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Chris Henry's lack of opportunities explained; preseason fables and tall ladders

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When Chris Henry's name came up in the offseason, it was associated with words like change, working out with Carson Palmer, being smarter of where he is and who he's with. Maybe he got himself a grounded woman that made him see the big picture. Regardless, all you heard was how he's completely molded himself into a mature young man that finally understands that if he does it right, his talents and where he's at in life, could actually benefit him for a very, very, long time. It took awhile, but he's there, thanks to an owner that has a fondness of him.

Training camp came and went. He worked hard, positioning himself as the team's third or fourth wide receiver amongst a deep pool of wide receiver talent. In the preseason, Henry caught 14 passes for 224 yards receiving scoring a touchdown in all four games. Bengals fans forgave him -- hey, Cincinnati might have its faults, but we freakin' forgive people.

With Laveranues Coles and Chad Ochocinco starting the season at wide receiver, Henry was nonexistent, catching one pass that converted a third down and was the target of a Hail Mary to end the game against the Broncos. Against the Packers, Henry caught only one pass for five yards. It was a touchdown, so that's glorious. However, the obvious question was asked during Marvin Lewis's Monday afternoon press conference:

Q: Chris Henry had only the one TD catch. Did they do something similar to Denver to keep him in check?
ML:
“Playing the first team makes a big difference, you know? You guys saw Chris play (in preseason) against guys that are probably not on NFL teams right now. And that makes a big difference. So if Chris keeps doing what he's supposed to do, and keep doing it right, opportunities will come. But we're not going to force the ball and get opportunities. He had one big chance for one big catch down the sideline yesterday and wasn't quite able to come up with it. But he did a good job in there blocking yesterday and he contributed a bunch of other ways. He had the big touchdown catch, as you said, and did a great job on that play getting his feet in. But the preseason is just that, it's the preseason, and guys get matched up for different reasons against different players.”

There are other factors too. Henry won't replace Ochocinco. I know some of you could care less, however after watching how much Laveranues Coles contributes to the team's offense against the Packers, not just receiving, it would be a stretch to say that Coles is replaced by Henry. Andre Caldwell is too solid underneath to limit his contributions. Does that mean Henry is the team's fourth receiver and that the opportunities that Lewis speaks of is if one of the three receivers ahead of him gets injured? Yes. Yes, it does.