CINCINNATI -- Carson Palmer believes the Bengals need to work harder at eliminating penalties. Offensive lineman Bobbie Williams says they need to focus on converting short-yardage plays to get their stuck-in-a-rut offense moving.
Chad Ochocinco's remedy? More trash talk.
The six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver said Wednesday he has lost confidence on the field. After the final practice before a bye week, Ochocinco said he plans to run his mouth a little bit more to spark the passing game.
"I haven't been the Chad of old, the Chad that we're all used to -- the boisterous, sometimes borderline cocky, arrogant," he said. "But that's the way I am, and that's what everybody feeds off as a city and as an organization, and I haven't been that.
"I think when I do come back (from the bye), I'm going back to the Chad of old."
The challenge is to get back the Bengals' offense of old.
Cincinnati (2-3) has been merely ordinary despite signing wide receiver Terrell Owens to team with Ochocinco and drafting pass-catching tight end Jermaine Gresham in the first round. The Bengals have been particularly bad in the first half, scoring no more than 10 points in any game.
On Sunday, they were horrible at the end, too. One of Palmer's passes to Owens was wrestled away from the receiver for an interception that set up a tying touchdown. Then, when the Bengals were driving to get into field-goal range, one of Palmer's passes went off Ochocinco's hands and was intercepted, setting up the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' winning field goal with 1 second left.
Palmer was booed -- he also had an interception returned for a touchdown -- but Ochocinco said the last pick was his fault.
"It's easy, easy money," Ochocinco said. "I basically lost the game. And everybody will say, 'Well, the game is played within four quarters,' but there comes a time when a supposed-to-be-superstar is supposed to make that play, and your field-goal kicker comes in and kicks it.
"And I missed it. That's what I mean about the confidence. The confident Chad catches that ball 10 times out of 10."
Owens has been a boost to Cincinnati's passing game. He ranks seventh in the NFL with a team-high 31 catches and fifth overall with 476 yards. Ochocinco is 20th with 26 catches and ranks 18th with 316 yards. The Bengals' offense ranks ninth overall in the league -- a vast improvement over last season, but not nearly what the team expected.
Ochocinco has been more subdued in the locker room this season. He still tweets constantly and has a cable television show with Owens that made its debut Tuesday night, but he has toned down his comments about other players and teams.
That's fine with Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who has tried for years to rein in the receiver. In the past, Ochocinco has predicted victories and sent Pepto-Bismol to opposing cornerbacks. He has talked and tweeted trashy comments about the next opponent. He wanted to send mustard to the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers before a game last season, but Lewis put a kibosh on the condiments.
This season, Ochocinco has done far fewer interviews and toned down his comments leading up to games.
"You know, you're 32, you're trying to be a little bit more mature and try a different approach," he said. "That doesn't work. It's not working. Honestly, I'm going out there flat. Every game, I'm going out there flat. I'm unsure of myself when the ball is coming."
So, when the Bengals come off their bye and start preparing for a game at Atlanta, Ochocinco plans to have his mouth fully engaged.
"I'm able to play my style by being boisterous, by talking, by giving other teams bulletin-board material, and in my mind, I know I have no choice but to go out and perform at a high level," he said. "I feed off that. You've been with me for 10 years, and you know I've never been able to be quiet."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press