|Tom Brady to Chad Ochocinco is a communication connection||08.18.11 at 11:56 pm ET|
The Chad Ochocinco era is officially underway in New England after the star wide receiver caught two passes from Tom Brady for a grand total of 14 yards and one very easy touchdown on a pass that was not defended by the Buccaneers Thursday night.
But that’s probably the way Bill Belichick and Tom Brady want it – at least at the start. They are giving Ocho just enough to nibble on so that Ocho’s appetite for knowledge of the Patriots offense and system grows and grows.
Certainly, they want to give Ochocinco some confidence, confidence that comes from catching a wide open 8 yard “pop” route in the red area for a touchdown on the Patriots’ second possession. But Ocho took his lumps, too, taking a head shot from linebacker Mason Foster earlier in the drive. He also ran a route in which Brady failed to connect with him on 2nd-and-10. In all, Ocho was targeted four times and came away with two catches.
Brady also made it clear that he doesn’t want to overload Ochocinco with too much, too soon since he is still trying to bring the receiver up to speed with the rest of the veteran receivers like Wes Welker and Deion Branch who already know it like the back of their hand.
“We’ve missed a lot of time,” Brady said. “That’s the reality of the off-season. We’ve missed a lot of time over the course of six months that we really couldn’t do anything football-wise. So, a lot of it just trying to continue to talk, and the only way you can make corrections is to communicate between the two of us.
“Even with Deion and Wes, we haven’t played football in eight months, or been on the field together. So a lot it is all receiver group, tight end group, quarterbacks and skill guys being on the same page so you can anticipate the things going on out there, you can play with confidence so you can go out there and play with confidence.”
It’s that confidence that Brady – through teaching on the sideline with Welker and Branch looking on – is trying to get through to No. 85. Once Brady feel comfortable that Ocho is comfortable and confident, then the quarterback can make the next step. The goal is to take as many steps as possible before the season opens on Sept. 12 in Miami.
“It’s a hard sport,” Brady said. “There’s nothing easy about it. Dropping back and finding the right guy to throw to and those guys running the right route, at the right depth at the right time. There’s a lot of work that needs to be put into it. It’s not something that magically, ‘Hey, let’s talk about it and now we’re good at it.’ You’ve got to put the work in. You’ve got to practice. You’ve got to make the mistakes so you can make the corrections and that’s what we’re trying to do.
“That’s what we try to do when we’re in the game, when we’re out of the game, on the practice field, the walk-throughs, we’re in the meeting rooms we’re always communicating so that when it comes to the game time, you feel everyone is really confident in one another. And the guy you’re playing next to is really confident in what he’s doing so you have a lot of confidence in him.”
Belichick was somewhat animated in his discussions with Ochocinco in the first half, partly because of some irregularities in where they expected him to be running a route and partly because some situations came up in the game that Belichick admitted he hadn’t prepared Ocho for.
“I’m just trying to coach the team and see if I can get them play better,” Belichick said. “Some things we didn’t cover came up in the game so I just try to do the best I can to help our team improve. We still have a long way to go, a lot of work to do so I have to do a better job, too.”
Even in a 31-14 laugher that had the Patriots up 21-0 after a quarter and 28-0 at half, there’s always something to learn.
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