A few hits in the hurry-up offense:
» Voting for the 10 finalists for the Bengals.com Hall of Fame ends 12 a.m. Thursday. We won’t deliver the results until after the April 28-30 NFL Draft. There is a lot ground to make up for the other 21 candidates trying to break into the top 10. Career scoring leader Jim Breech was holding down the 10th spot by appearing on 49.7 percent of the ballots. Tight end Bob Trumpy at 44.8 and head coach Forrest Gregg at 39.4 were 11-12.
» Published reports are saying Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green is visiting Paul Brown Stadium on Wednesday, a player that many, if not most, mock drafts ticket to the Bengals at No. 4.
So on top of quarterback Jordan Palmer’s assertion this week that the working assumption is wide receivers Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens are not coming back, it gets someone thinking.
The last time the Bengals took a receiver with the fourth pick was April 15, 2000 when they tabbed Florida State’s Peter Warrick and a few days later cut their all-time leading receiver, Carl Pickens. Yes, The Ocho is now their career leader, but they can’t cut him during the lockout and if they do want to move him (despite Marvin Lewis’ frequent roasts they still haven’t said) they would prefer to trade him.
Just for the heck of it, the inaugural Bengals.com Hall of Fame class had two first-rounders (Anthony Muñoz, Isaac Curtis), a second-rounder (Boomer Esiason), and a third-rounder (Ken Anderson). Of the top three vote-getters so far for this class, Tim Krumrie was a 10th-rounder, James Brooks was a first-rounder and wide receiver Cris Collinsworth was a second-rounder, although Brooks was obtained in a trade.
By the way, when his time comes The Ocho is a first-ballot Bengals.com Hall of Famer. Maybe Pickens would have put up his numbers if he had Carson Palmer and The Ocho would have had Pickens’ numbers if he had Esiason at the end and Klingler and Akili at the beginning. But this isn’t the Sci-Fi Channel. That’s not what happened.
» Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King tweeted Wednesday he sees at least six quarterbacks in the first 49 picks and maybe seven. Let’s see. That’s Newton, Gabbert, Mallett, Locker, Ponder, Dalton and Kaepernick has to be the seventh. Everyone seems to think he’s No. 7 and that Newton is No. 1 and Gabbert is No. 2. After that, it seems to be the eye of the beholder.
Published reports have Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden all over Dalton but some teams wonder about his arm strength. The Bengals have said they like Mallett’s rocket arm, but how they’ve computed it into a grade against his lack of mobility and off-field issues is anyone’s guess. As in, would they take any of the seven if they’re there at No. 35? Or would it have to be a select few or one? Given they’re taking Carson Palmer’s trade-me-or-mothball-me demand seriously, would they even take Kaepernick at No. 35? Even though he’s very raw and is coming out of something called the Pistol Offense and maybe couldn’t help you for two years?
Tags: Bengals.com Hall of Fame vote, Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco, Jordan Palmer, Peter King, Terrell Owens
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On pace to become the Bengals’ first 1,500-yard receiver, Terrell Owens is the fifth-leading receiver in the NFL when it comes to getting targeted for a pass with 61 targets, according to CBSSports.com. The Bengals play the league’s most targeted man this Sunday in the person of Falcons wide receiver Roddy White with 69.
Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who leads the league in catches with 45, has been thrown to 65 times, and Denver wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, the NFL leader in receiving yards with 663, is third with 64. Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who, like Owens, has played in just five games instead of six, is fourth but has fewer yards and touchdowns than Owens.
With 31 catches for 476 yards and a 15.4 average and two touchdowns, Owens is 10th in the NFL in yards. Only Lloyd has more yards per catch than Owens in the top five targets with 19.5.
The last time Owens felt he was being slighted, he went off for 222 yards against Cleveland two weeks ago in the second best game ever by a Bengals wide receiver in an effort he felt showed “general managers and scouts” that he has plenty left at age 36.
It may be time for another big one. In this week’s Sports Illustrated, 239 NFL players chose Owens as the league’s most overrated player with 14 percent of the vote. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (7%); Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (5%), Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (5%) and Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning (4%) round out the top five.
