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Sunday Morning NFL Quick-Hits

Every Sunday morning our NFL columnist Anthony Stalter will provide his “quick-hits” from around the league. You can follow him on Twitter @AnthonyStalter.

+ The Miami Dolphins might be on the verge of making a mistake by signing Chad Ochocinco, who reportedly lacked football I.Q. to survive in New England. Said Boston Globe’s Greg Bedard: “The Patriots would literally tell him to run a route a certain way, and a minute later he would run it the other way. It happened all the time.” Ochocinco made six Pro Bowls, led the NFL in receiving yards once (2006), and led the AFC in receiving yards twice (2003, 2005) in Cincinnati because he was allowed to freelance, which is one of the many things that frustrated Carson Palmer. So why would the Dolphins want someone like Ochocinco on their roster when there’s a strong possibility that they’ll start a rookie at quarterback this season? Teams need to put young players in position to succeed, period. It makes no sense to start Ryan Tannehill and then throw Ochocinco into the mix when the idea is not to stunt the rookie’s development. If Tom Brady couldn’t work with Ochocinco, why would anyone believe that Tannehill could?

- Smart move by the Patriots to lock up tight end Rob Gronkowski to a six-year, $54 million extension through 2019. Only $13.17 million is guaranteed, which is quite the bargain for the most dominate tight end in the league. This move also indicates that the Patriots have zero concerns about Gronk’s offseason ankle surgery and neither should anyone else.

+ Jets receiver Santonio Holmes is being made out to look like a baby following his meltdown at the team’s OTAs on Thursday. But keep in mind he had missed voluntary workouts while in Germany on a USO trip, so receivers coach Sanjay Lal could have done a better job easing Holmes back into action. After all, it’s June – not August. There will come a time when Holmes needs to ratchet up his workouts so that he’s prepared for the season but it does the Jets no good for Lal to burn out his receivers or risk injury three months before the season. That said, Holmes could have also acted like a professional. There was no need for him to toss his helmet and make a scene. His unpredictable attitude is one of the reasons why the Steelers felt compelled to trade him despite the fact that he was their Super Bowl MVP in 2009.

- Brandon Weeden has better size, a bigger arm, and has reportedly outperformed Colt McCoy in OTAs this spring. But it still doesn’t benefit Pat Shurmur to name a starter before or during training camp. Teams should strive for competition at all positions, especially at quarterback. Players become awfully content when they’re making a ton of money and know that nobody is breathing down their necks for their starting job. Even if it’s a foregone conclusion that Weeden will be the starter, it behooves Shurmur and the Browns to make him work for it all summer.

+ It’s great to hear that Michael Vick has been the first player in and the last player out during Eagles’ practices this offseason. It also pisses me off thinking about how undedicated he was in Atlanta. Did he want to win? No doubt. But you never read reports about him being the first one to the practice facility in Flowery Branch when he was quarterbacking the Falcons. Part of the blame falls on owner Arthur Blank and former coach Jim Mora, whom allowed Vick to come and go as he pleased. But considering the Falcons paid him franchise money to be the leader of their team, one would think he would have taken more pride in his work instead of continuously trying to get by on his talent alone. It’s a shame when you read that Vick is now finally dedicated to his craft 11 years after he was drafted but then again, it’s better late than never.

- From a defensive standpoint, one team that might be significantly improved this season from 2011 is the Arizona Cardinals. The team looked lost throughout the first half last year trying to learn new defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s defense and as five-time Pro Bowler Adrian Wilson admitted, there were plenty of times where players didn’t even know if they were in the right position. The Cardinals also started a rookie at cornerback in Patrick Peterson, who suffered plenty of growing pains before coming into his own in the final six weeks of the season. One area the Cardinals must improve on is their interception total. They had just one pick in the final six weeks of the season and they went eight games in which they had zero interceptions. Assuming they’re more comfortable in Horton’s defense in year two and they can hang onto the ball when they have opportunities to make a play, Arizona should show marked improvements from 2011. Now only if they had a quarterback on the other side of the ball to lead them to the playoffs…

+ Asante Samuel is already paying dividends in Atlanta. After lining up opposite Matt Ryan four times throughout his career, the Pro Bowl cornerback has been giving instructions to his new teammate on how the quarterback can become more difficult to defend. Samuel has also reportedly brought a ton of energy to the practice field and fellow cornerback Dunta Robinson is thrilled that the presence of his new teammate will allow him to kick inside to the nickel position. Robinson is at his best when he can get his hands on a receiver and be physical at the line of scrimmage. The past two years he struggled in former defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder’s scheme because he was forced to play off the ball. But with Samuel and Mike Nolan now in Atlanta, Robinson will play inside where he thrived early in his career as a member of the Houston Texans.

