Tag:Matt Jones
Posted on: December 17, 2011 8:15 pm
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Dunta Robinson on Jaguars WRs: '[bleep]ing jokes'

By Will Brinson

During Thursday's 41-14 loss, like much of the 2011 season, the Jaguars struggled to move the ball against the Falcons because Blaine Gabbert couldn't get the ball down the field. Part of that is Gabbert, but a bigger part of that might be a lack of wide receiver options available to Gabbert on Jacksonville's roster.

Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson would lean towards the latter and, in fact, he thinks that the current Jags receivers are "[bleep]ing jokes."

"Those guys are [bleep]ing jokes," Robinson said per Vito Stellino of The Florida Times-Union. "Those guys couldn’t get a [bleep]ing receiver if it hit them in the head."

Ouch. Robinson added that the Jaguars "haven't had anyone decent since Jimmy Smith."

That part is actually true -- the Jags leading pass-catchers since Smith retired in 2005 are Matt Jones (2006, 643 yards; 2008, 761 yards), Reggie Williams (2007, 629 yards), Mike Sims-Walker (2009, 869 yards), Mike Thomas (2010, 820 yards) and Marcedes Lewis (2011, 415 yards).

If you're looking for a description of "a motley crew," this is pretty much it, and that doesn't even take into consideration that a) Lewis is a tight end and b) Jones and Williams were monumentally busty first-round picks, one of whom is retired and one of whom is politely referred to as "currently a free agent."

So, yes, the Jaguars desperately need a talented wide receiver. But given the other problems they have on their roster, it seems more likely that they'll pursue on in free agency -- Vincent Jackson, DeSean Jackson and Dwayne Bowe will all be unrestricted this year -- instead of reaching for one in the first round.

Maybe then Dunta Robinson will be happy.

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Posted on: September 4, 2010 11:32 am
Edited on: September 4, 2010 9:23 pm
 

NFL cut day: updating the latest noteworthy moves

Posted by Andy Benoit & Josh Katzowitz

On this NFL cut day, we're monitoring all the media outlets and waiver wire action like a hawk so that you can make this is your one-stop shop for instant news and analysis on all the latest noteworthy cuts. Stay with us throughout the day.

Troy Williamson, WR, Jaguars
This isn't a hugely surpising move, because it never seemed that Williamson had a chance to make this team. The Jaguars are stocked with talented young receivers, and in the end, there wasn't a need for a former first-round pick who's had such a disappointing career (eight catched in the past two years with Jacksonville).

Dre Bly, CB, Lions
The Lions secondary has been brutal the past few years, and Bly was signed in the offseason to add a veteran presence. Bly wasn't that bad last year with San Francisco, but if he can't make a Detroit squad that's still in need of secondary help, that's not a real good sign for the health of his career.

Justin Hartwig, C, Steelers
He'd been the starter the previous two seasons in Pittsburgh, but along came rookie Maurkice Pouncey and took away his starting spot. Now, Hartwig's spot on the roster is gone. The team apparently had been trying to work out a trade for him but obviously failed to do so.

Spencer Havner, TE, Packers
Perhaps you haven't heard of Havner, who has recorded only seven catches in his two-year career. But reporters close to the team expressed surprise that Havner was sent packing, mostly because of his versatility and because he was decent-to-pretty good in so many different areas (receiving, blocking, special teams).

Max Jean-Gilles, OG, Eagles
This was an interesting transaction and didn't have much to do with his performance in the preseason. Since the Stacy Andrews trade occured after the 6 p.m. cutdown deadline, the Eagles had to cut Jean-Gilles to complete the 53-man roster. The Eagles are expected to sign him Sunday - Jean-Gilles is a vested veteran that doesn't have to clear waivers. Unless, that is, somebody else comes to him with a better offer.

