New England Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco has struggled to fit in with his new offense–catching just five passes for 87 yards over the first three games of the 2011 season. With the Patriots traveling west this weekend for a key game against the surprising 2-1 Oakland Raiders, head coach Hue Jackson has some advice for his Week 4 opponent if they want the best production out of Ochocinco–let Chad be Chad.
Jackson praised his former wide receiver during a recent interview with CSN New England–even referring to Ochocinco as a “son” considering how close they got during their time together in Cincinnati. Jackson played a key role in helping Ochocinco develop as a player during the three years as the wide receivers coach for the Bengals from 2004-06–so it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about getting the best out of No. 85.
“We grew,” said Jackson courtesy of Tom E. Curran from CSN New England. “When I came to Cincinnati it was real early in his career and he was right on the cusp of becoming a great player and what I try to do is push him and take him to where he truly wanted to go. He wanted to be one of the best in the league and there’s no question at that time he was. He really worked at it. The way he studied videotape, the way he prepared. I let him have his own personality because that’s Chad. You have to allow him to be him to get the most out of him. That’s what we were able to do and we forged a bond that’s been the same since my time in Cincinnati.”
From what Jackson says, it sounds like Bill Belichick and company need to let Ochocinco act like his old self if they want to get the best production out of their wideout–which means returning to his crazy antics we’ve all known to love over the years when he was with the Bengals. The new, well-behaved Ochocinco hasn’t been the center of attention in the media like he usually is and has yet to make an impact in the Patriots’ passing game–so maybe Jackson is right and the Patriots need to let Chad be Chad.
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