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1/27/11

Chad Johnson Better Player Than Ochocinco? Plus Did Ochocinco and Owens Deliberately Ruin Plays?

If you haven’t heard by now, or don’t give a damn, Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receiver Chad Ochocinco is changing his name back to Chad Johnson.  Chris Good takes a quick look at the WR’s stats and writes in The Atlantic that the name change might be good because he was better before changing his name.

Comparing the two can be tricky. For one down year (2008), the two men coexisted before the transformation was complete: Johnson legally became Ochocinco in August 2008, but he continued to wear “Johnson” for the 2008 season. He didn’t wear “Ochocinco” until the 2009 season, after the NFL gave him permission. Out of fairness to the two, we can probably throw out the 2008 season.

By nearly every statistical measure, Chad Johnson outperformed Chad Ochocinco, even counting Johnson’s rookie 2001 season, in which his stats were low. Johnson played eight NFL seasons; Ochocinco has played two. Neither man has played for any team other than the Cincinnati Bengals.

Johnson outperformed Ochocinco, per season on average, by .4 games played, 10.4 catches, 256 yards, 1.2 yards per catch, 13.3 yards per game, and .5 TDS. His season-longest catches went for 18.1 more yards. If he switches back, maybe #85 will return to form.

I thought this was a cute article, however, one key thing is missing–Chad Ochocinco is a few years older than Chad Johnson and that makes a big difference in production.

After thinking about Chad’s stats and production, Bengals QB Carson Palmer’s attempt to demand a trade, and TO’s claims that the Bengals need to pass more, I was inspired to look more closely at the Bengals offensive numbers.

Palmer completed 382 of 586 passes for 3,970 yards. His passer rating was 82.4. This is down from his 2009 rating of 83.6, a season in which he also played all 16 games of the regular season.

All three Bengals primary receivers were fairly productive, in particular RB Cedric Benson who quietly rushed for over 1,000 yards.  Sidebar: Benson is a free agent and rumor has it that the Bengals are ready to let him walk.

Surprisingly, Ochocinco and Wide Receiver Terrell Owens accounted for a mere 141 of Palmer’s 382 completions and a little over 1800 of those almost 4000 yards, which lets me know Palmer continues to spread the ball among receivers whether by choice or by force.

On the defensive end, like many teams, Cincy suffered some key injuries. Mostly their pass rush was affected, but their defense still ended the season at #15 in the league (ahead of the Atlanta Falcons and the Indianapolis Colts).

Since at least 8 or 9 of the Bengals 12 losses were within a margin of 7 points, I think you can point many of their losses to mistakes in key moments and faulty execution on offense.

Speaking of which…according to NFL.com Bengals coaches have complained that many of Palmer’s incompletions can be attributed to Ochocinco and Owens routinely breaking off routes. Given both Ochocinco and Owens’ penchant for “doing their own thing,” this isn’t hard to believe. It explains some of the 20 interceptions that Palmer threw as well as some of the 224 incompletions.

How many? I have no idea. But those comments pretty much ensure neither receiver will return to the team in 2011 regardless of whether Palmer has already played his best football and has contributed to the problem.

Cincy owner Mike Brown has said unequivocally that Palmer will not get his wish to be traded. I expect Ochocinco to end up with the Raiders now that Hue Jackson will be head coach. As for Terrell Owens’ future, does anyone really give a damn?

Thoughts on the Bengals? Why do they suck? Should Palmer be traded? Where will the two divas end up?

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