Hue Jackson: You’ve got to let Chad Ochocinco be himself ‘to get the most out of him’
|09.28.11 at 1:33 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Raiders coach Hue Jackson isn’t suggesting Chad Ochocinco start taking over camera duties like he occasionally did in Cincinnati on the sidelines, but he does have one bit of advice for Bill Belichick: “Let Chad be Chad.”
In a conference call with Patriots media Wednesday in Foxboro, Jackson reminded everyone of his close ties to the Patriots receiver. Well before joining the Raiders coaching staff in 2010, Jackson was the receivers coach with the Bengals from 2004-06, when the then-Chad Johnson became a rising star with Cincinnati.
“Chad Johnson is [like] my son,” Jackson said of his relationship with the Patriots receiver. “I know you guys probably have a hard time with him. He’s kind of colorful. But he is a tremendous young man. I really adore him, but I won’t on Sunday.
“I helped raise that young man in Cincinnati. He played for me, did wonders for me. He is a tremendous competitor and a doggone good football player. On Sunday, I’ll look across [the field] and look at him but he knows that this is about winning and he understands that.”
It was with Jackson as his coach and Carson Palmer as the quarterback that Johnson became one of the premier receivers in the NFL, help leading the Bengals to AFC North titles in 2005, and again in 2009.
“I think we grew. When I came to Cincinnati, he was really early in his career. He was right on the cusp of becoming a great player. What I tried to do was push him, and take him to where he truly wanted to go. He wanted to be one of the best in the league and at that time, his time with me, there’s no question in my mind he was. He really worked at it, the way he studied videotape, the way he prepared. I let him have his own personality because that’s Chad. You have to allow him to be him to get the most out of him.
“That’s what we were able to do. We forged a bond that’s been the same since my time in Cincinnati. I always check on him. I haven’t checked on him too much this year since I’ve been so busy but I do have a lot of respect for the player.”
And what about the frustration Ocho has had in the first three weeks of the 2011 season, as he gets accustomed to the Patriots’ way?
“I think a lot of players are that way,” Jackson said. “When you’re used to having success and things have gone for you the way his career has gone up to this point, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But one thing I know about him, he will continue to work. He’ll do everything that’s asked of him. He’s a tremendous pro. I’m sure he’s working at it. And eventually, it will come off right for him. I just don’t want to happen this week.”