INSIDER WEDNESDAY TEAM REPORT
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco may have a career in fight promoting once his playing days are over. But for now, he’s doing a fine job of hyping up Sunday night’s primetime battle in the Meadowlands against Darrelle Revis and the New York Jets.
“Me and Revis is better than (Manny) Pacquiao and (Floyd) Mayweather, said the bombastic Ochocinco in his entertaining conference call with the New York media Wednesday. “Period, case closed. I don’t care what anybody is doing Sunday night. If you’re not turning to the game Sunday, you have no life.”
Almost trumping the obvious playoff implications of Sunday night’s game is the matchup between Ochocinco, one of the NFL’s most dynamic and eccentric receivers and Revis, arguably the league’s most dominant corner and a serious candidate for Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Revis has been “lights out” this season, in every sense of the term. In 2009, the third-year corner has shut down the likes of Andre Johnson, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Marques Colston, Steve Smith, and Reggie Wayne while registering 71 tackles and posting a league-leading 34 passes defensed. Revis also leads the Jets with six interceptions, including one for a touchdown.
“You (have) never seen a matchup like this ever before, from my understanding, said Ochocinco. My friend Darrelle, Master Lock, I call him Master Lock. Master Lock Revis has put a lot of great receivers on him this season.”
“That will not happen this upcoming (week),” boasted the bumptious receiver. “Darrelle Revis couldn’t cover me in a brown paper bag on a corner of a Manhattan street in a phone booth. It’s impossible.”
Ochocinco has enjoyed a successful rebound season after only posting 53 catches for 540 yards in 2008. Through Week 16, the five-time Pro Bowler has 72 receptions for 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Bengals’ potent downfield threat attributes his success to a newly adapted training regime, which includes boxing twice a week.
“My cardio and conditioning is ridiculous,” he gloated. “I could probably go to the Tour de France with Lance Armstrong and be able to last, based on the shape I am in now.”
Jets head coach Rex Ryan is very familiar with Ochocinco, having faced him several times as defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens. Ryan joked about his history facing the star receiver.
“I’m glad we’re not playing Chad Johnson again,” said Ryan. “You can go back and look. We never, never covered Chad Johnson. He destroyed us. But Chad Ochocinco, he can’t be as good as the other guy.”
“Him and Randy Moss, in my opinion, are the two best vertical receivers in the game, said Ryan. “Where he kills you is the go routes, the bang-eight routes, post routes, comebacks, deep-outs. That’s where this guy kills you. He has unbelievable body control. He’s a big guy. I’ve always been a fan of his.”
“If we’re going to go man this week, it’s only because we have Darrelle Revis,” said Ryan. “Because nobody in this league is going to cover Chad one-on-one.”
Ochocinco believes that Revis’s innate ability to succeed in man-to-man coverage is what separates him from other defensive backs around the league.
“This is how you rate a great corner,” said two-time, All-Pro selection. “Rex Ryan is extremely comfortable leaving Darrelle Revis on an island by himself. That makes Darrelle Revis one of the best in the game. It’s all about how you make your coordinator feel. If your coordinator’s comfortable like that, that’s how you rate people as great corners.”
Even when sending praise his opponent’s way, the always candid Ochocinco managed to fire a missile towards Revis Island.
“He’s definitely one of the best, but I can’t wait to bless him. They play games on Sundays so I can bless corners like him.”
Unfortunately, Darrelle Revis was unavailable to offer a rebuttal to Ochocinco’s comments. Revis was sent home from the facility this morning by Ryan with an undisclosed illness and did not practice. Ryan indicated however that it wasn’t serious and that his Pro Bowl corner should be ready, come Sunday night.
The braggadocio receiver also offered a sneak preview of the touchdown celebration he has in store for Sunday night’s nationally televised affair. The always creative Ochocinco plans to take a shot at Fireman Ed for this one.
“I have my own fireman hat made,” he said. “But it doesn’t say Jets. It’s a Bengals fireman hat. When I score, I’m going to sit on top of the goal post and then I’m going to quiet the stadium like he does…If I don’t use the goal post, I’ll get on top of one of my linemen’s shoulders.”
“I want everybody to say Ocho; O-C-H-O….That’s the celebration of all celebrations. I’m going out with a bang.”
If Ochocinco is indeed trying to get a reaction out of the Jets and throw them off their game, he won’t get one. At least not from Bart Scott, who the receiver said he’d hit “in the mouth, helmet on or off.”
“I’ve had a lot of experience with Chad,” said the veteran linebacker. “War of words, back and forth. I’m not gonna give him what he wants this time. He wants for us to entertain the country for a week.”
“This week’s about business, not about jokes or funny clips…this is the most important game in my Jet career and also Rex Ryan’s. If we can pull this thing off and get into the playoffs, we’ve got something stand on, something to measure ourselves against.”
Who’s in for Cincy?
For the second straight week, the Jets face an opponent that has already secured their playoff position, with the opportunity to possibly rest their starters.
While the Jets speculate who exactly they’ll be facing off against on the other side of the ball, Ochocinco noted that he’s been wondering the same thing all week.
