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Tag:Jermaine Gresham
Posted on: October 22, 2010 6:20 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2010 6:54 pm
 

5 Q's (or more) w/ Cincy WR coach Mike Sheppard

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: September 12, 2010 10:13 pm
 

Ochocinco, Owens odd behavior beginning already

Posted by Will Brinson

The only reasonably acceptable solution to dealing with Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens is mediocrity. If they win too much, the celebrations will overwhelm us. And if they lose, the negative energy will engulf us.

Proof of the latter came on Sunday when Owens and Ochocinco weren't present for the Hail Mary attempt at the end of the first half. Marvin Lewis was asked where Owens was responded by saying he was "being looked at" without any more discussion.

"That's our business, OK?" he said.

Owens himself was either a) confused, b) refusing to talk, c) angry, or d) all of the above.

"Coach said he would address that," he said when asked by reporters why he wasn't on the field.

Reporters continued wondering about his whereabouts, and he continued to become more of a), b), c) and d) until he finally dismissed them. Ochocinco wasn't much more helpful, telling reporters that, "Everything I have to say, Terrell will relay for me."

Perhaps they don't think anyone's familiar with the term "triangulation," because this is a pretty classic case of it. Or maybe they're in denial.

Or maybe, just maybe, they built up expectations for their season by talking nonstop about Batman and Robin and then when they found out that they're gonna need Superman to be an elite AFC team, they just got a little upset.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: September 2, 2010 3:45 pm
 

Ochocino buys dinner for 64 lucky fans

Posted by Will Brinson

Yesterday, Chad Ochocinco started tweeting about people meeting him at a restaurant in Indianapolis, claiming that he would buy the first 64 people there dinner. He followed up on that ... by buying 64 fans in Indy dinner.

The dinner at St. Elmo's Steakhouse , was also funded for the Bengals. Regardless, it was popular.


Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio spoke to Todd Wright of Sporting News Radio (who has a "source" at St. Elmo's apparently) and he relayed the news that Ocho "was very cordial and took great care of employees."

This isn't going to be a one time event though: Ochocinco announced on his Twitter feed that he planned on meeting up with fans in every city that the Bengals traveled to, "especially" New York and Atlanta.

Needless to say, this whole slew of public goodwill events are going to be immensely more popular than Chad's touchdown celebration idea for Week 1, which he announced on, duh, Twitter: "If i am able to score Week 1 in New England i will be taking the Minute Men rifle and firing as they do when the PATS score."

Don't get me wrong -- that would be pretty awesome too, just not likely to be as popular with the league.
Posted on: September 2, 2010 2:44 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2010 2:45 pm
 

Madden '11 simulates the entire NFL season

Posted by Will Brinson



Putting too much stock into an EA Sports simulation of Madden 11 is pretty aggressive -- I won't fault you for not doing it. But that doesn't make the simulation any less interesting, does it? Exactly, and since you already I enjoy the super cool world of virtual sports based on my review of the game , here's a quick breakdown.

Last year, Madden had the New England Patriots winning the Super Bowl, with Tom Brady garnering MVP honors. Other playoff "teams" included Pittsburgh, Tennessee, San Diego, Philadelphia, Arizona, Atlanta and Chicago (who all won their division) and the Colts, Ravens, Giants and Panthers sneaking in as wild cards.

To recap quickly: whoops.

Anyway, Aaron Rodgers is the star to watch, as he wins MVP and gets the Packers homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Same deal with the Ravens, who win the AFC North. New England, Indianapolis and San Diego are the other AFC division winners, while the 49ers, Cowboys and Saints win the other NFC division spots.

In terms of the wild card, Minnesota (who actually ties with Green Bay for the best record in the NFC at 12-4) and Atlanta are the winners in the NFC, while the Texans and Jets secure wild card spots from the AFC side.

In other words, nothing crazier than what a lot of people are thinking.

