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Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
|AP Photo/Al Behrman|
|T.J. Houshmandzadeh and the Cincinnati Bengals open the season this Sunday against the Ravens.|
CINCINNATI -- Recently we caught up with Bengals Pro Bowl receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh to discuss, among other things, Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens and his disagreement with ESPN's preseason picks.
1. First off, can we get a general reaction to the recent release of former teammates Willie Anderson and Rudi Johnson?
T.J. Houshmandzadeh: I'm shocked, but I'm not shocked, if that makes any sense. I was shocked by Willie, but I wasn't shocked by Rudi because of what was going on prior. So that didn't shock me. But, hey, that's why when guys hold out for more money, don't talk (negative) about them. Because when we're underpaid, you can't get more. But when they feel like you're overpaid, they ask you to take a pay cut or they release you. That's just the nature of the business.
2. Those were two important cogs on the 2005 playoff team. Are you disappointed you all weren't able to have more success together the past two seasons?
TH: You're always disappointed when you don't have success. But I think we still have the players here to get it done. Whether we do or we don't remains to be seen. But we're going to be better than what your co-workers [at ESPN] think we are. So tell your co-workers we will see how much they really know, because we will be better than what you all think.
3. OK, I will definitely write that down. Talk about this week's matchup against Baltimore's tough defense.
TH: Their defense is going to be their defense. You know they're physical. You know they run around. You know they're good. And you know they're not going to give up a lot of yards or points period. So we need to avoid the turnovers. I know that we'll be fine if we can avoid mistakes and just take their crowd out of it.
4. What's your take on the Ravens' uncertainty at quarterback?
TH: We don't know who they're going to be playing at quarterback, but I don't have to worry about that. I worry about their defense. That's the strength of their team. I think our offense is the strength of this team, so it should be a good game.
5. Defensively they move around a lot before the snap, probably more than any other team. Is that aimed to confuse the opponent?
TH: Right. But as long as you know what you're doing you're fine. We're familiar with them. We play them twice a year, so I don't think it would be much of a problem. You have to identify who's the linemen, who's the linebackers. And as long a everybody is on the same page with what we're seeing and who to identify, I think we'll be fine with that aspect of the game.