Ochocinco shows he's got a long way to go

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Ochocinco shows he's got a long way to go

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

TAMPA BAY That Chad Ochocinco scored a touchdown Thursday night on his first reception as a Patriots shouldnt cloud the fact that hes a long way from being a trusted piece of this offense. It will cloud it, though. Youll see the 8-yard reception replayed a few dozen times over the next week. The insinuation will be that this was just the first of many touchdowns in what will be a blissful marriage. Fact is, you and I both could have made that touchdown catch because of the way Tampas defense sucked up when they saw a play-action fake to BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Ocho was all alone. But on the three other throws that targeted the celebrated wideout in a Patriots rout, Ocho and Tom Brady had a miscommunication, Ocho leaped and got clobbered on a deep in-cut and he caught a slant. He got hauled off the field by Bill Belichick on the Patriots first drive, apparently for not getting downfield on a 29-yard run by Danny Woodhead. And he spent a good chunk of one drive watching with receivers coach Chad OShea from the sidelines. Its like a machine out there and Im that one part thats not up with anybody else, Ocho admitted. I got a long way to go, personally.The Patriot offense ran roughshod over Tampa Bay, but there were more than enough missteps to leave Tom Brady shaking his head over the rust that still needs to be knocked off. We expect to go out there and score, Brady said when asked if this was his best performance. We had six drives, four of them ended in touchdowns . . . There was some good, there was plenty of bad. Im sure Ill see the film tomorrow and be disappointed with some of the things that I wish I could have done better. I think theres a lot of things we need to do better out there. A lot of things I need to do better. Too many things where we need to do a better job. We missed a lot of time, Brady explained. "Thats the reality of whats happened this offseason. We missed a lot of time. Six months we couldnt really do what we wanted football-wise. A lot of it is trying to continue to talk and communicate.In an offense like New Englands, where there is so much reading and reacting on the fly after the snap, precision is job one. And the precision between the games best quarterback and a player as decorated and productive as Ocho doesnt just appear. Its a hard sport, man, said Brady. Theres nothing easy about it. Dropping back and finding the right guy to throw to and those guys running the right route and the right depth at the right time, theres a lot of work that needs to be put into it. Its not something that you just magically, Hey, lets talk about it and now were good at it! You gotta put the work in, you gotta practice, you gotta make the mistakes so you can make the corrections. Thats what were trying to do.The tempo the Patriots offense operates at is rare. As Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy explained, Rookie defensive end Adrian Clayborn came to me and was like, Oh my god, it was so fast! I said, I know! Thats what Ive been trying to tell you! It was a reality check, we needed that. They came out, theyd turn around huddle, snap, oh, 'Theres the Mike, go!' I was like, Dang! Um, Mr. Brady, can we line up? He didnt care. He was like, Youre not going to line up. When we turned around one time I checked back around and my hand was going to the grass and they were like, Hut! And I said, Noooooooooooo! Despite all his years in the game, its a very different situation for Ochocinco to be the one whos confused. I have to get to the game tempo, he lamented. Im behind the 8-ball tremendously. This is different from practice, being in the game. Its a start, I got a feel for it. Its like being married. As time goes on you get comfortable and gel and I want to hurry up and get that feeling so I can be me. I gotta get there now. Shoulda been there yesterday.Ocho is going to be demanding. He knows theres focus on him, focus that he helped bring because of who he is. I need them to stay in my ear constantly, especially during the preseason, he declared. The more I hear, the more I can absorb and become a sponge. The more relaxed I am, the better I play.Bradys fine with that, he said. When were in the game, when were out of the game on the practice field, in the meeting room . . . were always communicating so that when it does come to game time everyone is really confident in one another and when it comes to game time, youre really confident in him, he explained. The confidence Ocho normally has in himself isnt there yet. Nor is Bradys confidence in Ocho. It remains very much a work in progress. And the clock is ticking. Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.

Super Bowl appearances aren't old hat to all the Patriots

Super Bowl appearances aren't old hat to all the Patriots

FOXBORO -- It’s old hat to plenty of the Patriot, but certainly not all of them. A whole lot of players who joined the team since 2015 haven’t been to a Super Bowl. That says an awful lot about the personnel department headed by Nick Caserio with Dave Ziegler heading up pro personnel and Monti Ossenfort doing college personnel. 