Terrell Suggs takes home Defensive Player of the Year, Joe Haden wins Defensive Rookie of the Year and Jermaine Gresham wins Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Some interesting individual performances that people might care about include Greg Jennings having a MONSTER year (102 catches, 1438 yards, 13 TDs), Owen Daniels finishing as the second-best TE in the league, Jerome Harrison rushing for 1235 yards and 9 TDs and Darrelle Revis snaring seven interceptions.

Of course, EA doesn't have teams dealing with holdouts or players struggling back from injuries (like Daniels).

Still, that shouldn't stop you from putting the deed to your house on an "Aaron Rodgers for MVP" prop bet in Vegas.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: August 17, 2010 8:39 am
Edited on: August 17, 2010 8:41 am
 

Could the Bengals be bailing on Antonio Bryant?

Posted by Will Brinson

That notion seems silly. After all, the Bengals JUST signed Antonio Bryant, the former Buccaneer who was their prized free agent addition on the offensive end, at least until the team landed Terrell Owens anyway.

But Bryant has yet to even start running for the Bengals -- Owens is already cheaper and actually on the field participating in football. Which may be why Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network has heard that it's a "distinct possibility" that Cincinnati will attempt to cut Bryant loose and reach a settlement on the four-year, $28 million contract that they gave him over the offseason.

Remember, Bryant's dealing with a left knee injury that's been an issue for about a full year now -- which makes one wonder how exactly he managed to bypass any examinations offered by the Bengals' medical staff. You know, the ones they usually administer before handing out multi-million dollar contracts?

Provided that the Bengals DID want to cut Bryant loose, they'd probably have to pay him on the high side of the $10 million that they guaranteed him with the contract; after all, even though they didn't completely overload his contract with guarantees and they could just cut him, it's going to take at least close to that amount for Bryant to walk away from a pretty sweet deal.

Given that Cincy has TO (and Jermaine Gresham and Jordan Shipley and Andre Caldwell) in the fold with Chad Ochocinco though, it wouldn't be that surprising if they decided they no longer needed to deal with the headache that Bryant's been thus far and tried to negotiate some sort of deal with the wideout.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: August 8, 2010 6:23 pm
Edited on: August 8, 2010 6:52 pm
 

2010 Hall of Fame Game Preview: 10 to watch

Posted by Will Brinson


All due respect to Christmas, this is the most wonderful time of the year. Why? Because, well, football's here people. Hope springs eternal right now for nearly every team in the league, and for everyone who loves Sundays the way they should be enjoyed.

And though tonight's game between Cincinnati and Dallas isn't a regular season game, it's still the metaphorical starter waving his proverbial flag for us to get pumped for football. As such, let's run through 10 things to watch for tonight.

First things first, though: make sure to follow us on Twitter , so you can discuss all things NFL as the football season kicks off.

1. Terrell Owens' interaction with the Bengals
Obviously, Bengals fans are going to be interested to see how he fits in with the team. Certainly, timing between Carson Palmer and Owens will be of tantamount importance, but there's no reason to discount watching the defense as well; the Cowboys have a good idea of the damage that TO can do, and seeing the initial schemes that they throw at Chad Ochocinco -- based on Owens' presence on the other side -- will probably give a reasonable indication as to what he should see all season long (provided Owens doesn't prove to be a total non-factor throughout the year).

"I'm a playmaker," Owens said. "I know Michael Irvin has adopted that title, but that's what I do and have done throughout my career is make plays. The coaches know what I'm capable of once the ball is in my hands. They're going to get all of Terrell on the field."

Andy also makes an excellent point about Owens -- how will his demeanor be towards Tony Romo and the rest of the Cowboys throughout the game? More on this in just a second.

2. Who's carrying the Cowboys' weight?

As we detailed previously, Jones bulked up in the offseason, while Marion Barber lost a few pounds. There's a certain school of thought, expressed quite nicely by Will Carroll at SI.com , that adding pounds to certain body frames can actually be a bad thing.

