Since registering 83 receptions for 1,440 yards and eight scores in a stellar 2007 season, Chad Ochocinco has averaged just 51.8 catches for 673.5 yards and 4.5 touchdowns. Following a failed stint with the New England Patriots, No. 85′s football IQ is coming under attack.
His move to Miami and transition to the West Coast system has critics questioning if he will be able to grasp the offense. At the same time, fantasy owners are left to wonder whether or not the production will return after taking his talents to South Beach.
In 2010, Ochocinco hauled in 67 catches for 831 yards and four scores. He started all but one game in 2009 and chalked up 72 catches for 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns. His 2008 campaign, when he caught 53 passes for 540 yards and four scores, was the closest to his numbers from last year since his rookie season (2001).
His poor performance may have had more to do with issues adapting to the “Patriot Way” and learning the scheme than pure talent and no longer being able to deliver as a decent contributor.
“The Patriots tried to clip his wings in 2011, and being different off the field made him different on the field,” Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com wrote last month before Chad made his move to Miami. ”He seemed so scared about screwing up his opportunity that he ultimately screwed up his opportunity.”
“The next team that employs him has to be willing to embrace who he is, and to encourage him to be himself and be willing to make mistakes and not fear losing playing time or, eventually, his job,” Florio continued.
It’s highly likely that he will have far fewer limitations with the Miami Dolphins.
In addition, competition at the position will be a lot less daunting with the Dolphins.
Davone Bess is locked in at the slot spot, so he stands a solid chance at winning a starting gig.
Of course it won’t be a day at the beach for the three-time All-Pro wide receiver and six-time Pro Bowler to develop a strong rapport with the club’s current quarterback carousel.
Albeit his age (34) could work against him, I believe his determination and ability to grasp the offense will go further in determining his success in the upcoming season.
Ochocinco tells Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that the Dolphins wideout plans to demonstrate that he can keep it going for at least six more seasons.
“I’m going to play ’til I’m 40 years old, and this year I’m going to show the world I can,” Ochocinco said.
Ochocinco will show the world he can make a commitment on Wednesday by getting married. The St. Martin nuptials will be filmed as a part of a VH1 reality show and Chad will also be live-tweeting the affair to his 3.5 million Twitter followers. According to Kelly, Ochocinco will also change his last name back to Johnson as a part of his wedding.
Ocho won’t be a highly coveted receiver option on fantasy draft day, but could be worth a late look in deeper leagues.