Updated: 4-13-07, 1:15 p.m.
JohnsonChad Johnson knows. And he plans to work on it.
"I tail off (at the end of) every year. I don't know why," he said the other day after a media mob had parceled out his first sound bites of the season.
Here's a guy who is on Hall of Fame pace, a man who has led the NFL in receiving yards the last two (2,801) and three (4,075) seasons and in his streak of 76 straight games with a catch he has failed to grab more than three balls in a game just 11 times.
But five of those games have been in December, including back-to-back last season against the Colts and Broncos before a four-catch finale against the Steelers gave him nearly as many catches (10 ) as drops (four) down the stretch.
He had an 11-catch game in the division clincher and a 100-yard game to keep his team in the Buffalo loss in December of 2005, but he also had a two-catch game that month and only four catches and a big drop in the playoffs against the Steelers. He's had three two-catch games in the streak, all in December.
Before the final three games of '06, he was virtually unstoppable in the previous nine with 59 catches for 1,046 yards.
"I get too jacked up," Johnson said. "I just need to be the same all the time. I'm going to work on it, but I won't know how it will be until we get to the end of the year again."
After the finish in '05, Johnson said pretty much the same thing and he's still looking to channel his emotions. He says it's too early yet to be working on the finer points. But he does like the new offseason program offered by strength coaches Chip Morton and Ray Oliver with one of the features a set workout time each day by position.
"I hear Marvin (Lewis) has a lot of surprises for us," he said. "The regimen has changed already. Everyone has to work in their particular group, you can't come in when you want to. The receivers and the DBs, we all work together ... it's very competitive. Of course we're trying to outdo each other in everything we do."
TOP RECEIVING YARDS LAST TWO SEASONS:
Chad Johnson, Bengals, 2,801
Steve Smith, Panthers, 2,729
Anquan Boldin, Cardinals, 2,605
Torry Holt, Rams 2,519,
Donald Driver, Packers, 2,516
TOP RECEIVING YARDS LAST THREE SEASONS:
Marvin Harrison, Colts 3,625
Reggie Wayne, Colts, 3,575
*Courtesy Elias Sports Bureau
AndrewsJETS OUT: Word out of New York on Friday is that the Jets don't plan to sign Bengals backup offensive lineman Stacy Andrews to an offer sheet. Andrews, a restricetd free agent, visited the Jets earlier this week. Teams have another week—until April 20—to sign RFAs. Teams then have until the day before the draft—April 27—to match.
NO BLEDSOE: Before Drew Bledsoe announced his retirement Wednesday, the Bengals were one of his main options he was considering as the No. 2 to Carson Palmer. The man many wanted to become a Bengal in 2002 instead of Gus Frerotte decided that he didn't want to end his 14-year career as a backup.
The Bengals are still looking for another veteran to join Palmer and Doug Johnson, and they may very well take one late in the draft. Anthony Wright, last year's No. 2, has been scheduled to visit the Giants on Wednesday, according to a league source, but there don't seem to be any active negotiations with the Bengals.
JosephDEFENSIVE VIEW: One man's pick is another man's passion. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph, still seeking his first NFL interception, figures he dropped 10 last season during a rookie year he led the Bengals with 19 passes defensed.
But free safety Madieu Williams isn't exactly looking for interceptions as he recalled the 2005 team's NFL-best 31. Williams only played four games that season because of an inured shoulder, but came back last year to lead the defense with 1,265 snaps.
"We just had a lot of interceptions but we weren't a very good secondary as a unit and that's not to down the guys that were there," Williams said. "We really weren't that good. If you want to base us being good on interceptions then so be it. But as a whole I don't think we were that good and last year we pretty much just kind of played at the same level we did the year before. Except we didn't have the interceptions.
"I don't know exactly what we need to do to play better," Williams said. "I think we just have to make more game-changing type plays."
Joseph has really been hearing it from secondary coaches Kevin Coyle and Louie Cioffi for the interceptions lost ("Every time I walk through the office") and a DVD has been made of the closest calls, which numbers somewhere between 10 and 19.
"Concentration," Joseph said. "I wasn't looking any of the balls in. I'm working in the offseason catching balls here and there (using) the jugs machine."
TEDDY BALLGAME: Yes, Marvin Lewis was one of three head coaches to attend Ted Ginn's workout at Ohio State Wednesday along with
Scott Linehan of the Rams and Cam Cameron of the Dolphins, according to NFL.com.
Ginn also brought his offensive coordinator, his receivers coach, and special teams coach. Whether that means the Bengals are seriously considering taking Ginn at No. 18 is anyone's guess and they love to have the league guessing. Remember, it's been Lewis himself who has been saying it makes sense to go defense in the draft.
Of course, Ginn is telling people that he'd rather play defense as a cornerback and it all gets back to if a playoff contender can afford to draft a projection in the first round. Ginn won't be there when the Bengals pick in the second.
If the Bengals took him in the first round, it wouldn't be as a cornerback. It would be the Devin Hester Factor as a receiver/returner. The Bengals finished 29th in both kick and punt returns, but a first-round pick figures to be too pricey for that.
Or, the Bengals could be doing due diligence in case some draft maneuvering puts them in position to get some extra picks.