"Health is a skill, one that linebackers try to take away with every hit. Jones' problem hasn't really been those kind of hits, but in holding together his own body. Bulk often is accompanied by a reduction in flexibility and any additional tightness is going to be even more risky for the tightly-wound Jones. It also isn't going to keep him on the field for his pass blocking either. (It's still bad.)"

Personally, I'm still high on Jones, but concern over someone who traditionally hasn't been able to stay healthy changing his body style (potentially for the worse in terms of health) is certainly understandable. Also understandable: wanting Tashard Choice to look good on Sunday night. He's definitely the third option for the Cowboys, but because of, well, Jones' health he's seen plenty of playing time in the past few years.

3. Cincy's other new weapons
Lost -- somewhat -- in the hype that is Batman and Robin are the signings of Antonio Bryant and Jermaine Gresham since the Bengals last took the field for meaningful football. Bryant won't likely be playing for the Bengals, but Gresham should. And considering that he's supposed to provide the high-end receiving option from the tight end position, well, Bengals fans should be curious to see how he performs, especially with a recent report that he "looked lost" not offering immediate enthusiasm.

Also of interest is the possibility of seeing double tight end sets out of Cincy -- 2009 third-rounder Chase Coffman (who won the John Mackey Award for the best tight end in college his senior year) will likely get some action tonight -- which, given the receiving talent at the position, could provide for some very interesting formations during the season.

4. Trickeration time?
It's fairly obvious that Owens and Ochocinco like attention. So do the Dallas Cowboys, duh. And since this is the first game of the 2010 season, it seems like a reasonably awesome moment to bust out some first quarter fanciness. If I had to put money on one thing, it would involve Ochocinco throwing a pass to Owens on some sort of end-around. If you've got better ideas, leave them in the comments.

5. Terrell Owens' interaction with the Cowboys
Yeah, I know. Giving the VH1 star TWO of 10 bullet points is kind of feeding the monster. So we'll add Pacman Jones and Tank Johnson too. Since, you know, all three are former Cowboys. That's not to say that we should expect TO to try and extract revenge on his former team. Or do we ?

"Do I think I probably should still be there?" Owens said about his time in Dallas. "Yeah. But that's not the case. You deal with that situation as it comes. I think a lot of people know there are some unfortunate things that happened there ... Again, I still stand by the things I said and what was done and I know it wasn't my fault.''

You may recall that Owens shamed the entire state of Texas by mocking the glory of the Cowboys' star. They temporarily forgave him when he joined the 'Boys for his run there, but considering how many Cowboys fans were in attendance to see Emmitt Smith's spectacular speech last night, would it be surprising to hear some boos for Owens? Of course not.

The only thing less surprising would be Owens abstaining from some action designed to rib Dallas' fans and players a little bit.

6. What do you know about pressure ?
Kickers are considered an afterthought for many people (and "idiots" by folks like Peyton Manning), but the reality of the NFL is that they matter. A lot.

Mike Nugent and Dave Rayner are battling it out in Cincinnati, while the unproven -- but quite brash -- David Buehler should be the guy to take the Cowboys through the season. However, kicking in practice and kicking in an actual game situation are two completely different things. And while preseason games might not matter much for first-stringers or guaranteed starters, for someone looking to lock down a job with an NFL team for pushing an oblong ball between two poles, performing well before the regular season starts is an absolute  must. (Quick update: Looks like THE NUGE isn't bringing his leg to the field today, so it's up to Rayner to try and not look stupid in kicking action for the Bengals tonight.)

7. Will Doug B. Free?
To not worry about his job stability, that is. Doug Free takes over for Flozell Adams on the left side of the line in Dallas, and the reason Adams is gone is that Wade Phillips (and presumably Jerry Jones as well) was confident enough in Free's ability as a blind-side protector to make the move.

