The lack of production from high-profile trade acquisition Chad Ochocinco has been well documented and discussed by now. A quick refresher on his stats: Ochocinco caught 15 passes for 276 yards and a touchdown. In the postseason, he played one play in the divisional round against the Denver Broncos and was inactive for the Baltimore Ravens AFC Championship game. Ochocinco was inactive against Baltimore due to arriving back in Foxboro late from his father’s funeral in Miami.
One lingering question has remained throughout the season: Why has Ochocinco not caught on in New England? Is his age catching up to him? Is he not a fit in the Patriots’ offense? Is he not connecting with Tom Brady? Does he still not understand the Patriots’ offensive system, something he mentioned in training camp? According to Jason Cole from Yahoo! Sports, we have our answer from Ochocinco himself.
By Ochocinco’s own admission, he doesn’t know the offense well enough to play without thinking, particularly when New England goes to its hurry-up attack. Instead of simply reacting to situations, he’s going through the steps in his head and that makes him a step too slow.
So after about 6 months of being with the Patriots, Ochocinco still hasn’t caught on to the offense. Are his struggles with the offense enough to cut ties after the season is over, or is he worth bringing back to camp after a full offseason? My guess is that Ochocinco will be given a chance in training camp to show he can contribute with a full offseason under his belt. If he still struggles, he will be cut after training camp. Can he contribute in Super Bowl XLVI? If Gronkowski is limited, he may have to.