Who’s Replacing Housh

While the verbose Chad Ochocinco continues to yammer away about anything and everything,

he has managed one worthwhile quote about his new, much quieter teammate, Laveranues Coles.

“T.J.’s gone. Laveranues is here. They’re two different types of players – completely different. They have two different types of styles, but they will both be successful.” says the man with two numbers.

It’s a challenge to find Coles’ name on the internet without finding T.J. Houshmandzadeh’s nearby and many expect Coles to become the offensive replacement for Housh. Their numbers compare favorably, and Coles will certainly “start” along side Chad in Week 1, but as the human megaphone said, they have different styles.

Coles seems more in the mold of the little-guy receiver. He isn’t much smaller than Housh, but he seems more synonymous with players like Steve Smith, Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle-El. T.J. is a medium-sized receiver, who isn’t all that fast, has a 14-letter surname and is half-Irani—good luck finding a comparison with that. But, aside from the Persian heritage, one could bring up Derrick Mason, or, dare I even say it, Hines Ward, as receiver comparisons.

Coles is listed at 5’11’’ and 193 lbs. but seems to play much more squirrel-like than his size indicates. That isn’t to say that the man isn’t tough—he’s plenty tough—it’s just to say that he seems to move about more frantically than does Housh. T.J. plays the game with a certain dash of style that is difficult for anyone else to emulate. However, we do have one guy who could do just that.

If it’s a T.J. prototype you’re after, look no further than second-year Bengal Andre Caldwell. Late in the season last year, Caldwell showed flashes of Housh on crossing and comeback routes, took hand-offs on reverses and even had some direct snaps in the stylish Wildcat offense that everyone’s trying out these days. It became quickly apparent that Caldwell had been studying and learning from the pony-tailed guru, and though they may have not realized it at the time, a certain torch was passed between the two.

Coles will do different things for the offense—perhaps a kind of Peter Warrick role—than Houshmandzadeh has recently done for the team. But if Caldwell has the same determination as T.J. and even an eighth of the analytical mind that Housh plays with, then the Bengals are harboring yet another pro-bowl potential receiver as deep as fourth on the team’s depth chart.

If Carson Palmer is protected, this passing attack could actually wake up and breathe fire again.


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