Jerome Simpson finally proved to all of us that he knows how to play football in the NFL over the past three games of the 2010 season. Coming into his third season as an NFL receiver, he had one amazing catch for an amazing two yards and had 99.9 percent of all Bengals fans writing him off as a draft bust. I don't want to toot my own horn but I was definitely the .1 percent that thought Simpson could still be of use to the Bengals.
I'm a genius.
Anyway. Coming into the last three games of the 2010 season, Simpson had played two games but did not have a single catch. Then in the third to last game of the season, against the Browns, Simpson had two catches for 30 yards. That was just the spark from the first strike of the match. The next game, against the Chargers, who boasted the best passing defense in the NFL, was the match being lit and dropped into a lake of gasoline.
Against the Chargers, Simpson recorded six catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns, the only touchdowns of his career. Then, the next week against the Ravens, an equally good defense, Simpson broke another personal record by catching 12 passes for 123 yards and another touchdown. Unfortunately, Simpson also fumbled twice in the game against the Ravens but those mistakes can be attributed to the fact that Simpson is young and was fighting for extra yards. I, for one, am willing to forgive.
Simpson's three game explosion looks like a hydrogen bomb strapped to a atomic bomb which is duct taped to a thermonuclear missile compared to Chad Ochocinco's recent output, which looks like a sparkler or maybe one of those snakes when compared to Simpson's last three games of the season.
Ochocinco finished the 2010 season with 831 yards and four touchdowns, the third lowest amount of receiving yards in his career and tied for the second lowest amount of touchdowns in his career. This came as a surprise to many Bengals fans who expected Ochocinco to have a great season because so much of the attention would be taken off of him and placed on Terrell Owens. However, Ochocinco and Carson Palmer rarely looked like they were on the same page and the Bengals passing attack never really took off like it was supposed to. This was one of the major contributing reasons that the Bengals finished with a 4-12 record.
Now, even though it's pointless to speculate about Simpsons stats if he had played the entire season because there are so many variables including injuries and defensive adjustments, I'm going to do it anyway. If Simpson had played the entire season and put up the kind of numbers that he did over the past three games, he would have finished with over 1400 yards and 21 touchdowns. Like I said, it was pointless because we all know that Simpson finishing with 1400 yards and 21 touchdowns this season would have been nearly impossible.
What about next season, though? It is very possible that Simpson's explosion at the end of the 2010 season will land him a much, much larger role with the Bengals in the 2011 season. In fact, there's no reason that it wouldn't. The same goes for Andre Caldwell, who was forced to the sidelines for most of the 2010 season due to TO and Jordan Shipley's signing in the off season. Once TO and Ochocinco were both not playing, Caldwell joined Simpson as being fairly impressive in the final three games of the season.
Coming into the final three games of the season, Caldwell had 10 catches for 75 yards and no touchdowns. Then, when given the opportunity -- like Simpson -- Caldwell finished the season with 15 catches for 270 yards in the final three games.
Considering that it's only fair that Simpson and Caldwell could get a larger role in the Bengals offense in 2011, where does that leave Chad Ochocinco? Is there any room for him?
It's not a secret that Ochocinco is one of the most diva-ish wide receivers in the NFL. It is hard to imagine what it would be like to coach a guy who sometimes seemed to be more interested in his fame off the field than on the field. It's also hard not to consider his talent and route running ability either.
Arguments can be made on either side of the will Ochocinco stay in Cincinnati debate. Jerome Simpson's breakout performances and Andre Caldwell's emergence near the end of the season could definitely point to a Chad Ochocinco-less 2011 Bengals season.
What do you think will happen?