Two of them -- cornerback Eric Rowe and linebacker Kyle Van Noy -- figured in the two Steelers turnovers in Sunday night’s AFC Championship Game. Both joined the team via in-season trades. 

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So in the afterglow of the Patriots postgame locker room, we asked a few of them what their emotions were upon realizing they were going to the Super Bowl

Eric Rowe (acquired via trade with Eagles, September 6): "It’s been a long road. Everyone has their own journey and how they got here but just for me, it’s been a long road. During OTAs and training camp down in Philadelphia, it was frustrating. I didn’t understand why I was sliding down the depth chart but I just kept my head down and kept working and once I got traded here I had to learn a whole new culture and defense and then I got hurt. Through those ups and downs it’s been all worth it. My parents, my girlfriend, my agent, all through training camp with the Eagles kept telling me, ‘Just keep your head up, there’s always something greater on the other side. Don’t stop working, keep working because you never know when you’ll get your chance and, ‘Boom’ I got traded so that was the way around that obstacle. And now I know what’s on the other side. 

Kyle Van Noy (acquired via trade with Lions, October 26): “I took a lot of heat [in Detroit]. I wasn’t living up to what I was capable of doing, even for myself. I had high expectations and I just wasn’t fitting in right away and it was great to get a fresh start and I’m really blessed to have them trust in me to come in and contribute. I don’t know if you ever get comfortable here. You better learn or they’re gonna pass up on you. I’m just grateful for the opportunity. Eric and I are holding it down for the Utah schools (Rowe went to Utah; Van Noy to BYU). We’re here to represent. It hasn’t sunk in yet. I am truly blessed and the man upstairs is looking out.”

Chris Long (signed in March as free agent): "I honestly didn't know they did the confetti thing after. Because I'm usually at the bar with these games are going on. And maybe it's a little later at night. I've turned it off. I didn't know they did the confetti thing after the AFC Championship. That was a real plus . . . because I love confetti. There's no bad situation where there's confetti. I can't think of one. I certainly feel like I’m in the right place at the right time. I’m on a helluva football team and lucky to be a part of it and we’ve earned the right for one more opportunity. It means something different to everybody. We come from different backgrounds, we come from different teams but we’ve all earned this together. It’s a melting pot in that way."

David Andrews (signed as undrafted free agent, 2015) whose great uncle is former Atlanta coach Dan Reeves: "When the Falcons went [in 1998], my parents couldn't take me, but they went." (Is he still sore about that?) "Not anymore. Not at this moment."

Joe Thuney (drafted in third round in May): "It's just a great opportunity. You've got people like Marty [Bennett] and Chris Long that have played so long and just don't get the opportunity. You just got to take advantage of it, and soak upevery minute, and just prepare as best you can, I think. Just go out there and do the best you can."

Malcolm Mitchell (drafted in fourth round in May): "I have no idea [what to expect]. I'm pretty sure I'll be debriefed. And guys will tell me everything I need to know walking into it."

Jabaal Sheard (signed as free agent, 2015): “Great feeling. Unreal. Just an awesome feeling. We gotta get this ring, man and go finish this thing off. It’s exciting, obviously. I’ve heard the stories from the guys who’ve been here. It’s huge. We have to go out there and take care of business.” 

Phil Perry contributed to this report.

Alarm-puller: ‘I’m drunk. I’m stupid. I’m a Pats fan’

Alarm-puller: ‘I’m drunk. I’m stupid. I’m a Pats fan’

Intentionally or otherwise, the guy who allegedly pulled the fire alarm at the Steelers’ hotel Sunday morning may have also provided the average Bud Light-loving Bostonian a new motto. 

“I’m drunk. I’m stupid. I’m a Pats fan,” Dennis Harrison told police after he was arrested, according to the Boston Globe.  

Citing the State Police report, the Globe wrote Monday that Harrison was talked into pulling the alarm while at a party in Revere, with a friend driving the 25-year-old to the Boston Hilton Logan Airport hotel Sunday morning. 

Harrison reportedly walked up to the second floor and pulled the fire alarm before returning to the car, but his friend and the keys were gone. He was then picked up by police while walking away from the hotel. 

According to the Globe, Harrison pleaded not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace and setting off a false fire alarm Monday and was released on personal recognizance.