Posted on: October 24, 2010 4:18 pm
Posted by Josh Katzowitz
There’s little question that Chad Ochocinco has been the most polarizing Bengals receiver in the past 20 years. Two reasons: 1) he speaks his mind (for better or for worse), and he’s drawn hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines all in the name of entertainment; 2) he’s pretty damn good on the field.
With his eight-yard score late in the fourth quarter today against the Falcons, Ochocinco made the 65th TD catch of his career – all in Cincinnati – and he broke the club’s receiving TD record that had been held the past 11 years by Carl Pickens (grumpy, not so popular).
Sure, he made most of those touchdown catches when his name was Chad Johnson, but still, that’s a pretty impressive marker. Just think what would have happened if the Bengals had given in to Ochocinco’s demand for a trade a few offseasons ago. Well, he wouldn’t have set the club record for TDs.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: October 24, 2010 2:13 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2010 4:33 pm
Posted by Will Brinson
Kris Jenkins joined the CBS Sports gang on The NFL Today Sunday, and there weren't any questions about the Jets locker room behavior (Jenkins isn't scared to be blunt, so his opinion would have been interesting, but he's also a big, big man, and you don't want to make him angry, so there's that).
There was an interesting discussion of Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens who Jenkins doesn't believe "are serious about football". That will probably go over really well with the Bengals' wide receiver corps. Watch said exchange right here.
Posted on: October 22, 2010 6:20 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2010 6:54 pm
Posted by Josh Katzowitz
The Bengals were supposed to have one of the best receiving corps in the league. With the addition of Terrell Owens – no matter what you think of him off the field, he can still produce – joining Chad Ochocinco, rookie WR Jordan Shipley and rookie TE Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati successfully fulfilled its offseason mission in providing weapons for QB Carson Palmer.
Why, then, are the Bengals struggling on offense?
This week, we talked to Cincinnati receivers coach Mike Sheppard, who’s been in the organization for the past four years and who previously was the head coach at New Mexico and Long Beach State. We asked him about the addition of Owens, why Ochocinco has scored only once this year and what it’s like to be a Hall of Famer.
1. CBSSports : Coming off a loss and a bye week, you’re one of those teams that – and there are probably 10 teams out there like this – you’re not sure what you’re going to get out of them every week. You just don’t have any idea. Where are you guys right now?
Mike Sheppard : From my standpoint there’s still an adjustment with a lot of the players together. It looks like we have some better players, but in the passing game, in reality, Palmer is throwing to only one guy he’s seen before. Terrell, for all that he’s achieved, he’s still new here. We have a rookie tight end and a rookie slot receiver. For anybody, there’s always that adjustment period. We’re still going through it.
CBS : Obviously, you can’t put a number on how long that lasts, but you’d like to think – we’re in the middle of October – that at some point soon, that adjustment will get to where you want it to be.
Sheppard : Yeah, I think so. It has to happen soon. Everybody is aware of it. Everybody is working hard to continue to play together and learn each other better. Sometimes you can’t construct the experience in practice that they’ll see in a game. It’s a matter of playing together. I think we get a little better each time. It’s a matter of being able to put it all together.
2. CBS : There was a lot of talk in the offseason about Owens and whether anybody wanted him. For a long time, nobody did want him. I know he worked out here(in the offseason, and he was just OK. But now that he’s been here, he seems to be playing well.
Sheppard : He’s been great for me.
CBS : Tell me about that whole thing. I know there was some trepidation in the organization about signing him. It was between him and Antonio Bryant, and you guys signed Bryant originally.
Sheppard : The decision there was more about youth. They’re both good players. At that point, that was that decision. In the beginning, we all felt (Owens) would make us better. That’s been true. For me personally, he’s hungry. He listens. He wants to do it your way. He’s like Chad in both of those guys have had some success doing things that are instinctive. He’s been a hard worker. He’s been a player for us. So far, it’s just a matter of getting that experience with Carson.
3. CBS : How disappointing was the Bryant thing? The team sunk a lot of money into him, and he never got healthy.
Sheppard : All of us were. Not disappointed in him, but disappointed he never kicked that (injury). Now, he’s a football player. He has the right approach. He went hard. He talked, and he backed it up. He would have been an excellent addition if he was physically the player he was in the past.
4. CBS : Chad Ochocinco is struggling a little bit. He’s not getting the ball thrown to him as much as T.O. What’s going on with him?
