Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco will be sharing the field this season dressed in Black and Orange. No, it’s not halloween… It’s for real. But add Antonio Bryant to the mix, and a Carson Palmer who is healthy and anything like he was a couple seasons ago, and the Bengals passing attack could be pretty scary.
As a Buffalo Bills fan, I got to see up close last season a player with just ridiculous statistics reduced to a mediocre (at best) offensive threat. T.O. had his share of drops, sure, but more often than not he just wasn’t even thrown to. He had a string of 185 consecutive games with at least one reception broken in week three last year, without the Bills even making any sort of effort to help him extend that.
But the best part—the part people don’t give him enough credit for—is that T.O. never complained.
This loud mouth, egotistical, selfish, locker room cancer came to a team that was simply a disaster (from a head coach who has never won, to a mediocre group of players, to record-breaking injury lists) and he never had any sort of “incident”, which he is so often accused of having. And not just “having” but starting. If anything, after the streak mentioned above was broken in week three, and the Bills were beginning their typical slide toward a sub-par season, the media were the ones trying desperately to try to get something controversial and cancerous from T.O.
But nothing came.
Owens didn’t have the season he wanted to have with the Bills, but I contend it had little to nothing to do with him. Vanilla offense, executed poorly by not just under-talented players, but really, unprepared players. Sure, you can blame the coaches, but one of the biggest problems for the Bills last season was that many of their injuries occurred on their offensive line. Their line was just a complete shambles last season, and it showed. It showed in the QB carousel that ensued. And it showed in T.O.’s stat line.
He did, however, manage to set a new Buffalo Bills record for longest TD reception with a 98-yard catch hauled in against Jacksonville. So now the Bills’ record books show:
LONGEST TD PASS: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to WR Terrell Owens
As odd as that will seem in a few years to Bills fans, try and take a guess who held the previous record. (Hint… you won’t be able to guess! Answer here…)
But even knowing the circumstances that surrounded his statistical drop-off, NFL GMs and other personnel decision makers hesitated on signing T.O., or didn’t even bother to inquire in the first place. Even the Bengals, who signed him yesterday, were hesitant. They decided to sign Antonio Bryant earlier this year, instead of Owens. (Now they have their icing on the cake?) It was definitely at least mildly shocking to me. The man, though 36 years old, is astoundingly physically fit. He can still do everything he needs to in order to be at least very good at his game, if not great.
So it’s good to see T.O. finally signed, just in time for training camp. Watch out for the Bengals this year, folks! Last season they rode an opportunistic defense to the playoffs … this season they have the firepower on offense that they had a couple years ago. Maybe more. Carson Palmer handing off to Cedric Benson (who had a pretty great season in 2009) and Larry Johnson, or throwing it downfield to his choice of Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, Antonio Bryant, or Reggie Kelly. They will give their defensive-minded division foes all they can handle, for sure.
What are your thoughts on T.O. going to the Bengals? Good move for Cincinnati, or should they have passed on T.O. like everyone else apparently did?