“I called Coach Lewis from after Sunday’s game to this point at least 20 times. I asked him the same question, ‘Coach, please don’t get me excited. How much are we playing?’ He gave me that little giggle and then he said, ‘We’re playing the whole game. We’re playing to win.’ I said, ‘OK. Now if you get me excited and you try to pull me out of the game, I’m not coming out. I will force you to use every time out just to get me off the field.’ That’s what I plan to do. I’m not coming off the field. Period. If Revis is in there, I’m in the game. I’m not coming out.”
Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis was less candid when asked about his plans for Sunday. “Everybody is going to play,” he said. “The 45 guys that we suit up are all going to play… All those things I’m going to decide what to do and I’m really not going to discuss with anybody any further than that. We’re coming in to play the New York Jets and we know they’re a great football team. We have to play and win and that’s the big thing for us.”
Pro Bowl trio speaks out
As reported yesterday by Jets Insider, Jets’ C Nick Mangold, G Alan Faneca and CB Darrelle Revis have all been selected as starters for the 2010 Pro Bowl in Miami on January 31.
Together, Mangold and Faneca have been instrumental in powering the Jets’ league-leading ground attack. Through Week 16, the Jets are leading the league with 166.6 rushing yards per game. The offensive line has also done a great job of protecting their quarterback, as the unit has only allowed 52 quarterback hits in 15 games, tied for fourth-fewest in the league.
“It’s an amazing thing,” said Mangold, who is making his second consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl. “I’m just amazed that the fans, coaches and players put me in there over some amazing centers in the AFC. It’s quite the humbling experience and to see the people on the roster that I’m there with is a crazy thing. I don’t think it has sunk in yet that I have the opportunity to be the starter for that team.”
Alan Faneca has grown accustomed to playing in the mid-winter classic. Faneca will be making his ninth consecutive Pro Bowl start. Still, the veteran guard considers it an honor and privilege.
“It’s a great honor and it never gets old, Faneca said. “It’s something special to be asked to go to, especially when you get there and look at the room and look at the guys that are around you. (I also) think about the guys that were in that room, especially my first year when I was lucky enough to make it. There have been a lot of great guys. It’s a big honor.”
Mangold and Faneca will join Miami’s Jake Long, Denver’s Jake Clady, and New England’s Logan Mankins as the starting offensive line for the AFC.
Darrelle Revis will be making his second straight Pro Bowl appearance on January 31, his first as a starter. Revis, who was voted the 2009 Curtis Martin Team MVP by his teammates, has anchored a Jets’ defense which leads the league in pass defense, total defense, and points allowed.
“Making it is great, Revis said last night. “It was one of my personal goals, trying to get back to be one of those caliber players, a Pro Bowl player. I worked hard this offseason and it’s carrying over on the field. This time I am a starter and it is the next step. It’s another step for me. I’m just trying to be the best that I can be.”
Revis is joined by Oakland’s Nnamdi Asomugha and Denver’s Champ Bailey as the AFC’s corners.
Despite the selection and all the accolades Revis has received throughout this season from the media and fans, the third-year veteran believes that staying humble has helped his cause immensely.
“It validates a lot,” said Revis. “You just never know. You have to be humble about these situations. People tweet and fans (say), ‘You’re going to make it, you’re going to make it.’ It’s been a crazy season, but I think you have to be humble about it until your name shows up on the roster.”
“I know the type of season I’ve had. You just have to keep focused on that path of trying to win games and trying to get to the playoffs.”
Smith earns honors too
The NFL announced today that Jets’ WR Brad Smith has been named AFC’s special teams player of the week. In Sunday’s 29-15 victory over the Colts in Indianapolis, Smith returned the opening kickoff of the second half 106 yards for a touchdown, the longest play of any kind in Jets’ franchise history.
Smith, now in his fourth year in the league, has been given an expanded role under Rex Ryan and appears to finally be fulfilling the high expectations placed on his shoulders following his selection out of Missouri in 2006.
For the quiet receiver, it’s strictly business as usual.
“I’ve always been about doing whatever’s asked of me”, said Smith. “I’m trying to take advantage of the opportunities that are placed in front of me. It’s the same approach since I’ve been here, so I’m trying to stay consistent with that. Now, getting more opportunities and more chances, I’m trying to take advantage of it.”
RB Thomas Jones and FB Tony Richardson were held out of practice today by Rex Ryan, as they were for part of last week.
Also sitting out for Gang Green were CB Donald Strickland (quad) and Revis (illness). DE Shaun Ellis (knee) was limited. QB Mark Sanchez (knee), G Robert Turner (knee) and RB Shonn Greene (shoulder) are participated in the full practice.
Playoff fever in East Rutherford
The Jets are encouraging fans to get the Meadowlands early on Sunday. The first 70,000 fans to enter the stadium will receive a white rally towel that says “Win and we’re in.” Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 p.m.
“I understand that there’s going to be a butt in every seat,” said Rex Ryan. “I hope they’re all Jet fans and ready to go. Our fans are eager for this football team to make the playoffs. We’re doing everything we can not to disspoint them.