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It worked with Corey Dillon. It worked with Randy Moss.
Throughout his head coaching tenure with the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick has had a great track record in bringing in other teams trash and making them Patriots treasure.
This offseason Belichick was at it again.
The Patriots brought in colorful Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco at the end of July. On paper the relationship looked like one that was made from the start. For years Ochocinco marveled at the Patriots, and for years Belichick spoke positively about the wide receiver.
But as we know, you have to look past what is seen on the surface (see 2011 Philadelphia Eagles). Ochocinco’s stint in New England has been uneventful, unproductive and uninspired.
In five games with the Patriots, Ochocinco has caught nine passes for 136 yards and no touchdowns. Consider this: Wes Welker had 13 catches for 192 yards and a touchdown after three-quarters in a 34-31 loss against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 25.
It goes beyond production. Ochocinco has struggled to grasp the Patriots playbook, which has been a cardinal sin for players in Belichick’s system. Just ask Guss Scott, Chad Jackson and Terrence Wheatley.
It doesn’t get much better when Ochocinco is in the game, either. Even on his receptions, the chemistry between the wide receiver and Tom Brady doesn’t appear to be there.
Ochocinco was never asked to come in and be the No. 1 receiver on this team. But, you have to wonder that the Patriots wanted a wee bit more – especially considering that Belichick traded two drafts picks for the guy.
Rewind to 2007.
When Randy Moss joined the Patriots nobody knew what to expect. We were talking about the same player that openly gave up in Oakland. But, all Moss did was produce.
A record-setting season later and Moss was heralded as one of the greatest acquisitions in team history. Moss set the precedent, but because of that Ochocinco never stood a chance.
People and fans alike expected No. 85 to be the current version of No. 81. But, there was a major difference in the two players.
Moss put in the time and effort to prove to the entire league that he could still play. For what we have seen so far, Ochocinco hasn’t put in the same will.
How do I know that? Because if he did, he would be on the field (he played in 39.5 percent of the offensive snaps against the Jets). Not sitting on the sideline while Brady and Co. maneuver the No. 1 offense in the NFL down the field – without him.
The past usually has a weird way of repeating itself. But, not here.
It hasn’t worked with Chad Ochocinco.
Follow Matthew Marcantonio on Twitter: @M_Marcantonio