Ochocinco seems to be feeling heat

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Ochocinco seems to be feeling heat

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO -- The Patriots' locker room can be a desolate place during the media access period even when things are going well.
When things go badly, players tend to turtle even more. So when Chad Ochocinco strode into an otherwise empty locker room Monday afternoon, it seemed agood time to get a State of the Ocho address. He'd been ducking interviews for going on two weeks, ever since he was torn a new one by Tedy Bruschi over an innocuous tweet. Ocho had courteously explained he needed to get his playbook down before he held court. The media respectedthateven though players are contractually obligated to make themselves available at least once a week. After all, Ochocinco seems to bea good enough guy and he's promised that when he gets going he'll give us all we need. Give him a break, right?But after Sunday's loss in which his inability to make plays figured prominently, questions needed answering. He did so halfheartedly. On Monday, as he leaned into his locker with about 30 media members creeping closer, I asked if he had time for an interview. "Are you going to ask me every day," he asked. "Just doing my job like you're doing yours," I answered. "Great sarcasm," Ocho answered. I told him I didn't mean it the way he took it. "Great sarcasm," he repeated. He escaped to the equipment room, returned and turned down the group. Whether it's Bruschi, ESPN or any of the local entities, criticism of Ochocinco's performance here has clearly made its way to his ears. And now he's hearing it even in normal exchanges where it isn't intended. Heaven never felt so cold.Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

USA TODAY predicts 19-0 season for Patriots

USA TODAY predicts 19-0 season for Patriots

You can add USA TODAY to the Patriots' undefeated season bandwagon.

In its annual projections before NFL teams report to training camps this week, USA TODAY has the Patriots going 16-0 in the regular season, then beating the AFC West's L.A. Chargers and Oakland Raiders in the playoffs before capping a perfect 19-0 season with a Super Bowl 52 victory over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in Minneapolis.

Here's their Pats' regular-season rundown from USA TODAY NFL writer Nate Davis:

New England Patriots (16-0): Is it bold? Sure. Kinda. But it's not like Tom Brady hasn't gone 16-0 before ... (and, really, wouldn't he and Bill Belichick secretly love to add 19-0 to their otherwise incomparable resumes?). And from the FWIW department, Brady went 14-1 last season and appears to be surrounded by an even better cast now, especially if Rob Gronkowski is, in fact, back to 100%. 

Pats wide receiver Julian Edelman called the 19-0 talk "stupid" last week. Bill Belichick is almost guaranteed to dismiss it if and when he's asked about it this week.