- All signs point to Chris Johnson having a bounce back year in Tennessee. It’s public knowledge that he showed up to camp out of shape last year following his contract dispute and the lockout. But Dan Pompei of the National Football Post has been told by sources that Johnson has rededicated himself this offseason. Of course, it doesn’t matter how good a shape Johnson is in if his offensive line doesn’t open up holes for him in the running game. Eugene Amano, David Stewart and Leroy Harris all struggled in run blocking last season and Johnson often found himself bottled up. It’s great that he’s committed to offseason workouts but without a better effort from the Titans’ front five, he won’t be rushing for over 2,000 yards again anytime soon.

+ Despite a messy contract situation, it’s hard to envision a scenario in which Matt Forte doesn’t report to training camp. Forte wants a long-term deal from the Bears, who seemingly want to go year to year with their star running back. But at the end of the day Forte is a perfect fit for the Bears’ offense and he’s such a competitor that I don’t see him holding out all season. Plus, he has no leverage. He’s coming off a season-ending knee injury, he’s a running back in a passing league, and the Bears signed Michael Bush earlier this offseason as insurance. For Forte to hold out during one of his prime years doesn’t make sense. Plus, as long as he signs his franchise contract before the July 16 deadline he’ll make $7.7 in guaranteed money. Nobody is going to pass up that kind of cash, no matter how angry they are at their team.

- If the reports out of Seattle are any indication then the Seahawks might be in store for another rocky year at the quarterback position. Despite landing a three-year, $26 million contract, Matt Flynn has yet to distance himself from neither Russell Wilson nor Tarvaris Jackson. Everyone has been cautious when it comes to predicting Flynn’s success in his first year with the Seahawks, which is smart given his lack of experience. But it’s not like the Hawks gave him chump change – they paid him starter’s money. Thus, it’s a little surprising that Flynn has yet to emerge from a pack that also consists of a rookie third-round pick and one of the most underwhelming quarterbacks in the league.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Quick Hits: Bill Belichick only pays half price for his talent

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco gestures to a teammate from the sidelines during the second half of the Bengals’ NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Maryland October 11, 2009. REUTERS/Joe Giza (UNITED STATES SPORT FOOTBALL)

In Friday’s Quick-Hits, I discuss the one big difference between the Redskins and Patriots (besides you know, that whole winning thing), Chris Johnson’s second holdout in as many years, the narrowing race to sign Nnamdi Asomugha, and the reuniting of Roy Williams and Mike Martz. Plus Vince Young, the Bucs and more.

- In the wake of the Patriots acquiring Chad Ochocinco from the Bengals, MMA Blitz writer and fellow TSR contributor Drew Ellis texted me this last night: “Is it just me or are the Patriots turning into the Redskins?” I get his point. The Patriots have never been worried about “name” talent; Bill Belichick just plugs players into his schemes and they win. But besides the obvious differences (like winning), the main reason the Patriots and Redskins are different is because Belichick never pays full price for anything. What did he give up to acquire Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth the last two days? Two fifth round picks and a sixth-rounder? That’s nothing. That’s three special teamers or camp bodies in exchange for a receiver who absolutely loves Belichick and one of the best interior defensive linemen in the game when he’s motivated. On the flip side, the Redskins have paid out the ass for veteran talent and haven’t gotten anything to show for it. As I texted Drew, Belichick doesn’t take a dump in the morning without having a game plan. These moves will pan out – I guarantee it.

- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The Titans need to pony up and pay Chris Johnson, who will not report to camp on Friday says beat writer Jim Wyatt. Johnson has been one of the most productive backs in the NFL the past few seasons and he’s only 25. That means he has four or five more productive seasons left in him, so why Tennessee would dick around now is beyond me. They’re going to need this kid when Jake Locker is ready to take over the offense and is looking around for help. And seeing as how Kenny Britt probably won’t be around in another year or two, giving CJ a five-year deal makes a lot of sense.

- The race to sign Nnamdi Asomugha is apparently down to two teams according to NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi. Apparently some players in Dallas (with Tony Romo being one of them) are willing to restructure their deals in order to land the top corner on the market, while the Jets have made some moves in the past 24 hours to help clear cap space. (They released Mark Brunell and waived CB Will Billingsley and G Marlon Davis.) If it’s down to the Cowboys and Jets, I think New York walks away the winner. But I’m also the guy who predicted that he would land with the Bucs so…Dallas it is.

- The Bears have reunited Roy Williams with his former coordinator Mike Martz after signing the receiver to a two-year deal. It’s a nice fit given how productive Williams was under Martz in Detroit. It’s funny though, I have often wondered whether or not Williams could get any slower and the Bears have provided the answer. His speed should transfer real nice onto that dirt patch Chicago calls a field.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young (10) signs autographs for fans after a 24-10 victory over the Arizona Cardinals of an NFL pre-season game at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee on August 23, 2010. (UPI Photo/Frederick Breedon IV)

- Vince Young did the right thing signing a one-year deal with the Eagles. There was no market for him as a starter, so he might as well go to a place where the coaching staff is excellent and he can learn from a guy in Michael Vick (who obviously had to do some growing up himself). Besides, Vick always gets hurt once or twice a year so maybe if V.Y. turns in a solid preseason and fills in admirably for Vick, there will be a market for him next offseason.

