As Ochocinco's woes mount, his silence grows
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September 25, 2011, 7:14 pm
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Chad Ochocinco faced into his locker and dressed quietly after the Patriots' 34-31 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
After gingerly pulling on a purple shirt, he turned and saw a semi-circle of reporters and cameras waiting for him.
"You waiting to talk to me?" he asked.
A reporter told him yes.
"No interviews," said the proprietor of the Ochocinco News Network (OCNN).
"Who said, 'No interviews,' Chad?" the reporter asked.
For a moment, the embattled wideout glared and then stuck out his hand to shake.
He turned back to his locker and continued dressing.
I approached him and told him I wasn't doing my job if I didn't ask him about his fourth-quarter drop, a third-and-4 throw from the Bills' 41 that simply slid through Ocho's hands at the 5.
"I let that one get away," he said. "It happens. It's football."
Curt and detached as that answer seems, it's clear that the once-great wideout has been reduced to putting up a brave face when the reality is that he's not performing well enough to be a trusted part of the Patriots offense.
On the Patriots' first play of the second half, Tom Brady tried to find Ochocinco on about a 17-yard in-cut. The route was simple. Hit 17 yards, sharp turn to the inside of the field, work back to the football. But Ocho rounded off his route and the trailing defender -- Leodis McKelvin -- was able to essentially pass Ocho on the inside. He undercut the route and picked off the pass.
As much as Ochocinco has tried to say he's struggling with verbiage and still adjusting to the system, neither of those plays were linked to anything but bad football.
Catch passes that hit your hands. Work back to the ball. Run precise routes.
You have to wonder how much Brady can stomach.
Asked about the two plays, Brady said, "I’ve got to wait and see the tape, but [McKelvin] made a good play. With receivers some days you catch them, some days you drop them. With quarterbacks some days it’s a touchdown and some days it’s an interception, it’s just a part of playing football. It’s a long football season and we’re not going anywhere. We’ll be back and we’ll be fighting next week. Hopefully we’ll learn from it, move on, make a few less mistakes next week and try to go win a game in Oakland."
Ochocinco's work to date here in New England (he can't be calling it heaven anymore) has been embarrassingly bad. And his playful persona may never be seen because it's clear he feels he's under attack from the media.
The truth is out there for everyone to see though. And the sad fact is, even if Ocho found a Patriots fan to live with, his stuff would probably out on the lawn right about now. Tom E. Curran can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomecurran
Tags: New England Patriots
, Chad Ochocinco