Carson Palmer doesn't mind Ochocinco's absence one little bit

Let's play a little game. Let's read some quotes from Carson Palmer(notes), and then try to figure out what it would sound like if he didn't have to process it through the old "try not to say anything controversial" filter before speaking.

First, let's go back to what he said to Michael Silver a week ago about the Bengals wide receivers.

“We’ve got guys who want [Ochocinco and Houshmandzadeh’s] jobs so bad, it’s crazy. They’ll do anything. Guys like Andre Caldwell(notes), who’s a hungry young receiver, and Jerome Simpson(notes), a second-year guy from Coastal Carolina. They’re ready to do whatever I ask them, and whatever coach asks of them. The team chemistry overall is awesome.”

And now, a slightly more pointed quote from an appearance on Sirius satellite radio yesterday. From

"It's definitely a new look for the Bengals receiver corps but I couldn't be happier with the guys we've got," Palmer said. "T.J.'s (Houshmandzadeh) gone and Chad's pretty much gone, he hasn't been here, so we've got guys that want those two spots, guys that compete day in and day out, when we're out there on the field, running, conditioning and in the weight room lifting. They're guys that want to take over for those two spots. They look every bit capable of doing what we're going to ask them to do."

I'll go first. Here's how I think that would have come out if Carson wasn't being careful and tiptoeing around the subject of Ochocinco's absence:

"I could care less if Chad ever shows up, and if he does, I hope Marvin Lewis makes him play special teams and carry Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell's luggage on the road. I'd rather take the field with guys who are young, hungry and coachable. Miss all the practices you want, Chad. We're doing just fine without you."

Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but that's the vibe I get.

And while we're on the subject of Bengals receivers, Palmer also notes that Chris Henry's lighting it up in practices so far.

"We've got Chris Henry ... He's a guy that's had a great offseason, really turned his life around. I'm excited to watch him play. He's a guy that seems like he catches a touchdown every other ball that's thrown to him, he's that explosive. He's kind of taken over for Chad's position and he's a guy that, like I said earlier, does not want to give up that spot right now."

That's gotta be exciting for Bengals fans. No one ever said Chris Henry wasn't talented. If all the other garbage is finally behind him, and that talent actually has a chance to matter, he could do big things for the Bengals. And it sounds like Carson Palmer would be just as happy throwing the ball to Henry as he would anyone else, including a certain number 85.

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