Peter King said during Sunday Night's Football In America that Terrell Owens will "definitely" not return to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2011 after completing his one-year rental contract, mostly in response to the forgotten Antonio Bryant
fiasco signing. Owens reportedly plans on playing another two years before hanging them up. Just not in Cincinnati.
ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter confirmed King's report on Tuesday, citing a "league source", that Owens won't return. This was never unexpected. Some view that Cincinnati's fall from 10-6 to 3-11 in the span of months could be partially a result of a negative influence that Owens had in the lockerroom. Not that anyone knows that. Just mostly some conjecturing that since he's the biggest changed piece from last year's playoff team, along with the historical baggage that Owens brought to other teams in the past -- most notably the Cowboys and Eagles -- it couldn't be completely unreasonable for someone to have that point of view.
Through 14 games this season, along with being the most targeted player on the team, Owens was the least sure-handed. Of the 139 passes thrown by Carson Palmer to Owens, the wide receiver caught only 52% of the passes. Not that this is too terribly surprising, considering Owens is often a league leader in terms of dropped passes.
Alternatively, Chad Ochocinco only caught 53% of his passes, which ranks amongst his career lows. However not by much. From 2004 until this season, Chad finished only one season catching 60% or more of his passes -- 63% in 2005. Combined, the Bengals starting wide receivers only recorded a combined 52% completion percentage of 265 passes thrown their way.
There could be a number of reasons why. One, the passes were poorly thrown. Two, miscommunication. Three, defenses are naturally going to cover your best offensive weapons with their best coverage players. Four, the receivers are running free-lance routes -- which Chad is known to do.
Many will simply use the Carson Is At Fault argument, which they are more than welcome to do. However, if you combine every other Bengals player that's been targeted for a pass, Palmer's completion percentage jumps to 70% with nine different players on the receiving end of 254 passes.
Take it for what it is -- numbers of no real context. However, every Bengals player, save for Jerome Simpson and Daniel Coats (combined five targets), recorded a completion percentage of 60% of better with Shipley, Benson, Leonard, Scott and Kelly recording a completion percentage of 72% or better.