Thursday, June 7, 2012
Time is right for Pats to cut Ochocinco
By James Walker
Anyone who watched former Pro Bowl receiver Chad Ochocinco over the past year with the New England Patriots saw this coming. Ochocinco was released by the Patriots, the team announced Thursday afternoon.
While people may try to point the finger or make excuses why the Ochocinco experiment didn't work, the truth is both parties were at fault. This was simply a case of a square peg trying to squeeze into a round hole, and everybody knew it. It didn't fit last year, and New England realized during offseason workouts that nothing would change.
Chad Ochocinco never meshed with the Patriots, catching just 15 passes last season.
New England was aware of the player and personality it was getting. Off the field, Ochocinco is too colorful for the Patriots, although he worked hard to keep his mouth shut last year and did a good job. On the field, Ochocinco was a career freelancer and a receiver who wasn't disciplined enough for New England's precision passing game. The latter is what eventually sealed his fate.
The Patriots gave Ochocinco a year to see if he could be a more disciplined receiver. The coaches stayed on him during the regular season and playoff run but he never reached a certain comfort level. Realizing things may not work out, New England restructured Ochocinco's salary in the offseason and signed a bevy of new receivers, including deep threat Brandon Lloyd. After working with Ochocinco more this spring, things were not getting better and New England cut bait.
Two of New England's biggest and riskiest acquisitions last year were Ochocinco and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. Both were monumental busts and were off the team in less than a year.
Ochocinco is not elite at this stage of his career, but he can still help a team. Perhaps he will land with a club that will better allow "Ocho to be Ocho" on and off the field.