Owens is on pace for 1,523 yards, which would break wide receiver Chad Ochocinco’s club record of 1,440 set in 2007. And his average of 15.4 would be the highest since Chris Henry had 16.3 and The Ocho had 15.5 back in ’07.
The NFL’s only active receivers with at least 1,000 catches are on display Sunday in Atlanta. Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez has 1,026 catches, just 11 behind Owens.
Tags: 500-yard season, owens on pace for Bengals' first 1, Terrell Owens
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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.
Tags: Chad Ochocinco, Ocho, owens on all-time list, T.O., Terrell Owens
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Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens got open Friday morning before that night’s game against the Eagles at Paul Brown Stadium.
In an open letter to “Who Dey Nation” that appeared in Friday’s edition of The Cincinnati Enquirer, Owens thanked Bengals president Mike Brown for the chance to play and promised “focus stronger than you’ve ever seen it.”
“The Bengals are now my extended family and I look forward to learning more about your city, teammates, coaches and you all,” Owens wrote. “This is my home and I’m happy to be in the Midwest. I’m confident in our team’s chances of winning the title, so anything less than the playoffs is unacceptable to us. It will definitely take a fight but if my gut is correct, Who Dey Nation will be proud this season. I signed here for a reason.
“With hard work and unity, this team will restore power and respect. We’re focused on playing in Texas on Feb. 6. Just take a look at my calendar, the date is saved. Let’s make the Jungle roar this season! “
Before signing off, “Yours truly, Terrell Owens aka T.O. aka “I’m Batman!” Owens said he has “learned that life can be more challenging but I’ve matured.”
HOT SPOT: The roster wild card as the Bengals try to advance beyond the Wild Card is that running back spot they have to keep for injured Brian Leonard (foot).
With Leonard not expected to play until the second game of the year against the Ravens at PBS at the earliest, the Bengals have to keep an extra back to join Leonard, Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott. James Johnson would seem to have the edge because of his knowledge of the system, but Cedric Peerman has some moves. The Bengals coached him at the ’09 Senior Bowl and liked him but were wary of his ball security.
So where is the position where they go with one less? Probably not in the secondary, where the cardinal rule is six cornerbacks and four safeties. It would seem they have to keep just eight defensive linemen or just six linebackers. Keeping just two quarterbacks or just five receivers would seem to be a longshot, but…
It is still extremely early in the process when you consider they could be making key additions five days before the opener off the waiver wire. There have been seasons where they added a kicker (2003) and a backup quarterback (2007) that late.
Tags: roster, T.O. letter, Terrell Owens
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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.
Tags: T.O., t.o.newser, Terrell Owens
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GEORGETOWN, Ky. – We know that wide receiver Terrell Owens will be at an 11:45 a.m. Thursday news conference here at Georgetown College after taking the redeye from The Coast, but where will he be when he takes the field for the first time as a Bengal at the 7 p.m. practice?
In the slot or outside?
The Bengals are still piecing that together, but receivers coach Mike Sheppard says to look for him early on at the outside.
“Hard to say,” said Sheppard, when asked if Owens is a slot guy. “He didn’t play a lot of inside but he had a lot of patterns that worked inside. I think that’s what we’re going to find out about … we can move at his pace. We go fast in training camp but we don’t have to play him every down. We’ve got good players there . Hopefully we can get him up to speed as fast as he can learn it. Hopefully, we get him going outside and then we’ll see what he can do outside maybe.”
With Owens heading into his 15th NFL season and Sheppard coaching his 17th NFL season, the learning curve doesn’t figure to be steep. Sheppard figures it will be a review for Owens. Also figuring into this could be the health of Antonio Bryant. When the Bengals backed him off in late June when his knee flared up, they moved him back outside.
But not before they were very impressed how he handled playing the slot, a spot he had hardly ever played during his previous seven NFL seasons.
“He was adjusting and he was anxious to do it,” Sheppard said. “He knows in our structure a lot of catches come in there. His being familiar with the inside is going to help us.”
All indications are that Bryant is going to be on the field Thursday and the Bengals think he’ll be OK as long as they back him off. Sheppard has liked what he’s seen so far about his makeup.
