Ryan says he fears Ochocinco's skills

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Ryan says he fears Ochocinco's skills

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran

FOXBORO - After the Jets eliminated New England from the playoffs last January, the cry went out for a deep threat. Someone to take the top off the defense. Randy Moss had been that guy with mixed results against the Jets, but that was a minor detail. The Patriots' passing game was too horizontal and needed to get vertical.Enter Ocho. While the trade for once-brilliant Chad Ochocinco didn't bring aboard a deep threat in the mold of Moss, it did bring to town a better, longer downfield threat than the team had in its stable. So far, though, Ocho has been virtually silent. He's got seven catches for 113 inconsequential yards. If he makes substantial strides, he may become an afterthought in this offense. Right now he's barely considered. This Sunday's game against the Jets presents an opportunity for Ocho to make his presence felt. The Jets will undoubtedly focus on Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski. They have proven their potency this season. But will Ochocinco make the Jets quake? "I think first off, no matter what he has done or hasnt done or whatever, this offense is averaging 500 yards a game, so theyre doing something right," said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. "Ochocinco is a talent; if you sleep on him, he can blow a game wide open on you. He is an outstanding vertical receiving threat. I saw the one drop he had or something like that against Buffalo, but this guy is a very talented receiver.""Is" would appear to be a stretch in 2011. But maybe Ocho can start to change that on Sunday. Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

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Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

FOXBORO -- After starting the offseason "five weeks behind," as Bill Belichick put it, the Patriots have caught up. 

"I think we’re probably caught up to where we are now," he said before Thursday's OTA practice at Gillette Stadium. "I think it’s being behind in draft, free agency and that type of thing.

"I think at this point, we’re ready for OTAs. We’ll be ready for training camp. I think that part of it we’ll be on schedule on. It’s the catching up on all the spring projects, draft and free agency. It’s the initial part of it."

Belichick made headlines on the morning after winning his fifth Lombardi Trophy with the Patriots when he said, "As of today, and as great as today feels and as great as today is, in all honesty we're five weeks behind in the 2017 season to most teams in the league. Fortunately we have a great personnel staff

"Look, in a couple weeks we're going to be looking at the combine, obviously the draft, all-star games have already occurred, and in a month we're into free agency, not to mention all the internal Patriots players (whose) contracts are up and we're going to have to work with in some form or fashion like every team in the league does."

Leaning on evaluations of players that began in the build-up to previous drafts, Belichick and his staff opted to trade away some of this year's draft capital for veterans like Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy and Dwayne Allen. They also gave up their fifth-rounder to sign restricted free agent Mike Gillislee.

Before heading out to the team's third practice of the week -- the first week the Patriots were allowed to introduce helmets and run offense versus defense periods -- Belichick said that part of his focus will be spent on finding out how those players he picked up this offseason are progressing.

"Yeah, that’s definitely part of it," he said. "Seeing the new players, how they’re doing and also how they’re doing relevant to the rest of the other players that I’m a little more familiar with. Again, each year is a new year, so even though we’ve seen some of these guys multiple years, it’s still starting all over again, seeing where they are, how they’re progressing in their training and preparation for the season."