|Asked about Chad Ochocinco, Patriots WR coach Chad O’Shea says current WRs are as ‘good a group as I’ve ever been around’||06.13.12 at 4:54 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Patriots wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea was Wednesday asked about the team’s decision to cut ties with Chad Ochocinco last week, and instead preferred to look forward instead of back.
“I’d rather just talk about the guys we have in here, the guys I’m working with, because this group that I’m working with, they’re as professional and as good a group as I’ve ever been around,” O’Shea said after Wednesday’s minicamp practice at Gillette Stadium. “And they have a tremendous work ethic, and they’re all really competitive and want to win. They’re familiar with the system. So I’m pleased with the guys we have.”
Ochocinco had 15 catches for 276 yards and a touchdown in his one season with the Patriots. He was released last week by New England, but has since been picked up by the Dolphins.
|Where will Chad Ochocinco end up?||06.10.12 at 7:41 pm ET|
It’s been three days since we were all sucked into the Chad Ochocinco Nexus for a breathless eight hours or so. (Is he staying? Was he cut? How did his eye appointment end up?) Since he said goodbye to Foxboro, reports say he’s secured a tryout with the Dolphins for this week — which, if he lands on South Beach, would certainly make this year’s “Hard Knocks” more interesting.
In addition, our friends at Bovada have put together odds on his potential landing spots, with the Dolphins the favorites at 3/1. Here are the rest of the odds:
Not On Roster Week 1: 5/1
For what it’s worth, six of the eight teams on this list play the Patriots in 2012, so oddsmakers believe there’s more than a passing chance that Ochocinco will face his old mates this upcoming season.
|ESPN’s ‘NFL Live’ crew dissects the decision to cut Chad Ochocinco||06.07.12 at 8:34 pm ET|
All you really needed to know about Chad Ochocinco’s time with the Patriots could be summed up in an OTA session late last month. New England’s first-team offense broke the huddle, and Ochocinco went to the line of scrimmage … only to be redirected to where he needed to be by teammate Deion Branch. Even after spending nearly a year in the system, the 34-year-old Ochocinco still had issues with the New England offense.
Despite a professed desire to play for Bill Belichick and alongside Tom Brady that went back several years, Chad Ochocinco never seemed to fit with the Patriots. There were some interesting moments, including a touchdown catch against the Broncos and a 53-yard surprise reception against the Jets in November, but those were few and far between. Instead, there was talk of his inability to learn the playbook, and speculation as to why New England had someone on the roster who was making a base salary of $6 million who had slipped so far down the depth chart that Tiquan Underwood was taking snaps from him.
In the end, the Ochocinco experiment — which resulted in 15 catches, 276 yards, one touchdown — just never seemed to coalesce with the Patriots. As a new receiver, it’s not so much about learning the playbook and assimilating to the “Patriots’ Way.” Instead, it’s about gaining the trust of the quarterback, and that never really happened. (Watching newcomer Brandon Lloyd work with Brady in the three OTA sessions the media has had access to, it’s clear Lloyd already has far more of a rapport with Brady than Ocho ever did.)
It’s not complicated: Listen to Jabar Gaffney, who spoke to the media Thursday, on the subject of working with Brady. “We have a great relationship, on and off the field,” Gaffney said. “On the field, we just have that rapport with each other and he knows where I’m going to be and I know he’s going to put it right there. I have all the confidence in him, he has all the confidence in me. That’s a great thing.” It was clear that as the 2011 season went on, there was none of that trust between Brady and Ochocinco. In truth, there were several moments late in the year where Ochocinco was open, but the quarterback went in another direction.
Ochocinco will get a job somewhere else for several reasons, not the least of which is that he remains a masterful self-promoter — even in the twilight of his career, few athletes can still move the needle like Ochocinco. But history will show that in the end, the receiver may have wasted his last best opportunity to win a championship.
|Notes from Patriots’ Thursday OTA session||at 1:42 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots wrapped up a Thursday afternoon OTA session that ran for nearly two hours on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium. The workout, which was conducted in sweats, shorts, T-shirts and helmets, was another relatively efficient outing underneath occasionally overcast skies. Here are a few quick notes.
The following players were not spotted for the duration of the session: offensive lineman Brian Waters, defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick, tight end Aaron Hernandez, wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, tight end Daniel Fells and defensive lineman Myron Pryor. (As he has done throughout the spring, injured rookie offensive lineman Markus Zusevics stood to the side as the offensive linemen went through their drills.)
According to a source, Ochocinco was at the Gillette Stadium facility on Thursday, but he left before the start of the session.
The following players were on the field but stretched and drilled off to the side, occasionally jumping in for sprints but mostly workout with trainers: defensive back/special teamer Matthew Slater, linebacker Brandon Spikes, linebacker Tracy White, offensive lineman Logan Mankins, offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer and tight end Rob Gronkowski.
With no Hernandez, Gronkowski or Fells, newcomer Bo Scaife got a lot of time in with the offense. (Scaife appeared to be struggling with fatigue throughout practice — maybe this was because he and Alex Silvestro took almost every rep throughout the session.) Compounding matters was the fact that rookie tight end Brad Herman went down with what appeared to be a left foot or ankle injury at the start of practice and had to be carted off.