Sheppard : If I’m not mistaken, he got 12 balls thrown to him in the first game. You look at that, and maybe it’s not so true. He’s had some chances. But things tend to come in bunches. In his case, he hasn’t had the same opportunities that he had that first game. Those are things where it’s a lot more about the opportunities. Everything has to be right to get the ball, not just have the play designed to go to you. It has to be right with the style of coverage they play. Sometimes we call the right play and get the wrong coverage.
CBS : Chad has been one touchdown away from breaking the club record for touchdowns for, like, six weeks. It’s bizarre he’s not scoring touchdowns. It just seems a little odd, because it’s been so prevalent the past six or seven years.
Sheppard : If you look at it, you’re going to be hard-pressed to remember any throws in the end zone to him. He’s the straw that stirs the drink here. He’s the guy that everybody knows we’re going to attempt to get him the football. They start with him (defensively). A lot of it is because they’re aware of Chad and what he’s doing.
CBS : The only one I remember is when Chad was going across the back of the end zone, and it was tipped or he missed it or something like that.
Sheppard : That was a hard deal, because the throw was supposed to go the other way. It can come back to Chad late, but the way it worked out was it was more of a quick scramble by Carson, and as Chad started to come open, Carson had to throw it before he knew where (Ochocinco) was going to be. So, he just took a guess, and it was a little bit overshot.
5. CBS : You went back to your high school last week because you were inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. Now, when somebody asks you if you’re a Hall of Famer, you can say that you are. Sheppard: It’s such a great honor, especially when you know how many people that were around you that were better than you. You know? Sometimes I think to myself if it isn’t more a recognition of professional achievement as a coach in the NFL.
CBS : You said all three of your kids were there …
Sheppard : Actually, all four were there.
CBS : But that’s got to be a pretty cool to be recognized for something like that.
Sheppard : It’s a great honor. It’s almost embarrassing from the standpoint that really, deep down, you ask how many others are more deserving than you. But yeah, no one will ever appreciate that honor more than I.
Posted on: October 22, 2010 5:26 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2010 6:23 pm
Posted by Will Brinson
There are eight divisions in football. You probably know that.
What you might not know is that there are 13 teams in first place right now. 13! That's the first time in NFL history that this many teams have been in first place six weeks into the year.
Want more proof that there's parity in the NFL? For only the second time in history, there are 21 teams with a .500 or better record -- which is bananas, frankly.
Not to mention Cincinnati and Minnesota at 2-3 and we have the three cellar dwellers of the AFC West kicking it at 2-4. (Granted, they're not within "striking distance" of .500, but they're just two games back of first place.)
All of that is to say, there are only four teams that you can reasonably say are finished six weeks into the year -- the Panthers, the Bills, the Browns and the Lions.
Even Detroit's got a shot given how topsy-turvy that division looks.
Of course, this isn't playing out with just shoddy football -- 51 games this year have been decided by eight points or less, which is equal to the third highest number through seven weeks since 1994.
Factor in that only two games this week have spreads of more than 10 points (nine games are your standard "three-pointers"), and it's pretty obvious that, right now, we have some of the most even-field-football going on in a long time.
Make sure to enjoy it.
Remember how the Atlanta Falcons gave up some big plays to the Eagles? Well, that's part of their "thing" -- they have a talented defense but one that's young and it can burn them if teams take shots downfield.
That could be problematic in Week 7, considering that Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco rank second and fourth, respectively, in active players with receptions of 40-plus yards.
Enjoy a good shootout? Like watching fantasy players pile up points? Then you should probably check out the Jaguars-Chiefs game. Jacksonville tops the league with eight 40-yard-plus passes allowed and give up an obscene 8.8 yards per pass to opponents, not to mention 263.7 yards per game in the air. KC's not that much better, having given up five 40-plus bombs and 249.4 yards per game through the air so far this season.
Of course, they haven't played Trent Edwards and/or Todd Bouman all year, though.
Neither the Jaguars or the Chiefs are so bad against the pass that they're on pace to "top" the most passing yards allowed per game since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, a distinction held by the 1995 Atlanta Falcons, who coughed up an average of 283.8 yards per game. The Houston Texans, Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks are all currently "better" (it's actually worse, but it's Friday, and we're feeling generous). Out of the three, clearly the Texans look the worst, allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 68.9 percent of their passes for 306.2 yards per game so far, with a QB rating of 106.3, 8.2 yards per completion and 14 total TDs to four interceptions. Things are very, very bad. We'll talk about whether they can keep it up next week, as they're on bye now.
