Wednesday September 14th, 2011

Tom Brady completed 32 passes for 517 yards Monday night, but found Chad Ochocinco just once on a 14-yard hookup. Even so, Ochocinco left the Patriots' season-opening win over Miami with a greater appreciation for Brady's skills, tweeting this reaction Tuesday morning:

That tweet didn't sit too well with former Patriot Tedy Bruschi, who blasted Ochocinco on WEEI radio later in the day.

"Drop the awe factor, OK, Ocho, Chad,  drop the awe factor," Bruschi began. "You're not a fan, all right? You're not someone who's on another team or watching TV. You're not an analyst. You're a part of it. They want you to be a part of it. So get with the program because obviously you're not getting it and you're tweeting because you're saying, 'It's amazing to see'? It's amazing to see because you don't understand it! You still don't understand it and it's amazing to you because you can't get it.

"Stop tweeting and get in your playbook," Bruschi raged. "Wake up!"

Bruschi wasn't the only ex-Patriot questioning Ochocinco's ability to get the job in New England, either. Troy Brown, appearing on Comcast Sports Net's "Sports Tonight," said that Ochocinco's "excuses are probably running out."

"I'm concerned now," Brown said. "I'm not concerned about him not catching passes, I'm concerned about him not being on the field. There's going to be times where you catch two or three passes again. I think there's something left, I just don't think he can pick it up. They're not going to play a guy that can't do it."

Ochocinco was noticeably absent on a number of Patriots possessions, with New England utilizing its two tight ends, Wes Welker, Deion Branch and a combination of other receivers in the no-huddle offense.

The hosts of "Sports Tonight" rightly pointed out the most baffling part of all this -- Ochocinco has been on the team since late July. We're not talking about a Kerry Collins-type situation here, where the Patriots found themselves with depth issues a week before the season and made a move. In that case, Ochocinco's inability to pick up New England's offense would be understandable.

But he had almost all of training camp and played in three preseason games (catching just three passes for 23 yards). With the Patriots' loaded tight end group and the slow emergence of receiver Matthew Slater as a deep threat -- he had a 46-yarder Monday -- it's hard to imagine New England holding onto Ochocinco for the majority of the season if things don't improve.

This might just be one of those classic "square peg, round hole" scenarios. Ochocinco has averaged 80 catches a year over the past eight seasons, so the Patriots took a shot that he could be a Randy Moss-like target for Brady. So far, it hasn't even come close to working out, and Bruschi and Brown are likely not the only ones running out of patience.

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