Rewind two years and revisit the Chad Johnson versus A.J. Green debate

Mike Ehrmann

Because today is my birthday, I wanted to roll back a couple years to July 2nd 2011 and see what the commenter's thoughts were at that time. I stumbled on to a nice debate.

The following is from a two-year old post that can be found here.

Two years ago today the Bengals had just drafted AJ Green and Andy Dalton. They were in flux with what was going to happen with Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco and Jason Garrison wrote a post detailing former Bengal TJ Houshmandzadeh's thoughts on Palmer and Ocho. Basically, he thought Palmer would move on and Chad would stay.

We all know what happened by now. However, in the comments a debate arose between our own Anthony Cosenza and commenter emeybee. I don't mean to pick on anyone, but it is always interesting to revisit a debate when the outcome is known.

AC starts the commenting with:

"A.J. Green at this moment—as a rookie with no NFL training camp—is still a better Wide Receiver than Chad. He’s a decade younger, he’s bigger, stronger and has better hands. Chad may have a little speed on A.J. at this point, but even that’s debatable. That’s not even including the personality difference between A.J. and Chad. If Carson is gone and they’re forced to use rookie Andy Dalton at QB, how do you think a young guy like Dalton will take Chad showing him up on the field in front of everybody, when he inevitably does so? "

I can agree with this now, at the time, not so much. I was a Chad fan. The guy made the Bengals relevant even in the 2-14 seasons.

Emeybee follows with:

"How many 'sure thing' WRs have gone in the first round and then proceeded to disappear in the NFL? AJ Green still holds that risk until he steps on the field and proves otherwise. I am not saying that Chad will continue to be the answer at WR, but it really irks me when people state as fact that AJ Green, who has been locked out since he was drafted and has yet to put in one minute work in the NFL, and Jerome Simpson/Andre Caldwell, who have shown potential but little actual production, are the best WRs now and that Chad is therefore expendable. Really? These three noobs should automatically replace a guy who holds pretty much every Bengals receiving record?"

Another strong argument for Chad. Yes, he held all the records and we were supposed to rely on a rookie to replace the kind of production we had grown accustomed to with Chad?

AC then turned the argument on the current Chad (at the time):

"I notice that you mention Chad’s receiving record—an admirable feat that I respect him a lot for. I also notice that you make no mention of his continuous dropped passes across the middle or his continuance to show up his QB on the field when he doesn’t get the ball. Not exactly an admirable trait for a guy who, if kept in 2011, would be looked to as a leader on a "rebuilding team" with a potential rookie QB. Just as it "irks you" how people think other younger, hungrier options at WR, would be a better route for the Bengals going forward, it irks me when people get all sentimental and remember the fun, All-Pro Chad of 2003-2007, and not the current burned out, media-whore, locker room-imploding version of Chad that is 2011."

Fast forward exactly two years and I have to say that AC really nailed it. We could have kept Chad, but what would that have done to the team? Would Dalton and AJ have the same rapport when the diva was there between them? Could Chad have handled being upstaged by a rookie? Would the Bengals have made the playoffs two seasons in a row?

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