Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Both Patriots and Chad Johnson are at fault
By James Walker
Chad Johnson is only partially right.
The receiver formally named Chad Ochocinco tells the Miami Herald the New England Patriots are to blame for his lack of production last year. He caught a career-low 15 passes in 2011 and was cut after one season.
But the truth is both parties were to blame. Johnson was not a disciplined enough receiver who could run precise routes to earn playing time in New England. Johnson free-lanced often while with the Cincinnati Bengals, and that wasn't going to fly with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick. That's where Johnson was at fault.
Johnson was told to keep his mouth shut, and that is where he is correct in his assessment. Most players can handle that, but Johnson isn't most players. Johnson is at his best when he's running his mouth. It's his way of pumping himself up, preparing and staying motivated. But football wasn't fun for Johnson last year as a silent receiver. The Patriots should've known Johnson would struggle adapting to the "Patriot Way." That is where New England was at fault.
Both parties are better off going their separate ways. The Patriots do not need Johnson to make another Super Bowl run, and Johnson can be himself again in Miami, where he spent a good part of his childhood.
Johnson, 34, promises to have a strong season with the Dolphins. It's Johnson's job to prove he still has what it takes to back up his claims.