- Let me get this straight: the Bucs want nothing to do with Nnamdi Asomugha but they hand free agent punter Michael Koenen $19.5 million, with $6.5 million guaranteed? Koenen is one of the best in the league but it’s a little befuddling why Tampa would pony up that much for a punter instead of at least kicking the tires on Asomugha (especially given Aqib Talib’s legal issues). My God, man.

- For the past two years I have wondered why the Saints were so willing to push Reggie Bush out the door. He said he was willing to take a paycut to stay in NOLA, so why not keep the versatile playmaker around as a role player? But the deal they just made for Darren Sproles was solid. The Saints have averaged more yards and points with Bush out of the lineup than with him in it, and they essentially just filled his role with a cheaper option in Sproles. Oh, and New Orleans also received a late-round pick and a 22-year-old special teams ace in Jonathon Amaya for Bush when they sent him to Miami. Nice work this offseason, Mickey Loomis.

- Here’s my off-the-cuff prediction of the day: Osi Umenyiora winds up in Atlanta after the Giants cut him.

Chad Ochocinco rides a bull…sort of. [video]

Chad Ochocinco…the bull rider.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco gestures to a teammate from the sidelines during the second half of the Bengals’ NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Maryland October 11, 2009. REUTERS/Joe Giza (UNITED STATES SPORT FOOTBALL)

After giving Major League Soccer a try earlier this year, Chad Ochocinco will continue on his quest for attention (I’m kidding! I’m kidding!…Relax…) when he gives professional bull riding a try.

Ochocinco has accepted a challenge from Professional Bull Riders chief operating officer Sean Gleason to ride a bull at the LucasOil Invitational this weekend in Duluth. The Ocho will earn $10,000 if he rides a bull and if he can stay aboard for the required eight seconds, the PBR will give him a new Ford F-150 and allow him to name the bull.

USA Today has the rest of the details.

Sean Gleason, chief operating officer of the PBR, responded with this tweet to Ochocinco: “that’s the deal. Show up and get on the bull u get 10K, ride him for 8 secs and its a brand new F150 from @teampbr @fordtrucks.”

Ochocinco then posted: “if I stay on for 8 seconds FORD will give me an F-150? I challenge your best bull and i’ll give the truck to 1 of my followers.”

“The Ford F-150 we’re offering will be there, we hope (Ochocinco) is too,” Gleason said. “He’s a gifted athlete, but bull riding is a much different sport and climbing on the back of a bull in the chutes takes a little more than Twitter confidence, let alone calling for the gate (to open).

“We admire Ochocinco’s interest in the sport. If he actually gets on and nods his head (to open the gate), he’ll find out that two-a-days in the summer heat are nothing compared to the eight seconds faced by PBR bull riders week in and week out.”

So this is what it’s come down to huh, NFL? You’ve got me blogging about an attention-seeking athlete (I’m kidding! I’m kidding!..Relax…) and his bull riding adventures. You and your lockout make…me…sick.

Chad Ochocinco takes swipe at Marvin Lewis via Twitter

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco (85) talks with head coach Marvin Lewis during the second quarter of their game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis on November 14, 2010. UPI /Mark Cowan

Chad Ochocinco has taken to his Twitter page to express his feelings about the Bengals and head coach Marvin Lewis this week.

On Tuesday, the Ocho tweeted: “Y’all ever lost somebody you felt was close to you, but they flip on you without giving you the script? Marvin Lewis hurt my feelings.”

Ochocinco has repeated several times that he loves Lewis, but he’s too hurt to make it work in 2011. When he was asked if the Bengals should select Georgia receiver A.J. Green with the No. 4 overall pick in the draft, Ochocinco responded with: “He’d be perfect. I’ve done all I can, my time is up.”

On Friday, Ochocinco turned it up a notch with his criticism of Lewis:

“Lewis: who’s 60-67 all-time, 0-2 in playoffs, and only 2 seasons with +.500 record, can’t criticize my thumbs for tweeting. They win 4 me”

Is anyone surprised by Ochocinco’s comments? This is what he does. He likes going against the grain and being flamboyant. He likes the attention and he likes being boisterous. He thrives off this and he doesn’t really care about what he says and he doesn’t care about what you think. This…is…what…he…does.

The problem with “what he does” is that people are getting tired of it. It seems like Lewis and the Bengals are tired of the way Ocho handles himself and even people outside of the organization are sick of his act as well.

So the fact that Ochocinco says these things doesn’t bother me and it doesn’t bother some Bengal fans. (Some fans even like it.) But if you’re going to do these things, if you’re going to tweet about how your coach is essentially a loser, then you run the risk of your team flipping on you “without giving you the script.”

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