Staff sticks behind Ochocinco

October, 17, 2011
10/17/11
2:57
PM ET
AP Photo/Elise AmendolaChad Ochocinco at work vs. the Cowboys.
Last night, the point was made that receiver Chad Ochocinco's role in the offense figured to be dissected after he played just seven snaps and went without a catch in the 20-16 win over the Cowboys.

On Monday, Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien and director of player personnel Nick Caserio stood behind Ochocinco.

"Ocho is progressing every week. He's done a really good job at practice and when he's been in certain parts of games, he's produced -- two-minute drives at the end of the half and things," O'Brien said. "We're happy with where Ocho is right now.

"This is a unique place. 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."

Asked about the one play in which Ochocinco was targeted Sunday, when Tom Brady threw to the sideline as Ochocinco ran his route in, O'Brien took the blame.

"That was probably more me more than anything, going to the well a little too often on something there. I probably didn't put him in the best position," he said.

Ochocinco, who wasn't a big part of the plan Sunday as the team played a hurry-up style with two receivers (Wes Welker/Deion Branch) and two tight ends (Rob Gronkowski/Aaron Hernandez), has nine catches this season.

"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."

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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