It’s easy to form a quick opinion about a player, a team, or a position after watching a game without letting the season play out, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do in the weekly postgame “Rush to Judgment” feature here on Musket Fire.
Another week, another lackluster performance from Chad Ochocinco. Not only was it lackluster, but it was probably his worst of the season. Ochocinco only played in 7 out of 74 snaps, and in his 6th snap was an incomplete pass where he ran the wrong route. After that incomplete pass, Ocho played only one more snap. Now, to his credit, the coaching staff came out the day after the Dallas Cowboys game in support of Ochocinco. But what do you expect? Do you expect Bill Belichick or offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien to come out and say he stinks? The support that Ochocinco was given by O’Brien wasn’t exactly the greatest, with his most supportive comment being that Ochocinco has, “done a really good job practice.”
Here is all you need to know: 7 out of 74 snaps, no catches against Dallas; 9 catches, 136 yards, 0 touchdowns in 6 games. The Pats did not trade 2 draft picks and pay the guy $5 million for that kind of production, third receiver or not. They did not pursue Brandon Lloyd because they’re happy with what Chad’s doing. It’s time to look elsewhere on the roster for more production out of the wide receiver position.
Last year, the Patriots used a third-round pick to draft Taylor Price. He showed flashes during the preseason before suffering a hamstring injury. He got on the field for one play against the Dallas Cowboys. I think it’s time for the Pats to see what they’ve got in Price and see if he can develop and improve as the season progresses. Is Price really worse than Chad Ochocinco? With the amount of production the Pats are getting from Ochocinco, I’d rather see Price on the field for 7 snaps. If his production equals Chad’s, the Pats really aren’t losing anything, and they now know what they have, or don’t have, in Taylor Price. They can then look to the draft or free agency in 2012 if necessary. Or, maybe, they won’t have to do that because Price shows promise.
If it’s learning the system, perhaps Chad needs to sit the bench, study, provide some depth, and maybe make bigger contributions next year. Maybe. But at this point, I think the Price is right for the Patriots.