After spending some time as "mature Chad," Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco has decided to bring back the old, fun-loving personality that surprises opponents with taunts, end zone celebrations and the occasional care package. He has started back to his old ways last week, and the Falcons are doing what they can to ignore the noise coming from Ochocinco
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — It all started last week as the Falcons were preparing to play the Eagles.
Chad Ochocino, the prolific Bengals wide receiver known as much for his antics off the field as his star ability on it, sent a tweet on his Twitter account stating that he was planning on sending a care package to Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson that would contain Ochocinco's book, "I Can't Be Stopped," among other various items that would surely light a fire under the defensive backs.
Last week came and went without so much as a letter arriving from Ochocinco.
This week, Ochocinco tweeted more threats of presents sent to Falcons defensive backs, including the possibility of T-shirts.
"I haven't gotten anything," Falcons cornerback Christopher Owens said before reiterating the point.
The Falcons, as of Wednesday afternoon, had not received so much as a postcard from the boisterous Bengals wide out, and the Falcons defensive backs kept their lips sealed Wednesday when most of the questions during the open locker room session revolved around Ochocinco's giving mood.
Wide receiver Roddy White, however, took exception to the mere threat that Ochocinco might have taken the time to send some gifts to the Falcons DBs. Well, perhaps not that the gifts were sent, but that they may not be of a certain quality.
White said Wednesday that the Falcons defensive backs enjoy the finer things in life, and if Ochocinco sent them a package full of T-shirts, they better cost at least $300. White said if a package did arrive with shirts, he was going to personally check the quality and if they weren't purchased at a designer store, he is going to burn them.
On a more serious note, White said any antics pulled by Ochocinco or his new counterpart, Terrell Owens, will only help add to White's desire to prove something on the field.
"I like those guys. They motivate me on the offensive side of the ball to go after their guys, just to go out there and just dominate the whole game," White said. "Him doing all those antics and stuff like that, it's just only (motivating us) on offense and we'll be ready, geared up. He doesn't play defense for them, but they better be ready."
White was the only member of the Falcons' locker room Wednesday that spoke candidly about the potential prank gifts and Ochocinco's threats to have a special celebration in the end zone come Sunday if he scores.
The rest of the team brushed it off as Ochocinco just being himself. The Falcons hadn't had to face a week of shenanigans from the other side to this point this year, but the way they've approached every game this season has been helpful in dealing with the head games the Bengals have been dishing out this week.
The Falcons have had a workman-like mentality since training camp. They come in, work hard and play even harder. With the exception of last week's game against Philadelphia, the Falcons have been able to come back every time they've had a chance to after being down, decimating opponents' leads and pulling off some thrilling victories.
It's business as usual.
Ochocinco's tweets haven't changed that. The Falcons are more focused on what's going to happen on the field, like how they'll stop the Ochocinco-T.O. duo with the possibility that Robinson may not play after suffering a concussion last week at Philadelphia.
Ochocinco and Owens have the stats to back up all the talk. While Ochocinco is being less productive so far this year than he has been in the past, he has still pulled in 26 receptions for 316 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Owens has been the big target with 31 receptions, 476 yards and two TDs.
"Me, personally, I look forward to it," said safety William Moore, who is leading the Falcons with three interceptions this year. "In order to be the best, you've got to go up against the best, so that's a great opportunity for all of us defensive backs to go out and prove we can play against some of the best in the league."
In order for the defensive backs to do that, the defensive front has to do its job. Quarterback pressure was difficult to come by against the Eagles last week, despite the Falcons' front seven making a lot of appearances in opponents' backfields this season.
Rookie defensive tackle Corey Peters just slid into the starting defensive tackle role opposite Jonathan Babineaux, and while Peters is no stranger to dealing with smack-talking opponents, he — like the rest of the Falcons — is preparing for the performance that backs up all the talk.
"I think that's part of their game, to try and get in your head," Peters said. "I think it actually helps them play better. Some guys are like that. I think you see them everywhere you go.
"They're very talented. I don't think anybody can say that they aren't, so we'll have our hands full with them."