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Ochocinco will be a 'chameleon' in New England

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted July 30, 2011 @ 1:46 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Bull-riding, soccer-playing Chad Ochocinco, who also dabbles in playing wide receiver, is bringing his show to New England.

In one of the bigger moves of 2011, the Patriots acquired Ochocinco for a fifth-round pick in '12 and a sixth-round pick in '13, fulfilling his wish to play for Bill Belichick and with Tom Brady.

The Patriots, the league's highest-scoring team last year, add one of the most productive receivers of the past decade. While his numbers dipped last season, Ochocinco should improve the already high-octane New England offense.

While Ochocinco won't be giving up his Twitter account, his act may tone down.

"I've always been a chameleon, so I am going to blend in and do it the Patriot way, which is win," he told reporters. Given Ochocinco's respect for the Patriots, don't expect to see his normal smack-talking tweets.

On the field, Ochocinco may have lost a step over the years, but that doesn't mean he still can't cut on a dime. Most importantly, Ochocinco has the ability to beat one-on-one coverage and catch a ball even while covered. The Patriots' need for someone like that was evidenced in their playoff loss to the Jets, a team with a stout secondary that the Pats play twice a year.

Ochocinco isn't the deep threat Randy Moss was, but he should be able to play outside the numbers, giving Brady more room to attack the middle of the field and utilize the tight ends he liked targeting so much, along with Wes Welker.

The trickle-down effect of Ochocinco's arrival will be something to watch in training camp. The way we hear it, even though Matthew Slater was at the bottom of the wideout depth chart, the team really likes his special-teams contributions. Slater led the team with 15 special-teams tackles.

The Pats kept Taylor Price on the 53-man roster throughout his rookie season, and he played in one game, so they must see his upside. Julian Edelman has always performed well when replacing Welker, and he is a dangerous punt returner. Brandon Tate is one of the league's best kickoff returners, but his threat there is diminished with the new kickoff rules. He didn't turn into a stretch-the-field receiver but did rack up 432 receiving yards and three scores last season.

If Slater stays on the roster, Ochocinco's arrival could mean the Pats part ways with a young receiver.

 

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