I have waited a little bit since the Patriots picked up their much talked about roster additions before I wrote anything. I wanted to see how it all worked out or appeared to be working out before I condemned it out of hand. I follow all the NFL teams of course as a sports writer, but my favorite teams are the Patriots, Falcons and Lions, yes I said the Lions. And in that order.
When the Patriots picked up Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth, I was not overly impressed. Like everyone else, I had read all their horror stories. I had watched as last season Ochocinco seemed more focused on a TV reality show than on the field. Haynesworth was completely disgruntled, failing conditioning tests, not playing, overweight. They were both in the news quite often and usually not for anything good. Ochocinco became the king of Twitter and Facebook and Haynesworth became Hoho king.
The Patriots have taken on perceived “problem” players before. Randy Moss being the most talked about. But until he decided that pastures were greener elsewhere he was the model of Patriots football. He performed his job well. He was a team player. He didn’t rock the boat or make waves. He conformed. Other players taken into the Patriots fold have done much the same. Mostly because, they either do it the Patriots way or they find another place to do it.
The Patriots didn’t give up much at all to get Ocho and Hoho. Just some late round picks. Nothing really. If either of them decide they don’t want to play Patriots football, they can be done away with quite readily without the Patriots been any the poorer. In fact, that may be a great motivator for the two players knowing that at the slightest sign of behavior or performance that is not conforming that the Patriots can cut them loose without even looking twice. It might make a guy want to really give it his best.
I follow Ochocinco on both Twitter and Facebook because he posts very interesting things for the most part. He is funny and friendly online and he’s uplifting a lot of the time. I have noticed that since he has been with the Pats his posts have been far fewer and almost all of them are very warm and fuzzy. He genuinely appears to see this as a gift from Heaven that he has this opportunity and I think he wants to make the absolute most of it.
I do not follow Hoho anywhere. I know that he has been practicing. I know that he doesn’t look too terribly much overweight. I know that he hasn’t made any news for the wrong reasons of late. I have read things from Patriots beat writers who say that he is doing very well at practice. All encouraging signs.
If Ocho and Hoho can be even a little of what they have been at their very best, it can only be good for the Patriots. They have needed a pass rusher, a fast pass rusher. If Haynesworth can even come close to being that piece of the puzzle, the Patriots will be in an excellent position for the season. If Ocho can stretch the field, torment defenses, make some catches, so much the better.
Ocho and Hoho….it could be the best two gets of this NFL season on the cheap.