New England Patriots  

 

Ochocinco looking for that unspoken connection with Brady

  • By Associated Press
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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Chad Ochocinco wants to get that look from Tom Brady, that quick glance down the line of scrimmage from quarterback to receiver that sends silent instructions.

It's a look that comes with experience together, with Brady's confidence that Ochocinco will figure out -- and follow -- those instructions.


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Monday:
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» Must-see TV: Most-anticipated game of 2011 season
» Let's not inscribe Super Bowl rings for Eagles just yet
» For Patriots, Ochocinco, Haynesworth are risks worth taking

Tuesday:
» Who will be next 'elite' QB to join list of Super Bowl winners?
» Cowboys, Colts could be left out of the mix come playoff time
» Proliferation of spread offense has NFL defenses on the run
» Cutler's game, not attitude, must improve to take Super step

Wednesday:
» These five players have potential for breakout seasons
» Surprise stars from 2010 appear to have staying power
» Can Vick repeat success of 2010? Don't bet against it
» Star search: Who will rise from obscurity this season?

Thursday:
» NFL division power rankings: NFC North tops list
» Three reasons why things are again bleak in NFC West
» More than shtick, winning is what Jets' Ryan does best
» Five in, five out: Will NFL playoff parity party continue?

Friday:
» Who will pick first in the 2012 NFL Draft?
» Some rookie QBs could find themselves on the field soon
» Newton's special but he has a whole lot to learn
» Dominating Steelers defense won't fall off in 2011

"That look," said Ochocinco, a Patriot for just five weeks, "that look, man, is special and I've seen him do it a couple of times before I was even here. You know, that's a deadly combination. It's a great weapon to have to not give the defense any hint of what's going on."

That connection takes time to develop. The most important work is done in practice.

So Brady and Ochocinco might not get to use it, if they play at all, in New England's final preseason game Thursday night against the New York Giants. But Ochocinco isn't frustrated that he's caught just two passes during the preseason.

"Frustration's a waste of time," he said. "It's a waste of energy."

Ochocinco spent the past 10 years with the Cincinnati Bengals, his only NFL team before being traded on July 28. He's confident he'll surprise people who thought the learning process would drag on and hold him back during the regular season.

"I'll be there a lot faster than when I'm supposed to be, especially with as much verbiage as I've had to learn in such a short period of time," he said. "The transition has been extremely good."

Brady, an expert at the offense he's led since 2001, seems pleased with his new, flashy receiver.

"We communicate quite a bit," Brady said. "That's what it takes. He hasn't had the luxury of an offseason program that a lot of guys get and so we're trying to really cram a lot of stuff in, but he's very receptive to it. He's very competitive. He wants to do the right thing."

The routes that receivers run for New England and Cincinnati are similar, but the offensive communication is different, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said.

"I can't really speak in specifics because I wasn't in Cincinnati," he said, "but it really doesn't matter. Every player that has come onto this team has come on from a different system, so they have had to learn it and adapt to it, whether they're rookies or veterans. Nobody is born here. They all come here from somewhere, so they have to learn it."

On a scale of 1 to 10, Ochocinco said he's at about a 7 on simply reacting without thinking where to run.

"I'm able to go out right now and react as soon as I hear Tommy call something," he said, "but I'm still not set in that comfort zone to where I can just be me. ... Let's be realistic. This is the highest levels of football and this is not easy."

The Patriots (2-1) are coming off a 34-10 loss at Detroit last Saturday night after dominating their first two exhibition opponents, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Giants (1-2) had just two days between Monday night's 17-3 loss to the New York Jets -- delayed two days because of Hurricane Irene -- and Thursday night's game.

"We have been doing a great job in New York of doing midstream adjusting," Giants cornerback Corey Webster said. "We had a couple of times last year where we had some traveling arrangements and we got out there and did a great job adjusting to them, so if we have to do it, I don't think it will be a problem."

First-stringers are expected to play little or not at all against the Patriots.

Quarterback Eli Manning is going into his third season with Hakeem Nicks and his fourth with Mario Manningham, his top two receivers.

"Mario has really played well in the preseason games and he stepped up his understanding of the offense and his role," Manning said. "And Hakeem, the same thing. He knows what he's doing. Those guys are solid."

Ochocinco's knowledge of the Patriots' offense keeps getting better with a teacher as demanding as Brady.

"I ask him to be," Ochocinco said. "Tom is on the field. He sees the field the way I do. My eyes have to be his eyes and my ears have to be his ears, and the faster Tom and I get on that same page the smoother it's going to go, man. It's like a married couple."

The marriage between the all-business Patriots led by the no-nonsense Belichick and the fun-loving Ochocinco, with his colorful comments, seems like an odd coupling.

"We are. I'm just different. I'm somewhat against the grain, just a bit odd," Ochocinco said, standing at his locker with his gold football shoes behind him. "Opposites attract. It's reality, It's the way it's always been. Therefore, I'll mesh well here with my teammates (and) the coaches."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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