Who here thought Chad Ochocinco was going to bounce back in New England after putting up 1000 receiving yards in just one out of his last three seasons in Cincinnati? Me too. Players who are close to being done in the NFL and fantasy football usually go to New England to get back that early success or find new success. Wes Welker did it. Randy Moss did it. Corey Dillon even did it. But Ocho ended that run after putting up career lows in every single receiving category. And after being dumped last week by the Patriots, I was surprised that his status as a free agent didn't last very long when the Dolphins handed him a one-year contract.
So the big question on most owners' minds is:
Can Chad Ochocinco bounce back from a poor 2012 and put up numbers that he used to?
I'm afraid to say, but that's a big fat NO! Players go to New England to find success. But once they leave, they don't recapture what they once had.
Here are the top three reasons why Mr. 85 won't have success in 2012.
1. THE QUARTERBACK SITUATION
If you can't have success with Tom Brady, arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, does anyone really expect Ocho to have success with guys like David Garrard, who missed all of 2012, Matt Moore or Ryan Tannenhill throwing him the ball? Miami has one of the worst group of quarterbacks in the league, only upgraded slightly by the drafting of Tannenhill. But I have to say, I didn't see this offense having a chance. And I don't see that with Ocho. Hell, there is a good chance that 85 might not even break the starting lineup if he can't beat out younger talents like Brian Hartline and Devone Bess. Chad Ochocinco might have name recognition, but his talent level has dropped considerably.
2. HE CAN'T RUN ROUTES AND DOESN'T KNOW WHERE TO LINE UP ON THE FIELD
After Ocho got cut, news started to come out as to just how bad Ocho was at learning playbooks. Former Bengals teammate TJ Houshmandzadeh revealed that he used to have to tell Ocho where to line up on offense. And the Boston Globe reported that Ocho simply didn't have the "football I.Q." to succeed in New England.
According to Greg Bedard:
The Patriots would literally tell him to run a route a certain way, and a minute later he would run it the other way.
Know why guys like Jabar Gaffney, Deion Branch and Reche Caldwell had moderate success in New England? They were adequate route runners. Ocho freelancing plays may have worked when he was younger because he had the skills to make up for it. You don't put up six-straight 1000 yard seasons if you don't have some clue as to what you're doing. But at 34, he has clearly lost a huge step. I don't see that changing in Miami, even if Ocho does claim he is going to rededicate himself.
3. HE'LL STRUGGLE TO LEARN A WHOLE NEW PLAYBOOK
If Ocho couldn't learn a playbook in an entire year under Bill Belichick, how is he going to learn OC Mike Sherman's in two months? As an Eagles fan, I have heard time and time again that the West Coast Offense is one of the hardest offenses to learn as a receiver. So I'd be shocked if Ocho was able to even half master it by Week One. And even if he could, reason number one (Quarterbacks) is still going to be a problem.
Who knows. I could be wrong about what happens. Maybe Ocho does buckle down and looks good right from the start. But as a fantasy owner, I'm not going to take the chance on 85 on any of my rosters. Even in 16-team leagues, do you really want to take a chance on a guy like Ocho when there would be so many other players, even rookies, with a higher ceiling? With Ocho, what you see is what you get. He isn't going to get any better.
Like TJ Houshmandzadeh said:
If I went with Tom Brady and didn't produce, I'd hang it up.