Chase Coffman, TE, Bengals
The 2009 third round pick of the Bengals didn't see any playing time last year, because even though he was a strong receiver, he had tons to learn on how to block (he never really had to do it in college at Missouri). Though we didn't know it at the time, the first-round selection of Jermaine Gresham this year and the comeback by Reggie Kelly probably sealed Coffman's fate

Sam Aiken, WR, Patriots
He was the special teams captain for New England, and it appeared he had landed one of the final WR spots. But apparently his deficiencies as a WR were too much for the Patriots to handle. Plus, he lost his gunner job on special teams earlier in the preseason.

Derrick Burgess, LB, Patriots
He had a league-leading 16 sacks in 2005, and he was a Pro Bowler that year and the next. But his skills have steadily declined since then, and against the Giants in New England's final preseason game Thursdasy, Burgess was terrible. He couldn't defend the run or rush the passer. And if you can't do either, New England - which will struggle to rush the passer this season - doesn't want you.

Trent Guy, WR, Panthers
Not a big-name guy, but he's got a great story. In July 2008, Guy was shot in the back while leaving a nightclub, and he barely escaped paralysis and/or death. Read the complete story here on the Charlotte Observer web site. Alas, he'll likely end up on Carolina's practice squad.

Troy Smith, QB, Ravens
After signing Marc Bulger in the offseason, the Ravens shipped away John Beck and now have released Smith. The former Heisman Trophy winner had wanted a trade in the offseason, but the Ravens never got around to it. But who would take him? He's got speed but his accuracy is questionable, and he doesn't appear to have the tools to be an NFL starter. The Ravens will keep only two QBs on the roster for now.

Chad Jackson, WR, Bills

Thought to have first-round potential, Jackson was picked in the second round of the 2006 Draft by the Patriots. So far in his career, he's made exactly 14 catches. Jackson was out of football in 2009, and that's exactly where he's going in 2010 as well.

Kraig Urbik, OG, Steelers
A third-round pick out of Wisconsin in 2009, Pittsburgh expected big things out of the 6-foot-5, 325-pounder. But he had a rough preseason last year, and he struggled while adjusting to the NFL speed. He eventually lost his backup spot, and apparently, the Steelers - who even tried him out at center in the offseason - have no use for him anymore.

Tank Tyler, DT, Panthers
The Panthers gave up a fifth-round pick to get Tyler last season. He had his moments but, as was the case in Kansas City, he never put it all together.


James Hardy, WR, Bills
The 6’5”, high-leaping ’08 second-round pick has not been the same since blowing out his knee. The Bills were hoping he could capture the starting job vacated by Terrell Owens.


Rhys Lloyd, K, Vikings
He was brought in to be a kickoff specialist. Vikings likely decided he wasn’t worth the extra cost (perhaps because they’re already paying a little extra to that old guy playing quarterback). Ryan Longwell will be pleased – he didn’t want to give up the kickoff duties in the first place.

Jay Richardson, DE, Raiders
He was a starter a few years ago but has tailed off as of late. Teams should take a look at him, though. At his best, he’s one of the more impressive run-defending ends in football.


Will Blackmon, CB, Packers
The athletic but oft-injured cornerback/return specialist reached an injury settlement with the team.

Pierre Woods, LB, Patriots
We mention Woods only because the Patriots spent four years waiting for him to come around. Most non-achievers don’t last four months in New England. In the end, Woods never did come around. He was given an opportunity to work with the first unit last season, but in five starts he recorded zero sacks. (In fact, in four years total, he recorded just one sack.)


Chris Simms, QB, Titans
Known more for his name than anything. Would have been nothing more than the third-string option in Tennessee. Recent legal problems certainly could not have helped his cause. Titans will likely keep sixth-round rookie Rusty Smith as the No. 3.

