Earlier today, Gregg Rosenthal took a long look at Chad Ochocinco’s steadily diminishing role in the Patriots offense and wondered if he could be on his way out in New England.
It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. Brandon Lloyd’s trade to the Rams eliminated one potential reason why Ochocinco might be forced out of New England and members of the Patriots staff Monday made it clear that they still stand behind the wide receiver. Player personnel director Nick Caserio and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien both said there’s still a place for Ochocinco in New England.
“This is a unique place,” O’Brien said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston. “We have a lot of guys that contribute, some guys in certain games are contributing more than others. At some point in time, we’re going to need everybody to contribute. So that’s kind of where it is right now. Ocho is probably in that category and really working hard to keep producing and eventually help us in different ways.”
Caserio echoed the notion that there will come a time when the Pats need Ochocinco.
“We’re happy with what Chad has done for us,” Caserio said. “He’s probably one of our best practice players. He goes out there and works hard, practices hard. He competes and has made plays when he’s had the opportunity. We’re six games in, it’s a long season, and we’re happy that Chad is on the team.”
The Pats aren’t suffering from Ocho’s lack of production, so this is little more than a sidebar. Still, it’s interesting to hear the Patriots, not often known for sentimentality when it comes to evaluating players, go so far to defend Ochocinco’s lack of contributions to the offense. They aren’t paying him $6 million to be a good practice player and this is the rare case when a player is lauded for excelling in practice as a defense for the fact that he can’t get on the field during games.