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Ochocinco remains odd man out in Patriots' offense

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Dec. 15, 2011 @ 7:18 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

What led to the highly publicized dust-up between Patriots QB Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien was an interception on a throw targeted for Tiquan Underwood. The argument itself garnered plenty of attention, but the play brings up a potential reason for some of the frustration. Underwood was playing in the No. 3 WR role for the Pats, a position that the team has failed to find a player to fill consistently, despite the presence of Chad Ochocinco.

Through 13 games, Ochocinco has 13 catches for 228 yards on 26 targets. His 50 percent catch rate is the lowest on the team among players with at least 10 targets, and he doesn't have more than two catches in a game this season.

The way we hear it, Ochocinco is happy and not causing any disruption in the locker room despite his minimal production, but the Patriots may need his physicality as an outside receiver against some of the top AFC defenses in the postseason. Ochocinco clearly is still not up to speed in the precise, timing-based offense that Brady runs. The Patriots are more comfortable using TEs Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in the no-huddle, but ideally, Ochocinco would be a bigger factor come playoff time.

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