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[Bengals Training Camp Preview]: Wide Receivers

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Out of all of the potential position battles that are sure to take place in training camp, none of them are as exciting as the battle between the wide receivers. Last season, the combination of Chris Henry's season ending injury, Laveranues Coles' inability to get open, catch or do anything that a wide receiver needs to do, lack of experience from the other receivers and the lack of a receiver that could take the defenses focus off of Chad Ochocinco caused the passing game to suffer terribly.

This season, the Bengals acquired some new talent via free agency and the draft and many feel that this corps of wide receivers is the most talented since 2005 when Chad (Johnson) Ochocinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh embarrassed secondaries all over the league all the way to the playoffs. So, without further ado, let's do it to it........ what?

Chad Ochocinco
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 192 lbs
Age: 32
Experience: 10
College: Oregon State
2009
Games Rec Yards TDs Lng
16 72 1,047 9 50

Chad is Carson Palmers go to guy. He's been the number one receiver here in Cincinnati for a long time now and will probably be the number one receiver for a while longer. He holds several franchise records including most receiving yards in a season (1,440 yards), most receiving yards all time, most receptions and most receiving yards in a single game (260 yards). He's a showboat, a trash talker, a prima donna and sometimes it looks like he's more interested in a career in entertainment than his football career. He's also a double move master, he's got great hands, he never gets in trouble, he's entertaining and if the quarterback has some time in the pocket, he'll find a way to get open almost every time. If a defense doesn't double team Chad, they're going to pay for it. He's an obvious lock at the number one receiver position.

Terrell Owens
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 224 lbs
Age: 36
Experience: 15
College:Tennessee-Chattanooga
2009
Games Rec Yards TDs Lng
16 55 829 5 98

As the newest member of the Bengals wide receiver family, Terrell Owens brings a whole new dimension to the Bengals passing game. He's fast, big, strong and he can be used as a deep threat. He may be 36 years old but that doesn't mean that he can't burn the majority of defensive backs in the NFL. Get your popcorn ready because you're about to watch TO and The Ocho on the same field at the same time. Even if that doesn't mean more touchdowns, it definitely means we'll be entertained. Personally, I think we'll get both.

Antonio Bryant
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 205 lbs
Age: 29
Experience: 8
College: Pittsburgh
2009
Games Rec Yards TDs Lng
13 39 600 4 42

The Bengals have been looking for somebody to replace T.J. ever since he took off for Seattle. Antonio Bryant may not be the possession receiver that T.J. was but he's probably the most talented receiver to play opposite Chad in a while. He's big enough to catch a pass across the middle and fast enough to leave some defensive backs in the dust. He had a breakout year in 2008 in Tampa Bay where he accrued 1,248 yards receiving and seven touchdowns but was released from the Buccaneers after a disappointing 2009 season plagued with injuries. He was picked up by the Bengals this off season to replace Coles and hopefully take some pressure off of Chad. His knee problems raise some questions though, and as we approach training camp, those questions all involve Terrell Owens coming to Cincinnati. Some Bengals coaches haven't been too satisfied with Bryant so far this offseason which is scary considering that Bryant signed a 4-year $29 million contract. Is he a free agent already? Will Bryant be able to keep his knee from hindering his play or is it possible to see a Bryant, Ocho and TO trio in Cincinnati? Only time will tell.

Andre Caldwell
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 204 lbs
Age: 25
Experience: 3
College: Florida
2009
Games Rec Yards TDs Lng
16 51 432 3 24

Caldwell was the Bengals slot receiver last season and was on the receiving end of some of Palmer's last minute game winning passes. He's got good hands, decent speed and seems to have a good grasp on the offense. He looked really promising in the beginning of the 2009 season but then suddenly seemed to disappear when he failed to have any more than 35 yards receiving in any of the last ten games of the season. This season, the Bengals added some competition for Caldwell in the form of rookie wide receiver Jordan Shipley. Maybe it's the threat of losing his job to Shipley or maybe it was the fact that he just failed to produce the last two thirds of last season but something lit a fire under Caldwell. So much so that Marvin Lewis calls Caldwell the most improved player from last season to this season.

