The Mouth That Roared

As if having Chris Hovan talking a little smack about the Vikings coaching staff wasn't bad enough, now the mighty Bengals are throwing out some mighty wind.

There's no questioning that Bengals WR Chad Johnson is a big talent. About the only thing bigger than his talent is his mouth, which is why it came as little surprise that he and Fred Smoot -- another All-Pro talkmeister -- would have a war of words.

But most expected it wouldn't come until Sunday. Instead, Johnson opened a can of worms by saying that Smoot is better at talking than playing.

When asked about Smoot, Johnson said, "He's a good talker. He's a real good talker. He's a solid corner." He followed that up with looking into a TV camera and effectively calling Smoot out.

There was no mention of Antoine Winfield in his comments, which is probably a smart thing because Winfield will likely let his hitting do his talking Sunday. But expect to see Smoot and Johnson grill to grill Sunday. In a battle of talkers this one might be a stalemate -- but Johnson cast the first stone.

WEDNESDAY NOTES
* Sam Cowart is still a question mark for Sunday and there are concerns that the turf in Cincy won't be the most condusive for a player with a calf injury. If he can't go, the team has pretty much committed to starting Rod Davis in his place instead of moving E.J. Henderson back inside.
* Bryant McKinnie was still wearing an immobilizing boot on his left ankle Tuesday, but coach Mike Tice said he expects that McKinnie will be able to play barring a setback. If he can't Adam Goldberg will take his place.
* Kevin Williams pleaded not guilty to charges of domestic abuse yesterday. A trial date has preliminarily been set for Oct. 18 -- the week the Vikings play the Packers.

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