It was a rough session for the offense, which struggled for much of the practice, so much so that coach Bill Belichick forced them to run two sets of penalty laps during the 11-on-11 sessions — the entire offense ran one for the first infraction and then had to run two the second time around. (This is where Scaife appeared to struggle.) Quarterback Tom Brady also popped off, sounding disgusted about things.
In 7-on-7s, Belichick shook things up a bit for the quarterbacks when he was spotted tossing a blocking pad at them as they dropped back to pass. (He also occasionally stood where the defensive linemen would be and held the pad in the air to try to create another obstacle.) In those drills, Julian Edelman caught a nice deep ball from Brady, which was followed by a nice grab from Wes Welker.
More offensive notes: Keeping in mind that we’re still more than three months away from the regular-season opener, second-year running back Shane Vereen worked with the No, 1 offense in a hurry-up offensive set. … The offense appeared to get some red zone work in, and Brandon Lloyd made a nice pair of catches at the back of the end zone. Lloyd also had a nice catch on a Brady pass over Devin McCourty. With the understanding that it’s still insanely early, it’s hard not to be impressed with Lloyd, even at this stage of the spring. He looks polished and poised and not at all overwhelmed with the prospect of working in the New England offense with Brady. … Robert Gallery continued to get in a lot of work at left guard with what was a reasonable facsimile of New England’s starting offensive line. It will be interesting to see what happens to him when Mankins is back at full strength.
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|Chad Ochocinco laments stolen Starbucks card||05.24.12 at 3:26 pm ET|
Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco — a well-known user of Twitter — took to the social media website on Wednesday afternoon to report that his SUV was broken into and his wallet stolen.
In a two-minute and rather emotional video, Ochocinco said that his driver’s license and two credit cards were stolen, but he was more concerned of something else that he left in his wallet.
“What I’m pissed about is these [expletives] took my Starbucks card,” Ochocinco said from the driver’s seat of his SUV. “Not just any Starbucks card, I earned the gold card. You know how many coffees I’ve had to drink and lemon loafs I’ve had to purchase to get to that gold card? I had $220 left on my Starbucks card. Not just any Starbucks card, but a gold Starbucks card.”
One of Ochocinco’s Twitter followers said their mother had found his wallet in Providence. It contained his driver’s license and two credit cards, but not his gold Starbucks card.
Fortunately for Ochocinco, Starbucks reached out to him via Twitter late Wednesday afternoon and agreed to replace his gold card.
|Five years later, Donte Stallworth ready for his second stint in New England||05.15.12 at 1:45 pm ET|
FOXBORO — A little older and a little wiser, wide receiver Donte Stallworth is ready for his second act with the Patriots.
The well-traveled Stallworth, who spent the 2007 season in New England before leaving as a free agent, jumped at the opportunity to return to the Patriots, signing a one-year deal as a free agent in March. It was a chance to not only go back to the scene of some of his greatest professional success, but to do so with an increased wisdom, one he confessed he didn’t necessarily have in his first go-round with New England.
‘I’m a lot more mature now than I was then,’ Stallworth said Tuesday during a break between workouts at Gillette Stadium. ‘I feel like I’m playing better. I’m in a better place mentally, physically and I just felt like at that time I was still trying to mature and grow into a professional athlete. I feel like I’m a lot further down the road than I was last time.
‘Back then, I was really more relying on my talent,’ said the 6-foot, 220-pounder. ‘Now that I’m going into my 10th year, I think I run better routes now and understand different coverages and what teams are trying to do.’
The 31-year-old Stallworth, who had 46 catches for 697 yards and three touchdowns with the Patriots in 2007, said a large portion of that increased off-field maturity is because of what he went through in 2009 when he was charged with DUI manslaughter following an accident in Florida. He spent time in jail, and was suspended for the duration of the 2009 season.
‘The year I was out and just sitting around and watching my teammates play and watching my friends play, it was not a good feeling,’ Stallworth said. ‘It’s the same, even when you’re hurt. Guys never want to miss games. Anytime you miss something that you appreciate in life or that you love in life, if you have an opportunity to get it back, you always have a better appreciate for it next time.’
Stallworth said that after spending time with the Browns (2008), Ravens (2010) and Redskins (2011), walking back into the New England locker room was an ‘interesting’ experience.
‘It was a little weird feeling. It was kind of surreal,’ he said. ‘But honestly, I think it took about a week or so to get adjusted and to really realize that, hey, I really am back; it’s not just a dream. It’s been good being back and seeing a lot of the same, familiar faces — friendly faces. So it’s been good. It’s been five years, but not much has changed other than all the restaurants and stuff around here. That’s a big difference.’
Stallworth enters a crowded field at wide receiver — the Patriots have loaded up this offseason at a position they were already pretty well stocked coming off the 2011 season. Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney, Anthony Gonzalez and Brandon Lloyd join a group that includes Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Julian Edelman, Britt Davis, Matthew Slater and Chad Ochocinco.
‘It’s going to be good competition; we’re all friends, we all have known each other for awhile and respected each other’s games, so we’re going to make each other better,’ Stallworth said. ‘We’ve been doing that now, with the workouts and really having fun, and the real fun gets to start on Monday when we start practicing. Who knows how it will play out, but I’m feeling good; I’m feeling healthy.’
Here are some more highlights of Stallworth’s Q&A with the media:
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