Conference calls are often routine affairs, but not in the case of Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco. No sense in doing much editing on this one. Particularly interesting were Ochocinco’s observations on cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and his thoughts about how catching passes ought to be a refined skill by the time a receiver enters the NFL as a rookie.
Q: Hello, Chad, how are you doing?
Ochcinco: OK, hello. Hola. Como esta?
Q: Bien, y usted?
Ochocinco: Cool, cool, cool.
Q: Any news to report from the Ocho Cinco News Network?
Ochocinco: Oh, man, I’m just coming to give the Black Hole the best show they’ve ever seen. I’m not sure if they’ve really had much to look forward to this year but, man, we’re coming to town. It will for damned sure be a circus.
Q: Are you sending the Raiders any gifts this week?
Ochocinco: No, no, no, I can’t pay for shipping and handling. That’s too damn far.
Q: What are your thoughts about going up against Asomugha?
Ochocinco: It’s going to be fun. It was fun the last time I went against him, it’s going to be fun this time I go against him. I can’t wait.
Q: Did you play against his team when you were at Oregon State?
Ochocinco: I can’t remember. All I remember is playing against him when we played Oakland the last time he was here, when Fabian was on the other side. That was fun. I enjoyed it.
Q: That was the last time a team went at Asomugha. How much do you keep tabs on Asomugha’s exploits?
Ochocinco: Not at all, not at all. I never have. Everyone says he’s the best defensive back in the NFL, so I just go along and I agree with everybody else and then I will permit to go out there Sunday and have my fun, like I usually do every week. So, it’s no different. He’s an awesome, awesome defensive back. I watch him on film. I’ve dissected every single technique that he does. Every single one. So, he’s really awesome and he’s one of the few cornerbacks, where any defensive coordinator, I don’t care what team he played on, he makes a defense that much easier when you can leave somebody like that on an island by yourself and you can actually lock down one side.
Q: Does it make it that much more fun for you?
Ochocinco: Exactly. There you go. Exactly. You put it together. I can’t F-ing wait, excuse my language.
Q: Is it odd that he doesn’t trash-talk much?
Ochocinco: He doesn’t. I tried to frustrate him the last time he was here, and he doesn’t say much. So, I don’t know. But he is the best. I’m not going to sit here and play around about it. I’ve watched him on film. I actually got cut-ups on him. When I saw the schedule, I get the cut-ups on who I think I need to study. So, once I saw the schedule for the 2009 season, him and Champ were the first ones, the only two, where I said, ‘Let me see what they did last year and see who they went against that was of quality’ and just get a jump on them. I’ve studied him this year, and it’s still the same: he’s one of the best.
Q: How much more fun does it make it when you guys are winning?
Ochocinco: It makes it a lot better. It makes it a lot better. Even though it’s fun to be winning, but my fun has to be, quote, put to a minimum because I get out of control. So, coach Lewis kind of got me in a little bind right now about doing some of the things that I do. So, there’s no care packages going out.
Q: Why did you feel so confident that the Bengals were going to go 12-4?
Ochocinco: Because I just know. I don’t know why people always continue to … If you ever follow me, anytime I say I’ve said anything regarding football, which is all I know, I’ve never been wrong. Whether I’m guaranteeing a win, whether I’m talking about beating a defensive back that following Sunday, I’ve never been wrong. So, I don’t know why people, when I say something outlandish like, ‘I think we’re going to go 12-4,’ I can see it. I’m the one here working. I’m the one that’s training with this team. I see the team every day. The outsiders base their information on what we did last year. Last year means nothing. It means nothing, and that’s why they laugh when I say 12-4 before the season even started. I saw this coming. I saw it coming.
Q: What was it that you saw of this turnaround coming?
Ochocinco: Man, the offense itself, everything. The offense, the defense. Really, the defense, they’re saving us. I mean, it’s not that we’re doing bad but as an offense, we’re not that ’05 (team) where we were putting up 30 points just for no god damn reason. That’s how we were. We were just scoring just to be scoring, for no reason at all. But we’re playing good football. We’re not playing great football as an offense. But we’re playing good football, we’re winning games, we’re making enough plays to win at the end.
Q: Were you ready to come in as a rookie and play a lot?
Ochocinco: Uhh. Yeah, I think so because after that rookie year, once I got to that second year, it was a wrap. I took off from there. There was no looking back.
Q: Did you think you should be starting as a rookie?
Ochocinco: No, no, no, no, no. I wasn’t ready then. No. no. Not like that, not to be No. 1. No.
Q: How did you handle dropped passes as a young player?
Ochocinco: My second year I had a big drop that really kind of messed me up. I remember Jon Kitna was my quarterback. I dropped a ball that really caused us to lose. That was ’02? I never forget that. That was the turnaround to my career right there. I remember Kitna saying there’s two things that could happen. Either this play right here is going to make you and ruin your career or you’re going to build off of it and shoot for the stars from this point.
Q: Can you teach sure hands as receiver?
Ochocinco: It’s natural man. It’s natural. You have some people who are just natural pass catchers and everything is smooth. Then you see some receivers and they sort of fight with the ball, it’s a struggle. Or you have some who always catch with their chest. I’m just natural. I lovethe ball. If you ever watch me play, I make love to the ball when it comes in.
Q: That’s you but how about a receiver that’s not as natural catching the ball?
Ochocinco: Yes, you have to work on it. You can’t be in the NFL and try to work on it now because it’s too late . . . I’m not trying to be funny guys. Come on now, seriously. When you get to this point this is not the point where you need to be coached. This is the point where you need to get better at your craft but you should already come in with a foundation already set. You should be ready to play. You can’t come into the NFL as a receiver, be in the NFL and then they have to teach you howto play receiver. Because you’re missing the boat, you’re going to miss the ship if you don’t know how to play receiver before you get here. You’re going to miss the ship already.
Q: How big of a boost has Benson been?
Ochocinco: Oh man, Ced is awesome man. Ced is awesome. There’s nothing else I can say. He’s playing awesome. He’s injured now but that will be gone and he’ll be back this week.
Q: What has been key to your turnaround?
Ochocinco: I don’t know man, I don’t know. Dude, watching the Raiders on (expletive) defense that front line is awesome, the corners are awesome. I can’t for the life of me understand how they are not winning. I don’t get it. I don’t get it. Because what I see on film, the record does not show. Because they look a lot better than their record shows so I’m not understanding what’s going on.
Q: Were you a Raiders fan in LA?
Ochocinco: No man. I’ve always been a Miami Dolphins fan since I was a baby. Nothing’s changed. I’m from Miami that’s all I know man.
Q: Thoughts on Russell?
Ochocinco: Man JaMarcus is extremely good. You have to remember a quarterback can only be as good as his supporting cast. Case closed. Always. It will always be that way. Always. You put a Tom Brady or a Peyton Manning, you take them out of their supporting casts, you take them out of the elements they’re in now, and you put them in JaMarcus’ situation do you think it would be that much better. I’m just asking. Realistically.
Q: Not when you have a different offensive coordinator every year, rookie receivers, I guess probably not.
Ochocinco: Thank you. Thank you. JaMarcus is a great quarterback but he can only be as good as his supporting cast. People have to remember that.
Thank you guys. Hello? Somebody tell Nnamdi. Don’t forget to relay this message. The message is, I love you but you’ve got to kiss the baby. All right guys. Tell Nnamdi I say hello to him. I haven’t talked to him for a long time so just gives him a heads up for me. All right. Thanks guys.
More to come later . . .