Notes: Ochocinco catching on with Pats

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Notes: Ochocinco catching on with Pats

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn

FOXBORO For a while there, it seemed the only thing Chad Ochocinco could catch was flak for dropping so many passes in practice.

For any player new to a team like Ochocinco, there's a process involving learning the system, thinking through it and ultimately resulting in simply playing the game.

The learning curve for Ochocinco is still evident, but there's little doubt that one of the most prolific receivers in the NFL in recent years, is starting to get into a nice little groove.

That certainly was the case on Monday, as Ochocinco wowed the sometimes drenched, but always enthused Patriots crowd with a slew of acrobatic catches.

It was good to see, obviously.

But for Ochocinco as well as the rest of the Patriots, the first real measuring stick as far as where they are - and where they need to go - won't come until Thursday's preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"We certainly have a long way to go in terms of taking our plays and making them situation-friendly, being able to do them at the right time and with very specific situations and so forth," said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "It's a big week for us; we've got a lot to do here."

It's still early and there's a lot of kinks that still need to be ironed out, but that won't stop Tom Brady from wanting every play to work perfectly . . . NOW!

For most of Monday's practice, Brady made the receiver's job for the most part a three-part operation.

Get open. Look for the ball. Clasp the ball.

But on the few plays where Brady either added a few degrees of difficulty with a not-so-Brady-like throw, or just chucked it where it didn't need to go, he was visibly angry at himself.

Kevin Faulk, Brandon Spikes, Brandon Deaderick, Albert Haynesworth and Matt Light were among those out of practice on Monday.

Tackle Dan Connolly spent some time on the sideline on Monday with his right elbow heavily wrapped in ice.

Guard Logan Mankins was laboring a bit after taking a shot to the midsection.

Despite the heavy downpour on Monday, the Patriots fans - not to be confused with fair weather fans, mind you - literally weathered the storm with most of those in attendance prior to the heavy rain, remaining around after it stopped, only to start up again and eventually end shortly before practice ended.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

Another big swing and miss from NYDN's Manish Mehta on the Patriots

Another big swing and miss from NYDN's Manish Mehta on the Patriots

Every few months, our buddy Manish Mehta gets suitably bored or his bosses at the New York Daily News get sufficiently impatient with him and he goes off with some prediction that winds up being the absolute direct opposite of what actually happens.

He would be like the drippy-nosed kid at his own birthday party trying to bust open the piñata for an uncomfortable length of time. Except, eventually, somebody takes pity on that kid. With Manish, nobody ever feels bad and he’s left out there swinging long after the party’s over and everyone’s gone home.

Tom Brady’s suspension has provided multiple opportunities for Manish to walk into screen doors.

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First, after Brady bailed in July on taking his suspension to the SCOTUS, Mehta spun it forward and said the Jets would be looking real good after four games with Jimmy Garoppolo driving the bus.

Brady will be in full-fledged F.U. mode by the time he faces the Jets for the first time in Week 12. But what if the Patriots start off winless or 1-3 with Garoppolo? Will Brady's greatness be enough to overcome such a sluggish start given that his team has the second toughest strength of schedule in the AFC (behind the Jets and just ahead of the Bills and Dolphins)?

"I feel like, in this division, you got to win 10-plus games, maybe 11-plus games," Decker said. "That means you almost have to go perfect the rest of the year (after a 1-3 start). You can be in a situation where you play a hard Sunday game and, all of sudden, you got a (quick turnaround) on a Thursday night. … You can factor those things in and make a case that it's more difficult to go on a run after starting 1-3."

After the Patriots started 2-0 and Garoppolo broke, Mehta waded in again.

Not even the greatest football mind of the generation will be able to wiggle out of this jam.

The Patriots face a new reality now that Jimmy Garoppolo wrecked his shoulder on Sunday: The Evil Empire will be looking up at the Jets in the AFC East standings when Tom Brady returns….

(Jacoby) Brissett has been a NFL player for FIVE MONTHS. He'll have THREE DAYS to prepare for his first start. Belichick is brilliant, but let's be realistic. He's not going to climb this mountain.

Friday, Manish made a Mehta Culpa in the New York Daily News and on CSN's SportsNet Central. His prediction of Brissett going bellyup and the Patriots being behind the Jets by the time Brady made his return was, “one giant swing and a miss,” wrote Mehta.

“I was wrong like pre-Socratic philosophers, who thought the world was flat. I was wrong like the Chicago Daily Tribune headline writer, who prematurely buried Truman in '48. I was wrong like Lex Luthor, who thought he could destroy Superman three or four hundred times.

Mehta got an avalanche of “You’re a ******* moooooorrrrrrooooonnnnn!!!!” tweets Thursday night. This was his blanket attempt to say, “Yes. Yes I am.”

And for a second, you worry. Is Manish done? Has he taken his blindfold off, put down his stick and gone into the house for good? No more wild swings and misses?

And then you realize it is his raison d’etre. He’ll be back. And – like this guy – he’ll be gloriously mistaken.