Terrell Owens: Best and Worse Case Scenarios in Cincinnati
With Cincinnati signing Terrell Owens, the buzz around Bengals Training Camp is getting louder.
Owens has been brought in to shore up a struggling Bengals pass offense and to take some pressure off of Chad Ochocinco.
But at age 36, just how effective will the aging Owens be? He showed flashes last season, but wasn't as explosive as he was in previous years. Whether that was from him slowing down or being constantly double-teamed in a horrid Buffalo offense is up for debate.
Owens can be a bang or bust pickup. If it works, the team could have the most dangerous passing attack in the league.
If it doesn't, Owens could hurt the Bengals. A known headache in the locker room, T.O. could decimate Cincinnati if things don't go his way. Although he appeared much more mellow last season, it's still a possibility.
With that said, here are the best and worst case scenarios of the signing.
Best Case Number One: Owens Sets Aside Ego
For the move to work, Owens will have to accept his role as the second receiver behind Chad Ochocinco.
The pair are very good friends and both have clamored for the move to happen all offseason. It appears that Owens will set aside his ego from what we've seen leading up to the signing.
If he does, Owens can thrive as a number two receiver. After facing constant double-teams and not finding any open space as a Bill, Owens shouldn't see the tight coverage that he saw last season.
Owens should be able to pull in 55 to 60 balls if he doesn't mind being in Ochocinco's shadow. He has to realize he's not the stud from his days in Philadelphia and Dallas, but he can still have an impact.
Owens never really clamored about the state of the Bills last season, which is a good sign for Cincinnati. If he's calmed down, he can thrive there.
Best Case Number Two: Takes Pressure off Chad, Carson
By the end of last season it became wildly obvious that the Bengals lacked the potent passing attack they used to have.
The disappointing performance of Carson Palmer and his receivers could be attributed to many things.
Was it mainly from Palmer's lack of efficiency or was it because none of the receivers besides Ochocinco could give him any support?
If Owens succeeds, people won't have to worry about such things.
Laveranues Coles struggled mightily as a second receiver and didn't have the burst off the line to get open for Palmer. Owens is a much better receiver than Coles.
Although Chad had a resurgence at receiver, the Jets were able to blanket him all day in the playoffs. With his best receiver stuck on Revis Island, Palmer had no shot at leading a playoff victory.
Owens allows both to succeed this season. Besides Owens, Antonio Bryant, and Jermaine Gresham give the Bengals a much better passing threat than last season. If it works out, Palmer will have no trouble distributing the ball.
Ochocinco will also see more open looks with Owens diverting more attention his way. He could have an even better year than his 1,047-yard effort in 2009.
If it works out, Owens helps these two tremendously.
Best Case Number Three: Rushing Attack Opened Up
An unexpected shift to a power offense was seen in 2009 with the emergence of the Bengal offensive line and Cedric Benson.
As the season progressed, however, teams game-planned better around the attack and Benson was noticeably worn down.
With a return to an established passing attack, Benson could see less carries and also bigger holes. The same wear and tear that the season brought last year won't be the case this year.
That will only happen if Owens and the rest of the receivers, along with Palmer, become the Bengals' prolific passing attack of old.
A healthy Benson all season might be what the Bengals need to get over the edge.
Worst Case Number One: Owens is Unhappy Over Role
T.O. has always been the go-to-guy for any team he's played for. How will he accept being demoted for this year?
He hypothetically could only get the ball around 50 times and only garner around 700 to 800 yards. Would he be OK with that?
Right now, it looks like he is, but when the season starts will that be the case?
He's used to being the first look by a quarterback. Such might not be the case in Cincinnati, and he might only be thrown at five to six times a game.
If he has high expectations, Owens could be disappointed in his role. As we've seen before he lets his disappointment be known.
Owens could be the tipping point for the lack of control in the locker room. If he openly expresses his malcontent for the Cincinnati offense, the move could be a disaster.
Worst Case Number Two: Can't Get Along With Chad, Distracts Palmer
They've shown great chemistry so far, but will the two most vocal receivers be able to coexist on the same field?
What if one is unhappy about the number of catches they get? Both will let their feelings be heard if something is not going their way.
This has to be the biggest concern for the Bengals. With only one ball on the field, how can Palmer make everyone happy?
Maybe they'll set aside their egos. But it hasn't been seen from them before. That makes it tough to just assume it will happen.
Worse, the receivers could be a distraction to Carson Palmer. With both clamoring in his ear all the time, Palmer could have a hard time succeeding with the receivers.
Worst Case Number Three: Losing Season
The Owens move was made to put the Bengals over the top as AFC North favorites.
If Owens isn't happy and becomes a headache in the locker room, it could lead to a tailspin of a season for Cincinnati.
As Bobbie Williams said, the Bengals have a strong enough locker room to keep Owens in check, but we'll see what happens when he actually arrives.
While his unhappiness probably wouldn't bring down the whole team, it's not impossible. It's happened in San Francisco and Philadelphia.
The Bengals have also seen seasons turn bad due to lack of character. Things have changed, but if Owens isn't happy they can't let him take them down this year.
Probable Scenario: Somewhere in the Middle
I've presented both the best and worst case scenarios for Owens. When it comes down to it, he'll probably fall somewhere in the middle.
He definitely makes the offense more dynamic, but he shouldn't expect more than 50 or 60 catches in the offense. That's something he has to expect.
He'll take some pressure off Chad, which will lead the receiver to have another quality year. Carson also should have a resurgence with his services.
But he can't expect to be a star. When things don't go his way he has to accept it. From what was seen in Buffalo last year, a new modest Owens could be expected.
It could be a wild ride. Whether it turns out good or bad is yet to be seen. All I have to say: Get your popcorn ready Cincinnati.