Chevis Jackson, CB, Falcons
The competition for the starting cornerback job opposite Dunta Robinson has been so fierce that you forget about any Falcon corners being on the roster bubble. This explains the mild sense of astonishment we’re all feeling when we hear that Jackson, a third-round pick in 2008, has been waived. In his two years with Atlanta, Jackson mostly competed for reps at the nickel position. Jackson was never awful for Mike Smith; it’s a virtual guarantee that some team will quickly snatch him up.

Ian Johnson, RB, Vikings
By no means a big-name NFL player. But remember the Boise State running back who proposed to the cheerleader after scoring the winning touchdown against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl? This is him.


Matt Leinart, QB, Cardinals
What a disaster this whole saga turned out to be. Leinart is officially a first-round BUST. For more, click here .

T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Seahawks
Given that his $7 million salary was already guaranteed, the Seahawks basically said they simply didn't want the veteran wideout around. You have to figure attitude played a part . What else could result in the sudden release of a surefire 70-plus catch weapon?


Brandon Stokley, WR, Broncos

He was everyone’s favorite “scrappy slot receiver” before Wes Welker. But at 34 and having caught only 19 passes last season, he’s expendable. The Broncos have been impressed with Brandon Lloyd, and they figure to develop high-drafted rookies Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.
Note: Stokley has a groin injury and, according to Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post, is still working out an injury settlement with the club. He's been placed on Injured Reserve, but when that's healed, he'll be released.


Jarron Gilbert, DT, Bears
Remember the San Jose State draft prospect who jumped straight out of a swimming pool last year? That’s about all the athletic defensive lineman is known for. Gilbert was drafted in the third round last season but hardly got on the field.

Allen Barbre, OL, Packers
Barbre, a fourth-round pick in 2007, showed up dripping with raw talent. However, things never materialized. Barber was victimized as a starter early last season and was never much of a factor in the ongoing job competition at guard.

Myron Rolle, S, Titans
The sixth-round rookie Rhodes Scholar was a favorite of the coaches. However, he lacked the necessary athleticism to thrive in the NFL. If he wants to continue with football, he could probably sneak on to a practice squad somewhere.


Jarvis Green, DE, Broncos
Seriously!? Green signed a four-year, $20 million free agent deal with the Broncos in March. He was a key contributor for eight years as a versatile downlineman in New England’s 3-4 scheme. But in Denver, Green eventually lost his starting job to Ryan McBean; the Broncos must have felt he was too expensive to be a backup (Green wound up walking away $3.225 million). With Ty Warren out for the season, the Patriots may want to consider bringing Green back.

Michael Clayton, WR, Buccaneers
Clayton has had one of the most enigmatic careers in recent NFL memory. He caught 80 balls for 1,193 yards as a rookie but has failed to top 38 receptions or 484 yards in the five seasons since. Injuries have never been a factor. Coaches say Clayton is the most impressive player in practice each week, but on Sundays, he pulls a Houdini. Bucs GM Mark Dominik must watch a lot of practice, as he gave Clatyon a new contract with $10 million in guarantees just last year.


Pat White, QB, Dolphins
The biggest name to get the ax (or is it axe?...why hasn’t society agreed on one spelling yet? ) thus far. Talk about wasting a second-round pick. White suffered a bad concussion late last season and was rumored to be questioning his football future earlier this summer. He wound up competing in camp, but the Dolphins no longer had a need for him after retaining Chad Pennington and bringing in Tyler Thigpen. Running back Ronnie Brown can continue to be the wild cat ace.

Josh Reed, WR, Chargers
This was to be expected after the trade for Patrick Crayton. Both are underneath possession receivers; Crayton, however, is a bit quicker and has been more productive in recent years.

Dave Rayner, K, Bengals
This means Mike Nugent has won Cincy’s kicking job.

Shayne Graham, K, Ravens
The longtime Bengal was expected to beat out Billy Cundiff for the Ravens kicking job. Apparently he didn’t. Cundiff has the stronger leg.


