Johnson Cuts Chatter for Bears

Lake Forest - Bengals receiver Chad Johnson has never been afraid to playfully taunt his opponent leading up to a game. The same guy that sent Pepto Bismol to the Cleveland last year will keep it low key against the Bears.

Although Johnson wouldn't go as far as to say he was intimidated by the physical nature of the Chicago defense, he was uncharacteristically kind when it came to talking about the Bears.

"It's much respect, seriously," Johnson said. "I never even talk like this, but man film does not lie, therefore 85 is going to keep his mouth shut this week."

Shutting down Johnson on the field will be a different story. He's a student of the game that knows he succeed against any defense because of countless hours breaking down film.

Aside from dedication off the field, the six-foot-1, 192-pound Johnson is blessed with ability. His reception totals have increased in each of his four seasons. He went to the Pro Bowl the past two years with 185 receptions, 2,629 yards and 19 touchdowns over that time. He's on pace for even better numbers this season. After two games, he's tied for second in the NFL lead with 16 receptions.

"Chad Johnson is a good football player," said head coach Lovie Smith. "I'll say that. He talks a lot, but he backs it up. He comes to play each week. He plays hard. It's going to be a big challenge for us. Our defensive backs will have their work cut out for them."

Nathan Vasher, who is tied for the NFL lead with Cincinnati's Deltha O'Neal with three interceptions, will have an opportunity to add to that total with Johnson being Carson Palmer's favorite target.

"An explosive wide receiver, a guy that brings a lot of passion and just explosiveness to the game, so you never know what he'll end up doing," Vasher said of Johnson. "You know they'll try to get him the ball and we just try to defend that."

Johnson singled out Mike Brown, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Nathan Vasher when he talked about the defense. However, Johnson failed to remember Vasher's name, referring to him as "the second year DB."

At this point, Vasher is not taking offense to the slight. Instead flying under the radar is just fine.

"He can just call me 31 or that second year guy or whoever," Vasher said. "I mean I'm fine with it, but when we get out there on defense we're going to fly around and do a great job."

Although Johnson doesn't believe anyone can cover him one-on-one, he sees the opportunity to go against the Bears as a chance to play the best.

"It motivates me to play at a higher level when we play defenses like we're getting to face this weekend," Johnson said. "And right now from watching them on field they are the best defense I've seen because of the way they play.

"Everything that I do, everything that we do offensively has to be sound and perfect."

Mike Brown's hit on Detroit TE Marcus Pollard has put opposing receivers on notice that if you go over the middle of the field there's going to be a penalty.

"He respects us but the first catch he has all that respect probably goes out the window," Brown said.

"Our job as a secondary is don't let the receivers catch the ball but if they do, tackle them hard and hopefully we make enough physical tackles that they do see it and know of they catch the ball that they're going to pay for us."

The Bears will have to limit Johnson's production on Sunday, with that the Bears chances for a victory increase and he'll have less material to use when he does decide to talk.


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