But the Redskins and Seahawks are both playing, so it's worth questioning whether or not they can give up enough yardage to stay on pace. The Seahawks get Max Hall and the Cardinals, so it doesn't seem likely that they'll cough up 290 yards -- this is the same Cards team that upset the defending champs without scoring an offensive touchdown last week.
The Redskins get the Bears, who despite running a Mike Martz high-flying passing offense, are mediocre as mess this season, ranking 22nd in the league in passing yards per game at 192.8; Jay Cutler, as you may know, has been sacked approximately 342 times so far (okay, "only" 27), and he's thrown six touchdowns against three picks.
In short, it doesn't seem likely that either team will be close to the Texans after this week -- even if you tack on 50 yards t the Bears and Cardinals respective averages (because, you see, they're going against poor passing defenses) the Redskins end the week with 290.26 yards allowed per game and the Seahawks fall all the way to 276.10 per game.
If either one plays well, or Max Hall and Jay Cutler act like Max Hall and Jay Cutler, the Texans could be far and away up top for an amazingly "productive" season against the pass.
The Chargers are the top team in the NFL in terms of offensive and defensive yardage, and yet, have a losing record.
Is raw yardage an impossibly silly statistic to use in terms of gauging the best team in the NFL? Absolutely, although it's not usually indicative of a team that's 2-4.
In 2009, the Saints (Super Bowl champions) were the top offensive yardage team, while the Jets were the top defensive yardage team. In 2008, it was the Saints and Steelers (Super Bowl champions). In 2007, it was the Patriots (Super Bowl participants) and Steelers. In … well, you get where I'm going here, right?
Andy and I discussed the rarity of this in our podcast, but just how abnormal is it? Michael David Smith notes at the Wall St. Journal that only eight teams since the 1970 merger have ever led both offensive and defensive yardage in a week. Although out of those eight, several led multiple weeks, for a total of 18 weeks, but we're talking all-time great teams here, with the 1972 Miami Dolphins and 2007 New England Patriots in the mix.
Amazingly, Brett Favre doesn't already (by himself) hold a longevity record -- he and John Elway are currently tied for most games started in one stadium, with 118, which, by the way, is an absolutely bananas number when you consider that free agency exists, teams only play half their games at home and how hard it is to get even 16 straight starts.
Anyway, Elway obviously has all 118 of his at Mile High Stadium -- Favre, as you might have guessed, has started 118 at Lambeau Field.
All complaints about the drama surrounding Favre aside, it's still incredibly ironic/amazing that he'll break that record as a Minnesota Viking.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed
Posted on: October 22, 2010 2:36 pm
Speaking of the Titans…it’s now been one year since they started 0-6. Since then, they’ve gone 12-4 and, statistically speaking, been one of the most solid teams in all of football.
Chad Ochocinco sent T-shirts to some of the Falcons players this week. So, Roddy White responded with this homemade video. Guerilla trash talk, gotta love it.
Posted on: October 20, 2010 5:34 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2010 5:37 pm
Posted by Andy Benoit
Posted on: October 20, 2010 3:21 pm
Posted by Will Brinson
Rey Maualuga joined the CBSSports.com Football Podcast Wednesday -- just in time to discuss the changes in the NFL's policy for suspending and fining players for "big hits."
We got Rey's take on those changes (I don't want to speak for him, so you make the call, but he didn't sound particularly enamored) and what he'll do to adjust his game in light of the differences.
We also discuss what life's like in the Bengals locker room with Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco, how the Bengals are handling two straight close losses heading into the bye, and some of the stuff he's doing with Under Armour to help stay safe on the field.
Hit play and/or download below, and make sure to subscribe via iTunes.
If you can't view the podcast, click here to download.
Posted on: October 14, 2010 1:12 pm
Posted by Will Brinson
Got a link for the Hot Routes? Send it to Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
Tags: Albert Haynesworth, Alex Smith, Chad Ochocinco, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Colt McCoy, Dallas Cowboys, David Carr, Green Bay Packers, Greg Jennings, Jay Cutler, Jesse Holley, Mark Sanchez, Mike Singletary, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Tashard Choice, Tim Tebow, Washington Redskins