Donald Thomas, G, Dolphins
Arguably the most surprising cut thus far today – not because Thomas is a particularly good player (he’s not), but because he’s a third-year pro who started 12 games last season. Thomas badly struggled with his footwork and was too much of a plodder at times. The Dolphins signed Richie Incognito and drafted John Jerry to fill the guard spots over the offseason. Looks like Cory Proctor will wind up being the top backup inside now.


Darrell Reid, OLB, Broncos
The veteran special teams ace was on PUP all preseason with a bad knee. Even with Elvis Dumervil on IR, Denver still saw fit to move on. This tells you Reid probably had little chance of physically being ready to play anytime soon. The coaches also really like soaring newcomer Jason Hunter.


Travis Fisher, CB, Ravens
Fisher’s NFL career has been hanging by a threat the past few seasons. The former Ram is an experienced veteran, but the Ravens saw no place for him after trading for Josh Wilson.

J.P. Losman, QB, Seahawks
Could be back to the UFL for the underachieving former first-round pick.


Willie Parker, RB, Redskins
It’s common knowledge that running backs hit a wall around age 30. Parker hit his last year at 29. Parker’s yards per carry had decreased every season in his career until 2009 (when he had very few touches with the Steelers). He was hoping for a resurgence behind Mike Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme, but with his speed diminished and body dinged up (injuries have hounded Parker the past few years), he couldn’t climb out from the fourth spot on the depth chart.

Brandon McDonald, CB, Browns
McDonald is best known for his disgraceful tweet about Terrell Owens earlier this offseason. Looks like his reputation will remain there for a while. McDonald’s playing career in Cleveland is over. He struggled mightily in man coverage as the Browns starting cornerback last season and was benched on more than one occasion. Throw in his flashy, irritating attitude and he became an easy player for Eric Mangini and Mike Holmgren to dump.

William Joseph, DT, Raiders
The 2003 first-round pick of the Giants could be on done for good. Joseph is 31 and has never achieved consistent success at the pro level. Then again, he’s been shuffled on and off the Raiders roster since 2008 – maybe this is just another shuffle. He was fifth on the depth chart at defensive tackle. The news here is that Joseph’s release could mean John Henderson makes the final roster. We’ll find out.

Matt Jones, WR, Bengals
The only thing he had going for him was a history of legal problems (which seems to be an attribute Bengals owner Mike Brown covets in a player). Jones is too lethargic off the line to be a quality NFL receiver. The Bengals found that out.

Patrick Turner, WR, Dolphins
Turner was a third-round pick just one year ago. The Dolphins thought they’d found the next Marques Colston. Instead, they found the next Joe Nobody. Turner never earned the respect of coaches and teammates.

Jon Jansen, OL, Lions
No surprise here. Jansen is a sagacious veteran, but at 34, he has reached his physical end. He was a major liability wherever he lined up last season.

Bear Pascoe, TE, Giants
Thanks to injuries to starter Kevin Boss, Pascoe spent a great deal of the offseason working with the Giants first team offense. Because Pascoe played in only four games as a rookie last season, he is eligible for the practice squad if he clears waivers.


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Posted on: July 27, 2010 9:24 pm
 

Bengals organization reacts to T.O. signing

T. Owens is set to join his new Cincinnati teammates at training camp Thursday (Getty). Chris Crocker doesn’t sugarcoat his comments. If he has a problem with somebody and a reporter asks him about it, he’ll say whatever comes to mind. He’s a reporter’s dream, because he doesn’t use a filter to water down his opinions. You never have to go off the record with the Bengals free safety.

After reports surfaced that Terrell Owens and the Bengals had reached an agreement on a one-year contract that will pay him a $2 million base salary and could give him as much as $2 million in roster bonuses, I wanted to touch base with Crocker. I knew if Crocker was unsure about his newest teammate – be it because Owens has lost some of his elite play-making ability or because Owens still has a crappy reputation – he’d let it be known.

