Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Getcha Popcorn Ready!

With camps getting started all over the NFL, it’s time to turn more and more of our attention to Lord Football. And I will not be wasting any space on whether or not the league’s biggest diva will or won’t play (we all know he’s coming back, but not until he plants enough doubt with his personal mouthpiece, Chris Mortensen of ESPN, so that in case he fails, he has some built in excuses). What other stories are of interest? Dez Bryant refusing to carry Roy Williams’ pads and then backing off because he “didn’t know it was a tradition” with the Cowboys? More boring than the drama surrounding The Bachelorette, Ali. And as Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News perfectly pointed out – if that’s the ‘Boys big problem, they are going to have a great season. Instead, we learned today that Terrell Owens had signed on to play with the Bengals this season. Well, Cincy – Getcha Popcorn Ready!!

I may be as crazy as the Timberwolves GM, but I actually think this could work very, very well for the Bengals. If Owens can keep his ego in check, he has a chance to put up really good numbers on a team that has the potential to be a factor in the playoffs. Here are the reasons it will not implode:

1 – Carson Palmer
No quarterback in the league has dealt with more “entertainers” at the wide receiver position than Palmer. His main target has been the always-entertaining Chad Ochocinco, and previously he was teamed up with the always-outspoken T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Palmer is as well-prepared as any quarterback in the league to block out egos and just try to make plays. While his numbers were very pedestrian as he came back from missing most of 2008 with an arm injury, he remains a cerebral quarterback and if his arm strength returns, he could be the comeback player of the year.

2 – The Fit
Owens is not nearly as fast as he once was, and he does not have the most reliable hands in the league, but he has the potential to find quite a few openings with Ochocinco stretching the field and rookie TE Jermaine Gresham attracting the attention of linebackers or safeties. It has the potential to fit the same way Katy Perry fits in a bikini – snug and very flattering.

3 – Owens’ Maturity
Has T.O. really matured? It’s hard to say, but despite his previous track record of being an enormous headache, he was very tame last season. Despite playing for a horrendous Bills team with quarterbacks that were more useless than Carrie Underwood in a Chelsea bar, Owens did not ruffle feathers. He posted his weakest season totals since he was a rookie, yet he was almost a model citizen. Has he realized that winning is more important than his diva act? Perhaps. Or was it just but on the back burner until he had the proper spotlight to promote himself? I want to believe that he will be entertaining, yet will play hard and not be a locker room cancer.

4 – The Competition
The AFC North should be extremely compelling this season, with Baltimore, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh all eyeing the division title. Yet the Ravens are dealing with a banged up secondary – particularly Ed Reed. The Steelers could find themselves in a hole early without Big Ben under center, and their defense was not as strong in 2009 as typical Pittsburgh defenses. Add that to the very young secondary in Cleveland and the Bengals look to have a very good chance to improve upon their poor 26th ranked passing offense.

Owens will no doubt form the most entertaining wide receiver combo with Chad Ochocinco, and when you add Antonio Bryant to the mix (whatever short time he is healthy), the Bengals could have a very potent passing offense that could help to balance the Cedric Benson-led running game. That could make the Bengals very dangerous, so you better getcha popcorn ready.

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