 

Jordan Shipley
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 193 lbs
Age: 24
Experience: R
College: Texas

Shipley is a natural slot receiver. He reminds me of Wes Welker (no, not because they're both white). He just has that ability to find the openings in a defense and get to them. He helped Colt McCoy become the winningest college quarterback in history and he has the potential to help Palmer and the Bengals offense in the same way. He's cool, he plays guitar, he has flowing blonde locks and, oh yeah, he's a good receiver. He's sure to give Caldwell a run for his money as the starting slot receiver this season. I look forward to seeing all the lady Bengals fans sporting their Shipley jerseys this year.

Jerome Simpson
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 195 lbs
Age: 24
Experience: 3
College: Coastal Carolina
2009
Games Rec Yards TDs Lng
2 0 0 0 0

For a player drafted as high as he was (second round), he has a whopping one catch for an amazing two yards. He has been a massive disappointment for the Bengals from day one but maybe he's seen the light. Coaches have been impressed by Simpson's improvements from last season to this season and many think that this is the year that he proves to all of us that he deserved that second round money. He's fast and quick. He's perfect to stretch the field and if he can pull his head out of wherever it has been, he can be a tremendous help in the passing game. It's probably going to come down between him and Jones so the question is, who has the right stuff. Will it be the man looking for redemption or the other man looking for.... well, redemption?

Quan Cosby
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 196 lbs
Age: 27
Experience: 2
College: Texas
2009
Games Rec Yards TDs Lng PR Return Y/RT
16 4 55 0 23 13 239 18.4

If you love Ohio State and hate Texas then you may have a reason to dislike Quan. But, if you can forgive and forget, you may just love this kid. Not only was he outstanding as a punt returner, but his role in the Bengals offense increased as the season progressed. He averaged 11.9 yards per punt return which was the highest return average for a Bengals player since 1984. This landed him on the Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers All-Rookie team. On top of all that, he ended up three catches for 26 yards in the Bengals play off loss and another five catches throughout the regular season. Cosby has a bright future ahead of him, the only question is, can he break the roster with all of the talent heading into camp this season. His ability to return punts may be what saves him.

Matt Jones
Height: 6'6"
Weight: 218 lbs
Age: 27
Experience: 5
College: Arkansas
2009
Games Rec Yards TDs Lng
0 0 0 0 0

Matt Jones is Mike Brown's project this season. He was a quarterback at the university of Arkansas but was drafted as a wide receiver in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars after an impressive combine in which he showed rare speed and explosiveness for a player with his size. Jones will likely compete with Jerome Simpson to be the Bengals deep threat. He has a past filled with bad decisions including some drug charges that landed him in hot water with the Jaguars and the NFL. He's looking to redeem himself with the Bengals by blowing past the secondary with his rare combination of size and speed. Will he be able to throw the monkey of his past off his back and show the Cincinnati fans that '70's porn mustaches are awesome or will Simpson finally step up to fulfill the role he was drafted for?

  Dezmon Briscoe
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 200 lbs
Age: 20
Experience: R
College: Kansas

Many feel that Briscoe was a steal in the sixth round (191 overall). His 219 receptions are good for second most in Kansas Jayhawk history and 29 of those catches went for 20 yards or longer. He could also fight to be Palmers deep threat this season. He's got natural speed and great hands and whether or not he makes the team is going to be solely up to him. While he may not have the experience right now, Briscoe has the size and speed to dominate smaller defensive backs down the road.

Maurice Purify
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 226 lbs
Age: 24
Experience: 1
College: Nebraska
2009
Games Rec Yards TDs Lng
5 0 0 0 0

Purify is one of those rare receivers that has a lot of talent and speed but carries it all in a big body. He doesn't have a catch as of right now but he has some good special team work. He's another name in the long list of talented wide receivers that will be fighting for a position on the roster. He got himself in some trouble this offseason after a fight outside a Newport, Kentucky which could be more of a decisive factor on whether or not he makes the team than what he does on the field. He's going to have to dig himself out of a hole to make the roster this season.

Freddie Brown
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 215 lbs
Age: 25
Experience: 1
College: Utah
2009
Games Rec Yards TDs Lng
0 0 0 0 0

Freddie Brown is tall and fast. In college he helped Utah upset Bama in the Sugar Bowl. He's a 6'3" stack of raw talent and could possibly make a push to be the Bengals number six receiver but it is likely that he'll end up on the Bengals practice squad again this season. There is just too much talent this season to give a spot to somebody with zero experience.