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Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Is Bruschi's criticism of Ochocinco fair?

By James Walker

New England Patriots receiver Chad Ochocinco caught one pass for 14 yards in Monday's 38-24 victory over the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots still won going away, as quarterback Tom Brady threw for 517 yards and four touchdowns.

But Ochocinco's lack of production got under the skin of former Patriot Tedy Bruschi. The ESPN analyst ripped Ochocinco for the receiver's tweet praising Brady's performance.

Here is the transcript of Bruschi with WEEI radio via Tom Curran of Comcast SportsNet New England:
"Drop the awe factor, OK, Ocho, Chad, drop the awe factor. You're not a fan, all right? You're not someone who's on another team or watching TV. You're not an analyst. You're a part of it. They want you to be a part of it. So get with the program because obviously you're not getting it and you're tweeting because you're saying, 'It's amazing to see'? It's amazing to see because you don't understand it! You still don't understand it and it's amazing to you because you can't get it.

"Stop tweeting and get in your playbook. Wake up! If you're just waking up now -- I don't know when this was, six minutes ago? -- get out your bed and get to the stadium and watch some film if you still think its amazing. If you're in it and you know what you're doing and you execute out there you don't think it's amazing. You know why? Because it's what you're supposed to do."

Ouch!

It's true that Ochocinco isn't up the speed. That was evident when Wes Welker and Deion Branch got most of the reps Monday.

But is Bruschi's criticism fair? This is Ochocinco's first year in New England's system and it was Week 1. He was acquired in a trade this summer from the Cincinnati Bengals.

Ochocinco can be a huge target, and often he brings that attention on himself. But this wasn't one of those instances. Many athletes tweet. Ochocinco was only praising a teammate who had a phenomenal performance.

The luxury for New England is that the Patriots don't need Ochocinco this early. They're good enough to win without him for now.

But if Ochocinco is still trying to learn the offense and catching one pass a game around midseason, the criticism would be warranted and more timely.