially after Laveranues Coles showed up here last year with barely a pulse and Antonio Bryant is working overtime this year to rehab his knee. With young guys like Jerome Simpson and Dez Briscoe around, you’d have to talk him into it.

This thing was dead Friday morning. But when the Bengals got called by Owens and the coaches were clearly excited by what Palmer was saying about their workouts in California, a consensus began to build. And while Brown has made some moves arbitrarily, he has a long track record of going on consensus and relying on his coaches to push it one way or the other.

When Lewis emerged from his training camp staff meeting Monday morning with a thumbs-up,  Bengals vice president Troy Blackburn put together a proposal.

Owens fits the trend of the last couple of years: A player with baggage who has found a second chance in Cincinnati. The coaches liked Cedric Benson when he worked out. Mike Zimmer was sold on Tank Johnson and Adam Jones. Brown felt like the late Chris Henry could turn his life around.  And there are the one-time stars or high draft picks that have something to prove that Lewis loves, like Roy Williams, Chris Crocker, Dhani Jones and Rey Maualuga.

Owens’ age may not fit the formula. But like Chad Ochocinco said Tuesday night, “The window is open, let’s go.”

What was once one of the more competitive roster spots in camp is now almost moot. Six make it and we know the five that are going to dress on game day: The Ocho, Owens, Bryant, Bryant, Andre Caldwell and Jordan Shipley. That would seem to leave Simpson and Briscoe battling for the sixth spot that is deactivated unless something crazy happens. What to do with Quan Cosby, a very reliable punt returner?

That’s why they have camp, but it sounds like everyone wishes Sept. 12 were here right now with T.O. on the way.


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