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For Hall, a 'Friendly Rivalry' vs. Ocho Cinco


When DeAngelo Hall lines up against Chad Ocho Cinco this Sunday, he expects a lot of talkback.

It's all good-natured, since Hall and Ocho Cinco--formerly known as Chad Johnson--are friends. They have known each other for the last five years.

"We have a friendly rivalry," Hall said. "It's going to be fun. We know each other real well. We do a lot of things in the offseason together."

What about his trash talking?

"It's all fun and games," Hall said. "It's nothing too personal, too serious. He is an entertainer, so you have to remember that."

Hall, Carlos Rogers and Fred Smoot face a challenge this Sunday in competing against wide receivers Ocho Cinco and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

For several years, they have been one of the best wide receiver tandems in the NFL. They both have a combination of size and speed.

Ocho Cinco logged 87 or more catches from 2003-07 while Houshmandzadeh had a league-high 112 catches last year.

This year, the Bengals have struggled after quarterback Carson Palmer went down with an elbow injury. Ryan Fitzpatrick has taken over for Palmer.

Ocho Cinco's catches have dipped this year. He has 50 catches for 507 yards and four touchdowns. Housmandzadeh leads the NFL again with 89 catches for 885 yards and four touchdowns.

Hall believes the absence of Palmer has disrupted the Bengals offense and subsequently impacted Ocho Cinco's catches.

"I think it has a lot to do with it," Hall said. "Carson is definitely the leader of that team. He is the guy who gets guys going. When you don't have your quarterback there, it's tough."

Fitzpatrick, who made his first NFL start against the Redskins in 2005 when he was with the St. Louis Rams, has completed 59.9 percent of his passes, for six touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Jim Zorn praised Fitzpatrick's mobility.

"What I like about him is that he is able to move and run the ball up the field," Zorn said. "So when he sees or he doesn't see what he needs to see up the field, he is not afraid to take it and run. That's dangerous. So they have some pretty good weapons and we have to handle it."

Added Greg Blache: "Fitzpatrick has done some good things, but the thing that has hurt [the Bengals offense] is consistency. They have the ability, but it's [the lack of] consistency that gets you in trouble.

"They'll make some nice plays, but then they have a penalty or they miss a third down. It's always something that hurts them."

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