Posted by Josh Katzowitz
We’ve talked quite a bit recently about the decline of Chad Ochocinco and how he’s been rendered irrelevant in the Patriots offense.
Whether it’s because he still doesn’t know the offense or that his chemistry with Tom Brady isn’t there or because he doesn’t have elite receiver skills any more, his nine-catch, 136-yard performance on the season is less than impressive.
He’s becoming even more invisible. He only played seven snaps Sunday, and the one target he received, he ran the wrong route, drawing Brady’s ire. And considering he had lost a bet that kept him off Twitter for three weeks, he couldn’t even appeal to his fanbase for love to help him keep up his chin.
Maybe he’ll feel better after hearing from Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and New England director of player personnel Nick Caserio. Both were asked Monday about Ochocinco. Both had nice things to say about him.
“Ocho is progressing every week,” O’Brien said. “He’s done a really good job in practice and when he’s been in certain parts of games, he’s produced -- two-minute drives at the end of halves and things. We’re happy where Ocho is with things right now.
“Again, we got a lot of guys that contribute. This is a unique place. We’ve got a lot of guys that contribute and 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 working really hard to keep producing and eventually help us in different ways.”
Caserio was asked if Ochocinco had worked out for the Patriots the way they thought. Surprisingly, Caserio said yes.
“We’re happy with what Chad’s done for us,” Caserio said. “He’s probably one of our best practice players. He goes out there, he works hard, practices hard, he’s out there on the field, he competes, he has made plays when he has had the opportunity. We’re six games in with a long season and we’re happy that Chad’s on the team.”
Remember when Ochocinco was considered one of the top receivers around? The fact that his director of player personnel is calling him one helluva practice player is kind of a back-handed compliment. But , I suppose, it’s still better than being called a former NFL receiver.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.