Chad Ochocinco wasn’t exaggerating last week when he said he was behind the rest of the Patriots offense.
It doesn’t appear he caught up before the the team’s third preseason game, and it’s worth wondering exactly what Ochocinco’s role will be early in the year.
Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com broke down first-team snaps from Saturday’s game against Detroit. Ochocinco was in for 23 of 42 plays. That total was closer to Taylor Price (17 snaps) than it was to Deion Branch (34) or Rob Gronkowski (32). Wes Welker missed a series with an injury and played more than Ocho.
Ochocinco wasn’t effective when he played. He didn’t make a catch, but he did have a 15-yard pass interference penalty. It looked like a bad call on television, but Tedy Bruschi of ESPNBoston.com points out that Ochocinco’s poor timing on the play caused the penalty.
“When you’re in the Patriots’ precision offense, there is a right way to run a play and a wrong way,” Bruschi wrote.
For now, Ochocinco is struggling to learn the right way. It’s only the preseason so there is no time to panic, but there’s no denying the transition hasn’t been easy.
“To put it plainly, Chad Ochocinco’s sucked this preseason,” Tom Curran of CSNNE.com. “Yet because the guy has works his ass off, shows up every single day ready to go and is as disappointed in himself as everyone who wanted an Ocho explosion on arrival, I’m cutting him slack.”
We tend to cut him slack too. It’s only August.
We’ll still be curious to see how this unfolds if Ochocinco is only the third, fourth, of fifth receiving option for Tom Brady come September.