I’d already raised my confusion about why Cincinnati would sign Owens, but to Crocker, it was clear. And not only does Crocker not have a problem with Owens joining the squad, he’s really, really excited about it.

“I think it’s great,” Crocker said. “It just shows we’re trying to do everything, and it will add another piece to get us to the Super Bowl in Dallas in February. We have so many other guys on the team that have had question marks beside them as far as character is concerned, but our locker room is as strong as it gets. If T.O. is half of the player he was before he went to Buffalo, that’s going to be a great thing for us.”

The Bengals, as has been well documented, have become a paradise for players needing second and third chances. The term “Betty Ford Clinic for the NFL” has been bandied about quite often. Cedric Benson needed another chance. Chris Henry needed one. Larry Johnson needed one. Tank Johnson, Adam Jones, Matt Jones, Dezmon Briscoe, they all needed one. The list goes on to ridiculous lengths.

But in the past couple seasons, the questionable character signings haven’t affected the team chemistry.

“There’s one common goal, and there’s not one person or one man who can divide our locker room,” Crocker said. “That’s to get to the Super Bowl. There’s enough strong personalities and we have enough strong leadership that we won’t allow a bunch of dissension. As long as you’re a good person and willing to show you’ll do right, that’s all that matters.

“There are enough guys in the locker room where we police each other. Everybody has egos and strong personalities but we have guys who know how to take somebody to the side and talk to them about what’s going on. We don’t let things go. We handle issues in house and we take care of it and move on.”

I still wonder, though. How will the Bengals split touches between Ochocinco, Bryant, Owens, Benson, first-round pick TE Jermaine Gresham and everybody else on the roster?

“That’s a good problem to have,” said Dave Lapham, former Bengals OL and the team’s radio color commentator. “It’s going to have to be a case of unselfishness. You can’t double-team everybody. It’s kind of like pick your poison. It’s always better to have that problem than not have any weapons at all. But it’ll be interesting halfway through this season if T.O. is tracking low and not on track to make his incentives. Will he get in Carson’s face? That will be interesting to monitor."

Not everyone was so impressed with the Bengals signing. Browns CB Brandon McDonald wrote on his Twitter page in what only could be considered a classy status update: “TO to da Bengals huh??? Yessss, another piece of (fill in the blank here) fa da Browns secondary to run a train on...”

But if you discount the words of a player whose teams have gone 9-23 the past two years, it still seems like it’ll tough for everybody to get along, especially if Chad Ochocinco or Owens or Antonio Bryant aren’t getting the desired number of passes Carson Palmer throws their way.

“At the end of the day day, Carson controls who gets the ball,” Crocker said. “He’s going to throw the ball to whoever is open. He’s not going to play favorites. We don’t play favorites on this team. Chad is always open. From his standpoint, he’s always open and he’s always going to bitch if he doesn't get the ball. That’s what receivers do. But I know T.O. is going to come in and make plays. I’m excited, I really am. It’s going to be a hell of a year.”

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: July 27, 2010 5:18 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2010 5:48 pm
 

Why do the Bengals want Owens?

T. Owens at the ESPY Awards (Getty). I’m still a little confused about the interest shown to Terrell Owens by the Bengals. I wrote Monday about why owner Mike Brown likes him – Owens is still a good receiver and Brown considers himself a redeemer – and the Cincinnati Enquirer has reported that originally, Owens wanted $6 million of guaranteed money.

Today, TMZ tracked down Owens, and he said, “I know what I made last year ($6.5 million), so we’re trying to maybe cut that half and see what I can work with. I’m flexible.”

But even if Owens – who, at this point, isn’t going to the Rams or the Jets – makes $3 million of guaranteed money and gets an incentive-laden contract, I don’t quite see how he fits in with the Bengals.

There had been speculation that No. 2 WR Antonio Bryant – who signed a four-year, $28 million contract in the offseason – continues to have knee problems, but when I asked coach Marvin Lewis about that Monday, he said, “It has nothing to do with Antonio. We took steps in the spring to put Antonio into different spots, so he could play inside and play different spots. It’s not reflective of Antonio at all.”

