Skip to main content

T.O. and Ocho mind their Xs and Os

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens (81) enjoys a laugh while wide receiver Chad Ochocinco (85) checks out a young fan's cell phone during practice Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010, at the NFL football team's training camp in Georgetown, Ky. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens (81) enjoys a laugh while wide receiver Chad Ochocinco (85) checks out a young fan's cell phone during practice Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010, at the NFL football team's training camp in Georgetown, Ky. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

The most controversial things the Dynamic Duo are saying these days are reserved for Tuesday night's The Daily Line in preparation for the T.O. and Ocho Show that debuts on the Versus Channel Oct. 12.

When it has come to their media appearances at Paul Brown Stadium, Bengals wide receivers Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens have been about as controversial as the Disney Channel.

On Tuesday night they debated whether they wanted to see Sarah Palin in the White House or in Playboy, but on Wednesday the only thing they talked about was trying to dress up a Bengals offense looking for some points.

Owens: "For ourselves you have to just go out, execute and eliminate some of the things (penalties) that have kind of been hindered us from having great starts at the beginning of the game. That is something that I think will be a point of emphasis this week. I'm really trying to get off to a great start and put two halves together."

Ocho: "You've got to fix it. Just work. That's what Wednesdays and Thursdays are for, you know? That's about it. I'm really looking forward to getting back to work today and looking forward to getting to Carolina and having some fun."

When The Ocho and Owens held their first joint news conference after a game they combined for just seven catches and less than 100 yards last Sunday, the frustration was palpable. But The Ocho downplayed it.

"Us as a whole on offense. Not really frustrated. Those are just words we use at the time," he said.

Owens isn't used to banging heads with top five defenses Pittsburgh and Baltimore twice a year and the offensive frustration it can bring, but Ochocinco has let him in on it.

"I told him; he understood," he said. "Where he's been before, and he played against Baltimore, their (butt) got whipped every time he played them. Except once when he was with Philly. Any other time he played Baltimore in his career he got beat."

The Ocho talked to the media for the first time this season during the week Wednesday. It used to be a weekly event. But he says that means nothing. He's going to be as outrageous as ever.

"It's only Week (3). You've got like five months to go," he said. "Nothing to talk about yet. My madness will start soon. The better we do as a team, the more I can be ... I have new (stuff) every year. ... It's coming."

At first it seemed that the Ocho has just tired of the same old stuff he's been doing for a decade. After all, how much new trash-talking can there be when you tweet virtually 24-7?

"A lot. A lot of (stuff). It's coming," he said. "Let's get one or two more wins under our belt. All hell is about to break loose."

Owens concluded that while Palin had a potential "naughty" look with her glasses he didn't want to see her in either place. That's OK. Panthers head coach John Fox probably prefers he doesn't see Owens since his 75 catches for 1,110 against Carolina are his most against any team.

Owens's spiciest football comments concerned his quarterback, but he didn't throw Carson Palmer under the bus. He just is trying to help him get on the same route schedule. Owens has as many catches (10) and fewer yards (110) than rookie Jordan Shipley, and his longest catch is last Sunday's 29-yard catch-and-run.

Palmer admitted in his Wednesday media session that he's still trying to decipher Owens' unique 6-3, 225-pound body language of speed, size and strides.

Palmer said Wednesday that Shipley and tight end Jermaine Gresham are the most advanced rookie receivers he's ever had. But so much depends on his ability to sync up with Owens' 144 career touchdown catches.

"It's not like I am a hard target to throw to, I think he has been used to a certain style of receiver over a number of years throwing to Chad and T.J. (Houshmandzadeh)," Owens said. "I was just making a joke to him the other day, throwing to me, I am T.O. not T.J. It's one of those things I understand, we both want to be successful, he wants to get the ball in my hands as well as Chad and the other guys.

"It irks both of us when we misconnect on certain routes and things like that. This is what makes football and this game special because you get to go out and you get to practice and correct those mistakes knowing we have a lot of talent and can do a lot of things within the scheme of the offense."

The Ocho is 6-1, 192 pounds. Houshmandzadeh is maybe 6-2, 200 pounds. They've caught the majority of Palmer's passes. The closest Palmer has had to a T.O.-type is the late Chris Henry.

"Just different styles and type player, but similar in their stride length," Palmer said of Owens and Henry. "Most guys can carry three to four yards a stride, and they carry almost five between two steps. That's great and means they're fast."

And Palmer is going by steps.

"(Owens) is 6-4. There's Larry Fitzgerald, Randy Moss and himself. Most guys at that position are Chad's size or Reggie Wayne's size," Palmer said. "(Owens) covers so much more ground with each step that it's an adjustment with the depth of routes and timing of breaks, because he covers much more ground. Most routes are built on steps, and some guys run seven steps of 10 (yards), he runs seven steps of 13-14. The separation he can create, the speed with which he carries his routes in is amazing, and we've been working together for a little while now and getting closer. Pretty soon we're going to be clicking just like Chad and I have been. The way he runs his routes and the speed that he can carry a 60-yard route, there's some big play potential in that."

On his fifth team in 15 seasons, Owens has been on this two-way street before. He detailed how he had to adjust from Jeff Garcia's rollouts in Frisco to Donovan McNabb's bombs in Philadelphia while Tony Romo in Dallas had to figure out his extra gear.

"That is something Carson has to adjust to. Sometimes it may look like I am covered but I can separate on the back end," Owens said. "As I have noticed since I have been here there is a certain way that he throws 'go' routes and different routes to Chad and T.J. and different guys throughout his career. It has been a bit of an adjustment for both of us. It's one of those things I think as the season progress it will connect. It is frustrating at times because I know, even with last weekend there is some things we didn't connect on. We ended up not scoring any touchdowns, but we ended up winning the game, which was good. But we saw there were a lot of more opportunities that we left on the field."

Owens had some tough, well-publicized times with those quarterbacks. But the relationship with Palmer doesn't seem headed to the rocks. Palmer remains one of the most approachable big-time stars in the game and Owens doesn't mind seeking him out. Palmer has always maintained that festering problems can blow up to be the biggest.

"I think we kind of knew it would be sort of an adjustment and things we would need to work through over the course of the year," Owens said. "That is where me not being in minicamps and OTAs, those things kind of factor in because we have had that extra time together in the practice field to really know. Now we are just kind of hitting the field running. Carson is very approachable. We have an open line of communication. Even when we are with the offense or just quarterbacks, receivers, just going over things, then, yeah, we talk about a lot of things."

The Ocho compares receivers to fingerprints: No two are the same. He made the call as he spoke about Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith, his good friend and junior college teammate in Santa Monica, Calif.

"We're completely different. Every receiver is like a fingerprint. No one person's fingerprint is the same as the other and that's how it is with receivers," The Ocho said. "Our styles are completely different. He's one of the best, most definitely, at what he does. I'm looking forward to watching him. I've said it before and I've tweeted about it, before the season started I asked people who they were looking forward to watching the most this upcoming season and Steve Smith was the one I was looking forward to watching because every time he touches the ball he does something exciting."

Another game, another 500-catch receiver. Smith, with 582 catches, follows Randy Moss, Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin and Houshmandzadeh into the foe file this year. A week after becoming the 33rd man to get 10,000 yards in his career, last week The Ocho became the 30th player to record 700 catches.

"It's a great accomplishment. I wasn't aware of it, but that's pretty cool," The Ocho said.

Unless it is Gov. Palin, that's about as controversial as it has been.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.