“He’s got great toughness, excellent hands, very strong hands,” Sheppard said. “Press doesn’t bother him. He can fight through things and he’s competitive as heck.” …
Interesting that two former Bengals quarterbacks have offered their old club encouraging words about Owens. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Palmer’s backup in ’07-08, threw to him last year in Buffalo and immediately called Carson Palmer after the season to urge the Bengals sign him. And Turk Schonert, who would have been Owens’ offensive coordinator in Buffalo before he got sacked in preseason, loved him, according to Sheppard.
“I’ve worked with Turk and I trust what he sees,” Sheppard said. “He was high on him. Hard worker. Productive guy.” …
The most interesting thing The Ocho said Wednesday – besides saying that Owens is the new No. 1 receiver – is how different they are as players. Owens is such a physical guy that The Ocho says he’d be injured by the third game if he played like that. But he plans on taking notes on what Owens does after the catch. The Ocho is coming off his best season getting yards after the play, but he admitted it’s been a weakness.
“He’s one of the best in the game ever,” The Ocho said of YAC, and he thinks seeing it up close instead of merely on film will help.
Tags: Antonio Bryant, Chad Ochocinco, finding t.o., Terrell Owens
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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.
Tags: future, T.O., Terrell Owens
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With our fellow newshound Chad Ochocinco reporting that Terrell Owens is joining him, you have to wonder about smoke and you have to wonder about fire.
As the good folks at ProFootballTalk.com have pointed out, The Ocho can get a little carried away on Twitter. What we do know is that there is no deal. But we also know there has been a lot of smoke in the last 18 hours and where there’s smoke…
What seems to be going on is that Owens and agent Drew Rosenhaus are going into overdrive to get Owens into a training camp by the time it starts. The Bengals have a good relationship with Rosenhaus and they, no doubt, are being polite and taking each other’s calls about a number of issues. After the Bengals signed Antonio Bryant in March, the club moved on but never ruled out Owens and Rosenhaus thanked the Bengals but never ruled them out, either. Both said it was unlikely.
Now with the camps right around the corner, it seems as if taking a phone call is as good as a contract. But it’s not. Not yet. Will it? As we said earlier, things change. The guess here is that if it happens, it is going to be before the Bengals report to Georgetown on Wednesday.
The evidence still suggests more smoke than fire. While Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, like any NFL head man, isn’t beyond throwing up some deceptive flares, he was asked this week point blank about T.O. and he said he’s not looking to add at wide receiver.
Privately, the Bengals are saying they’re not looking to do it. They would prefer to give the shots to kids like Jerome Simpson and Dez Briscoe and not turn to a 36-year-old when they have a 32-year-old receiver on the other side.
And while the Bengals coaches have been very impressed with Owens on film last year with the Bills and believe he can still run, he doesn’t provide the greatest fit for a roster that is looking for at least a punt returner and maybe more from its wide receivers on special teams. But then again, cornerback Adam Jones could be the punt returner if the Bengals think they can count on him.
And, hey, special teams is special teams. In Owens, you’re talking about a guy that has scored more touchdowns than anyone playing.
Could the Bengals sign him? Could they change their minds?
Sure. Go back to 2008 when they had no plans in July to re-sign Chris Henry in August. They didn’t know that Chad Ochocinco and Andre Caldwell would get hurt in a preseason game and be sidelined for a few weeks. Or that T.J. Houshmandzadeh wouldn’t practice all camp with a hamstring problem. And it turned out that Simpson was no match for a quick transition from Division II.
So, yeah, it could change.
Maybe they never thought Owens would still be sitting there.
We know that T.O. didn’t burn any bridges when the Bengals opted for Bryant. Word was his heart was set on joining a big-time quarterback and his good friend Ocho and when it didn’t happen he was quite emotional. But he sent a very classy tweet thanking everyone in the organization, starting from the top with Bengals president Mike Brown.
It could also not change.
We will soon know. If both parties want to do it, they’ll want to reserve a bed at Georgetown for him.
Tags: T.O. talk, Terrell Owens
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