Preparing for the Ocho-less Bengals

Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell are very clearly not Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens.

Nope. Not even close.

Ochocinco and Owens - the Bengals' top two wide receivers for much of this season - have made a combined 12 Pro Bowls and have caught a total of 210 career touchdowns.

Simpson and Caldwell - Cincinnati's top two wide receivers currently, thanks to injuries to Owens and Ochocinco - have never been to the Pro Bowl and have a total of just five career touchdown receptions.

We learned today that Ochocinco will not be playing in Sunday's Bengals-Ravens game here in Baltimore because of an ankle injury. He will join Owens, who is out for the year with a knee injury, on Cincinnati's list of injured receivers, meaning Simpson and Caldwell will need to fill in.

This is obviously good news for the Ravens, who have been burned by Ochocinco quite a few times over the years.

"To me, Chad's the toughest receiver to guard in the NFL," cornerback Chris Carr said. "I feel like he's the best. He demands a lot of attention."

But don't take Carr's relief that Ochocinco isn't playing as a sign that he doesn't respect the younger Bengals wide receivers.

After seeing Simpson put up 124 receiving yards and two touchdowns and Caldwell add 87 receiving yards of his own last week against the Chargers, Carr and the Ravens know that they still have to be on their game on Sunday.

"Just because [Ochocinco's] not playing, doesn't mean guys can't come in that are capable," Carr said. "Last week, they scored 34 points. Simpson had two touchdowns. Caldwell's very capable. They were just behind two really good, Hall of Fame receivers. So, it's going to change from the stand point where maybe this guy won't be as difficult to cover, but it doesn't mean he's not a good player that you're covering.

"I think it will be a big mistake if people go out there and think it's going to be a cakewalk, because San Diego - who's actually a pretty good team defensively - they got blitzed. Watching that game, it was like, 'OK, these guys are for real.' So, it's still going to be a tough game for us as a secondary."

Carr was also complimentary of Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, who has had a rough year statistically, but is still well thought of in the Ravens' locker room.

"When you have a quarterback like that that can make every throw, it gives wide receivers more options," Carr said. "They can run digs, they can run comebacks, they can run out routes, and some receivers don't have that luxury with some quarterbacks. They can only run certain routes.

"So, we're not going to go up against the best receiver in the game, but it's still going to be a challenge for us."

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