So, say Bryant is healthy. With Chad Ochocinco as the No. 1 receiver and Bryant as No. 2, would Owens be content as the No. 3? Considering Andre Caldwell played the No. 3 spot relatively well last year and considering rookie Jordan Shipley will see plenty of playing time, how much is left over for Owens?

One positive in Owens’ favor: the Bengals don’t have much of a deep threat, and the coaches feel Owens showed last year in Buffalo that he still has the speed to be effective on go routes. Perhaps, that’s one option for him.

But remember this, it’s not like the Bengals were flinging the ball all over the field last year. Before he was injured, RB Cedric Benson was near the top of the league leaderboard in rushing attempts. There might be more passing plays added to the playbook this year, but this still won’t be the Bengals of a few years ago when it was the Carson Palmer-T.J. Houshmandzadeh-Chad Johnson show.

If the Bengals sign Owens, he’s sure to make the roster. That would leave Quan Cosby, Matt Jones and Jerome Simpson fighting for the final spot. Is Owens better than the three of them? Yes, probably. But is he worth a new contract? I’m just not sure I see the point.

UPDATE (5:34 p.m.): Pro Football Talk is reporting that Owens has signed with the Bengals.

UPDATE (5:46 p.m.): The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy reports it's a one-year deal for $2 million base pay and with $2 million worth of incentives.

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: July 26, 2010 2:59 pm
 

Bengals serious about signing Terrell Owens

CINCINNATI – Bengals owner Mike Brown and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis haven’t always agreed when personnel issues arise.

Brown fancies himself a redeemer – which is why the Bengals always seem to bring in players of ill repute – while Lewis is constantly trying to keep a harmonious locker room with no single individual who feels he can run amok. The most infamous disagreement occurred in 2007 when Brown re-signed WR Chris Henry over Lewis’ public objections.

Today at the annual Bengals media preseason luncheon, Brown seemed excited about the possibility of adding Terrell Owens, saying he looked into Owens’ eyes when the two met earlier this year and came away convinced Owens could add to the team without taking anything away. Lewis, at least in months past, hasn’t seemed keen on the idea of bringing on another receiver that attempts to hijack all the attention of the locker room.

But perhaps QB Carson Palmer changed his coach’s perception last week when he worked out with Owens in California and called to give Lewis his positive report.

“Carson’s comments to me … let’s just say … they resonate well,” Lewis said. “I know when Carson has something on his mind when he calls me and I call him back from an unknown number and he answers. I know something serious was on his mind.”

The Bengals, it turns out, are serious about wanting to sign Owens – who also is attracting strong interest from the Rams.

“We’re talking with his representatives and with him,” Brown said. “When he was here, I met with him personally. Privately, he’s not the same as his public image is depicted. He’s a pleasant person. He’s a quiet person. I found him engaging. I do trust my own eyes on this sort of thing. If he chooses to come here, he could help our team. We’ll see how that plays out. It’s his decision.

“I judge him by what I see. There’s a lot of commentary about people who are in the public eye. Some of it is way overboard. Some it is because people don’t know the whole situation. Yes, people can make mistakes. It doesn’t mean they go on the rest of their lives making mistakes. They can get their ship pointed in the right direction. This is a 36-year old man. He’s been through a lot. He’s proven as a player.”

The Bengals, from a personnel stance, don’t really need to make this move. Owens wasn’t great in Buffalo last year – though, to be fair, Ryan Fitzpatrick was the one throwing passes his way – and the Bengals have plenty of depth in their receivers room.

