Chad Ochocinco's name has sparked interest in New England - and here at PFW - from as far back as the spring when he was first linked to the Patriots. The wideout has been the subject of our weekly Samsonite Make Your Case (formerly Debate Friday) on more than one occasion, and he'll return to the spotlight this week once again.
The former Pro Bowler has admitted his transition to the Patriots offense hasn't been as quick and smooth as he would like, but in speaking with reporters this week he also expressed plenty of confidence that it would come in time. Thus far he appears to be quite a ways away from becoming an impact player on this offense, catching just three passes in his three preseason appearances - although that work was done in limited playing time.
So this week's question is, Are you concerned about Ochocinco's slow development thus far?
PFW's Paul Perillo and Andy Hart tackle the subject in this week's Samsonite Make Your Case:
The track record with receivers in the Patriots offense has been pretty consistent. Either the newcomers pick up the system rather quickly or they struggle throughout. Veterans such as Donald Hayes, Torry Holt and Joey Galloway never seemed comfortable while Jabar Gaffney, Randy Moss and Wes Welker appeared at home almost immediately.
Ochocinco looked lost on the first day of camp and things haven't improved much since. He's struggled to catch the ball and even more while running his routes. He's admitted having difficulties with the system and the timing between he and Tom Brady is lacking.
There's still time to find that elusive rapport but at this point I have my doubts about Ocho's long-term viability in this offense.
I think Patriots fans are envisioning a Randy Moss-like dream season for Ochocinco and that's not fair. No. 85 isn't as physically gifted as Moss, hasn't been in as many schemes and will likely take longer to learn the ropes in New England. We're seeing that this summer.
But that doesn't mean Ochocinco can't or won't be a significant contributor to the offense this fall. He's a passionate player focused on being the best Patriot he can be. Tom Brady is doing everything he can to bring him along.
Will he catch 90 passes for 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns? No. But he still has the ability to get open and make plays. He's not showing that right now, but I expect he will be in the near future.
Now it's the fans turn to cast their vote in this week's Samsonite Make Your Case poll question.