|Chad Johnson's catch puts sparkle in Bengals intrasquad scrimmage|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 03 August 2007 15:30|
When coach Marvin Lewis decided that his Pro Bowl receiver had done enough with three catches during the Cincinnati Bengals' intrasquad scrimmage Friday night, Johnson waved his arms and pleaded his case for more time.
Told that he was finished, Johnson removed his helmet and dropped his head in disgust. He sidled up to teammate T.J. Houshmandzadeh and complained about the unfairness of it all.
With three plays, he did plenty.
Johnson had the most impressive play of the scrimmage - no surprise there - and showed that his timing with Carson Palmer is nearly perfect with a month left before the season opener.
``I'm very excited, man,'' he said.
He just wished he'd gotten a few more passes in an otherwise humdrum workout in front of 8,500 fans on a hot, muggy evening.
``I didn't play long enough,'' Johnson groused. ``Didn't play long enough at all. I'm very upset. It's sort of like teasing us a bit.''
His three connections with Palmer amounted to a tease of what could be ahead for one of the NFL's most dangerous pass tandems. Palmer has fully recovered from reconstructive knee surgery that limited him in training camp last year and hurt their timing on pass routes heading into the season.
No such problems this year.
``He's 100 percent right now,'' Johnson said. ``We're going to be fine. No. 9 and No. 85 equals seven.''
Seven points, he meant.
They didn't hook up for any scoring plays on Friday, but they showed from the first play how it's tough to stop them when they're in sync. Palmer's first pass was a perfectly timed down-and-out to Johnson for 11 yards, with starting cornerback Deltha O'Neal covering.
Then, Palmer hit Johnson in stride for a 16-yard gain. Finally, they pulled off the play of the day.
Palmer lofted the ball down the left sideline for Johnson, who outjumped Keiwan Ratliff and came down with both feet inbounds. There was nothing that the backup cornerback could do.
``It's all natural ability,'' said Palmer, who was 7-for-9 for 79 yards with a touchdown and an interception. ``I can't think of another guy that has body control like he does. He contorts his body, makes great catches, and he always seems to stay inbounds.''
Palmer also is having an impressive training camp. He played the first two series without a brace on his rebuilt left knee - quarterbacks couldn't be tackled - and went 5-of-5 for 69 yards. He came back for a series later in the scrimmage and threw the interception.
The Bengals also were reminded of what they'll miss.
No. 3 receiver Chris Henry played with the second-string offense and caught a 35-yard pass from Doug Johnson. Henry is suspended for the first eight games for repeatedly violating the NFL's conduct policy.
Cornerback Leon Hall, the team's top draft pick, had three tackles and covered Johnson a few times when the pass went the other way. He made one nice play, catching up to receiver Reggie McNeal after a quick pass and dropping him for a 2-yard loss.
``That was fun,'' Hall said.
Twenty-one players, including starting tackles Levi Jones and Willie Anderson, didn't play because of injury.