Whether Free wants it or not, that's an ample amount of pressure on him. And while Alex Barron wasn't signed in the offseason to compete with Free, he's still there, which only adds to the pressure. Free's been very good in camp thus far (his first two snaps excepted), but that performance would be worthless if Tony Romo got decapitated on the first play from scrimmage.

8. The Big Backup D
Wade Phillips has already said that Jason Hatcher "needs to play anyway" while calling Marcus Spears' 4-6 week injury a "good opportunity" for Hatcher. That's true, and with 8.5 of the Cowboys' 42 sacks from 2009 on the mend, it'll be interesting to see how Hatcher can step in and play. Optimistically, the Cowboys won't need him immediately, but optimism isn't always warranted.

Additionally, Sean Lee won't see time tonight, which means that Jason Williams and Victor Butler should get plenty of backup-LB action behind DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Again, you don't WANT to use them, but finding out that your team is deep at an already strong position isn't exactly a bad thing. If they actually are.

9. Sack lunch
The Bengals defense was superb last year, with one exception: putting the quarterback on the ground before he throws the ball. They ranked 16th in the NFL with 34 sacks, but this year should be different. As Pete Prisco noted in his love/hate for the Bengals camp tour , the line has a lot of depth heading into 2010. The return of Antwan Odom, who was leading the NFL in sacks before he tore his Achilles' last season, is particularly beneficial. If they can generate more pressure on the quarterback than they did last year, it won't be hard to duplicate it. We just need to see that the depth is there.

10. Emmitt Smith's Interview
Another excellent suggestion from Andy -- who tweeted about it earlier -- because, if you recall Emmitt's speech from last night, he was wonderful. Shockingly wonderful, in fact, having memorized the entire lengthy speech, which he delivered without any of his trademark bumbling.

If you're Norby Williamson or George Bodenheimer, are you wondering "Where was that guy when he worked for us?" Because you should be. Smith's time as a commentator was a bit rough and he was an absolute gem as a speaker last night ... with a little preparation. It's worth seeing how he does when he steps back into the booth.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: August 2, 2010 5:30 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2010 6:49 pm
 

Jermaine Gresham agrees with Bengals

And then there were three ... unsigned first-rounders, that is, since Jermaine Gresham and the Cincinnati Bengals agreed to a five-year contract.

The news was broken by the ever-vigilant OchoCinco News Network , which in no way uses its connections with the Bengals and the NFL to get the scoop on stories.

Sarcasm aside, OchoCinco is correct in calling Gresham "another weapon" -- the Oklahoma product won't be the No. 1 option (or the No. 2, for that matter) on the Bengals, and his stats may not be obscene during his rookie season, but he's going to be a spectacular bailout target for Carson Palmer.

Say whatever you want about the nature of the personalities on the Bengals, but their offensive output should be improved this year, as teams are more likely to be punished if they double Chad Ochocinco.

Update (6:00 PM): Joe Reedy reports via Twitter that the deal is worth $15.85 million (and a max of $18.5 million) with $9.6 million guaranteed.

-- Will Brinson

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow  @cbssportsnfl   on Twitter   and subscribe to our  RSS Feed .



Posted on: August 1, 2010 3:36 pm
 

Only seven to go

And now they’re down to seven. Seven unsigned first-round draft picks, of course.

Now that, as the San Diego Union-Tribune reports this afternoon, No. 12 pick RB Ryan Mathews has signed a five-year, $26.65 million deal ($15 million of which is guaranteed) with the Chargers, 25 of the 32 first-round selections are officially members of their respective squads.

Those missing in action (or, more accurately, those who haven’t come to terms): No. 2 DT Ndamukong Suh of Detroit; No. 6 OT Russell Okung of Seattle; No. 9 RB C.J. Spiller of Buffalo; No. 10 DT Tyson Alualu of Jacksonville; No. 21 TE Jermaine Greshman of Cincinnati; No. 26 NT Dan Williams of Arizona and No. 31 DE Jerry Hughes of Indianapolis.

--Josh Katzowitz

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