Generally when looking to acquire a new player, teams look at past performance and a specific athletic skill set but former New England Patriots receiver Chad Ochocinco has taught the team that one more thing must come into account, intelligence. In his short time in New England, the six-time pro bowler failed to comprehend the Patriots complicated offense which resulted in his release after only one disappointing season.
Ochocinco’s experience wasn’t just a lesson for him about work ethic or knowing where he can be successful but it also gave the Patriots an additional requirement when looking at possible future players. Ochocinco was brought in to replace Randy Moss and bringing in a six-time pro bowler seemed like a wise decision. But while looking at which player to bring in to replace the star, they failed to confirm that he could learn the playbook.
During his time in New England, it’s been reported that fellow receiver Deion Branch had to tell Ochocinco where to line up for each play and even then he would jump offside. It was also reported that he had problems in Cincinnati where T.J. Houshmandzadeh would have the same task as Branch. If the Patriots had known about his problems in Cincinnati, they could never have imagined he would be able to learn the complicated Patriots offense.
In replacing Ochocinco this offseason, the Patriots have made sure that the players could learn the playbook but going with experience. Jabar Gaffney and Donte’ Stallworth both played with the Patriots during Josh McDaniels’ first stint as the team’s offensive coordinator. This is Brandon Lloyd’s first season in New England but he did play under McDaniels while he was the head coach in Denver in 2010. From these signings, it seems that Patriots have learned their lesson.
Ever since Bill Belichick took the reins in New England, the Patriots have had a reputation for running a complicated offense. The team’s Ochocinco experience has taught them that not every NFL player has the ability to learn their offense. From this season’s offseason signings, it seems that the team has learned from their mistake. It’ll be seen if their strategy worked this time when the season starts in September.