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The Ocho Declares Uno "Better," In So Many Ways At Bengals Training Camp Stop

Chad Johnson (left) with Bengals boss Katie Blackburn
Chad Johnson (left) with Bengals boss Katie Blackburn

First of all, Chad Ocho Cinco says Uno is better than him.

Second of all, Chad Johnson says it's now up to the creativity of the Bengals' brain trust to keep defenses from shutting down Ja'Marr Chase.

"Consistency. You always want to be more consistent. But after doing something like that your first year, that's phenomenal," Johnson said before Monday's practice at training camp.

Johnson came to town so he could sit down with Chase and NFL media for a breakdown of the generations eight months after Chase broke The Ocho's Bengals records for yards in a game with 266 and yards in a season with 1,455.

As rambunctious and rowdy as Johnson was about how his own greatness when he played, at 44 years young he is graciously passing the baton. Not the tweets. But the baton.  

"I'm not one to really live on records or what I've done in the past," Johnson later told "I was just more so having fun. I really didn't care about that stuff.

"He's much better in many different ways than I am. Especially with the ball in his hands. He's really, really good with some of the things he's been able to do. If that was me in that position, I would have made a business decision and went down. Back then, they were looking to knock my head off. Now everyone is a little reluctant to hit based on the rules. But he's much better in many areas."

For those a few years older, Johnson compares Chase with the ball in his hands to Steve Smith, a five-time Pro Bowler from his era.

"You never knew what he was going to do," Johnson said.

The Bengals are making good on their offseason vow to move Chase around. For instance, slot cornerback Mike Hilton has noticed he has been inside 'a lot more." Johnson, more of a 190-pound welterweight, never ventured inside. But he applauds the move. The 205-pound Chase is more of a physical cruiserweight.

Johnson and Julio Jones are the only ones in NFL history to win four straight conference receiving yardage titles. Johnson says Chase can do it, "but it's going to be hard. They know he's coming at them. It depends on the offensive coordinator's creativity."

Johnson realizes he and Chase are two different receivers. Johnson was bionic quick and disappeared off the line in an elusive blink. Chase has late acceleration deep, along with the ability to stun people in space with devastating yards after catch. And he's got a physicality The Ocho didn't have.

"The slot (helps) because you can only do so much in the slot," Johnson said. "You can't double in the slot. If you do double him in the slot, then Tee or Tyler (Boyd) is going to kill you. Whoever is on the other side.

"I think I could have with my quickness," Johnson said of the slot. "But it just would have been uncomfortable. I'm just being honest. It would have made me uncomfortable … The things he can do with the ball in his hands, I just can't do them."

The middle-aged Ocho has gone from boasting to reflecting. "I was great in my own way. Very entertaining in what I did." But he also knows, "Any record I accomplished here can be broken."

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