Raiders coach thinks Ocho will come around

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Raiders coach thinks Ocho will come around

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
FOXBORO -- There is no shortage of football men who adore Chad Ochocinco.
From the man who dealt for him this summer -- Bill Belichick -- to Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson (former wide receivers coach in Cincinnati), everyone signs off on Ocho being a terrific person. So he's got that going for him. Which is nice. Here is Jackson's ode to Ocho delivered on Wednesday, four days before his Raiders face the Patriots and the struggling wideout. "Chad Johnson's my son," Jackson deadpanned on a conference call. "I know you guys probably have a hard time with him. He's kind of colorful. But he is a tremendous young man. I really adore him but I won't on Sunday." Jackson coached Ocho in Cincinnati from 2004 to 2006 when he was still Chad Johnson and primarily concerned with getting really good at wide receiver. "I helped raise that young man in Cincinnati," said Jackson. "He played for me, he did wonders for me and he isa tremendous competitor and a doggone good football player."How did they help each other?"We grew," said Jackson, who's got the Raiders at 2-1 in the AFC West. "When I came to Cincinnati it was real early in his career and he was right on the cusp of becoming a great player and what I try to do is push him and take him to where he truly wanted to go. He wanted to be one of the best in the league and there's no question at that time he was. He really worked at it. The way he studied videotape, the way he prepared. I let him have his own personality because that's Chad. You have to allow him to be him to get the most out of him. That's what we were able to do and we forged a bond that's been the same since my time in Cincinnati."The Patriots have a certain way of doing things, a more muted way. AndOchocinco embracedthat on arrival, goingout of his way to saypoint out that he fall in line with a more businesslike persona. We may never know exactlywhether Bill Belichick demanded Ocho change or whether the playerbegan going out of his way to do what he thought was appropriate. Suffice it to say, he has been more muted and that's been floated as a reason for his shortcomings. That seemsa giant leap. Whatever the reasons for his struggles, Jacksonagrees that Ochocinco may be down on himself right now. "I think a lot of players are that way," he noted. "When you tend to have success and things have gone for you the way his career has gone up to this point, it's hard when you don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. But one thing I know about him, he's going to continue to work. He'll do everything that's asked of him. He's a tremendous pro. Eventually, it will come off right for him. I just don't want it to happen this week."There is little indication Jackson needworry too much about that. Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Brady allows himself to enjoy win: '[Bleep], you've got to be happy now'

Brady allows himself to enjoy win: '[Bleep], you've got to be happy now'

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady can be his own worst critic. That's why last week, after beating the Texans in the Divisional Round to move on to the AFC title game, he wasn't thrilled. He didn't play up to his standards. The offense struggled at points. He wore his frustration like a five o'clock shadow.

Winning is not everything for Brady, most weeks. He has an idea of how he should perform, how the Patriots offense should perform, and when those ideals aren't met, he's generally displeased. 

PATRIOTS 36, STEELERS 17

On Sunday, after beating up on the Steelers, 36-17, that wasn't the case. It was a sound performance, but it wasn't perfect. It was explosive at times, but it shined a light on areas where the Patriots will need to continue to improve. 

Despite its imperfections, Sunday was no time to brood about plays missed or lessons learned the hard way. Screw it, Brady seemed to say. They were going to the Super Bowl. It was OK to smile.  

"It was a good day," Brady said. "I mean, we're going to the Super Bowl, man. [Expletive], you've got to be happy now."

The Super Bowl berth is the ninth in franchise history -- more than any other club -- and the seventh with Brady and coach Bill Belichick. By throwing for 384 yards and three touchdowns on 32-of-42 passing, Brady tied Joe Montana for the most postseason games (nine) with three touchdown passes. 

Brady will also claim the record for Super Bowls played when he and the Patriots head to Houston. And if they win, he'll tie Charles Haley for most Super Bowl wins for a player (five).

Those are lofty numbers made even more significant, perhaps, due to the fact that Brady wasn't allowed to start this season as his team's quarterback. He was asked during Sunday's postgame press conference if it was personally satisfying to get back to the Super Bowl despite having to serve a four-game suspension due to Deflategate.

"Well, that's because of the hard work of a lot of people from my coaches to my teammates to our families that support us," he said. "It takes a lot of people, a lot of hard work and a lot of effort over the course of many months. This didn't start at 6:40 tonight.

"This thing started in April. It really started before that in free-agency when we were picking up guys like [Chris] Hogan and drafting guys like Malcolm Mitchell and guy who were in rehab like [LeGarrette Blount] and [Dion Lewis] and [James Develin] and Nate [Solder]. It's a lot of hard work. There are only two teams left standing, and I'm happy we're one of them."

They're going to the Super Bowl. He has to be happy now.