Chad Ochocinco is No. 1 and free agent acquisition Antonio Bryant – who the Bengals signed instead of Owens – is the No. 2 receiver. At best, Owens would be the No. 3 threat, but it’s clear Andre Caldwell would try to stake his claim there. Plus, rookie Jordan Shipley, an inside receiver, was impressive in offseason workouts and is a lock to make the roster. Cincinnati also has youth at the position with third-year player Jerome Simpson and second-year player Quan Cosby fighting with Matt Jones for the final roster spots.

“Somebody is going to get stifled,” Lewis said. “There’s no way around that. It’s one of the difficulties of professional sports is that balance. What is the best thing for 2010 and long-range and trying to fit that balance together.”

So, why bring in Owens? Simple, Brown said. He’s still a good player.

“He changes field position,” Brown said. “He makes a lot of long plays, plays that win games. I’d rather have him line up on our side of the ball than the other side of the ball.”

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: June 22, 2010 11:50 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2010 12:03 am
 

Breaking down Bengals receivers

CINCINNATI The Bengals on Tuesday released WR Chris Davis, and though the team had signed him to a free agent deal in March, the transaction was not surprising. Not surprising in the least.

Cincinnatis receiving room, after all, is awfully crowded and awfully loaded with talent. Some deserving players will not make the 53-man roster, and after the final offseason workout of the year, Bengals receivers coach Mike Sheppard glowed with the anticipation of who hell work with when the season begins.

Theyve been challenged, Sheppard said. Its always fun to see how a group responds to a challenge.

Without Davis around, 10 receivers will vie for what should be six spots when the team breaks camp for the regular season its not impossible the Bengals would take seven receivers, but its highly unlikely. Of those 10, four are most likely locks Chad Ochocinco, free agent signee Antonio Bryant, third-round draft pick Jordan Shipley (perhaps the most impressive player during last weeks mini-camp) and Andre Caldwell who Sheppard pointed out was faster than anybody else at the position and who was invaluable at times last season.

That leaves Matt Jones, Quan Cosby, Jerome Simpson, Dezmon Briscoe, Maurice Purify, and Freddie Brown battling for the other two spots. Lets rank their chances of making this squad.

Jones: Hes tall, and he seems to have good hands. Plus, hes a former college QB, so when you want to pull out a trick play or two, hed be a good candidate. But his feet have been slow, and hes been out of the NFL for a year. Hes been solid, but not spectacular.

Cosby: His biggest strength at least, last year is his punt returning ability, as evidenced by his 11.9 yard return average and the fact he led the league in return yards (he also led the league, it should be noted, in punts returned). He began to have an impact in the passing game late in the season, but his height (5-foot-9) doesnt help. Plus, hell have competition at punt return with Adam Jones and Shipley on the squad.

Simpson: The second-round pick from 2008 has been a big disappointment for the Bengals hes been active for only eight of his 32 career games while making one measly catch for two yards. Simpson, knowing hell have a tough time making the squad this year, had a fantastic offseason, but there are still questions about how well he knows the playbook.

Briscoe: Until he missed much of the offseason with a groin injury, the coaching staff was really high on the sixth-round pick. His former receiver coach at Kansas called him the best receiver hed ever mentored, and his leaping ability is tops on the Bengals squad. Hes got some ridiculous highlights from college, but hes missed out by being absent for so many practices.

Purify: We dont know much about Purify, because hes only played five games in his two NFL seasons (hes spent most of his time on the Bengals practice squad). But hes a special teams stalwart, and last season, he provided the highlight of training camp by dominating SS Roy Williams quite a hard hitter himself in the Oklahoma drill.

Brown: If we dont know much about Purify, we know even less about Brown, except that the local scribes enjoy calling him Downtown Freddie Brown. Id be shocked if Brown made the roster.

So, my prediction for who makes the squad? Well, its tough to say before training camp, but the Facts & Rumors blog aims to please. Im thinking Briscoe and Cosby will make it. I could see Simpson making a run at a spot, but hed have to have an outstanding camp to have a shot. I don't think he'll play well enough to manage it.

--Josh Katzowitz

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com