Ochocinco steals show at Dolphins' minicamp
The Sports Xchange
Chad Ochocinco didn't look like a washed-up 34-year-old wide receiver
at Dolphins' minicamp Tuesday.
His routes were crisp, his hands sure and his explosiveness what it was
as a perennial 1,000-yard Pro Bowl receiver in Cincinnati.
In the long run, it might not mean much. After all, early reviews of
the 12-year pro in New England were similarly shimmery. For his part,
Ochocinco declined to proclaim himself the No. 1 receiver on a depth
chart with only modest competition based on NFL production. But he was
in midseason form in front of the microphone.
"The workout was good," Ochocinco said. "It's been very good the past
couple of days. I'm enjoying the opportunity to come here and play at
home, to play with a great organization. There's a lot of changes being
made here. Coaching staff ... I'm enjoying it. I'm developing ...
chemistry with the players. I'm just having fun. It feels good to have
a fresh start. I'm gonna do whatever I can not only to improve my game,
but to help this organization get back to where they want to be."
Ochocinco was released by the Patriots and has only been on the
Dolphins' roster for eight days. He's new to the playbook, but not to
South Florida, his offseason and childhood home.
"He's learning more about the offense every day, so we'll see how he
competes, how he fits in, what kind of teammate he is, and what kind of
chemistry he brings to the ball club," coach Joe Philbin said.
Ochocinco played at Miami Beach High School before attending Oregon State and being drafted in the second round by the Bengals.
"It's been a childhood dream of mine growing up watching the Marks
brothers, watching Dan (Marino), some of those guys," Ochocinco said.
"You would think throughout the years; since 1988 I've always played
Madden, and I've always used the Dolphins no matter where I was or
where I was playing.
A six-time Pro Bowl selection with the Bengals, Ochocinco was waived by
the Patriots after one disappointing season in New England in which he
started only three games, caught just 15 passes for 276 yards and a
touchdown. As part of his fresh start and return to his roots,
Ochocinco -- who was assigned jersey No. 85 -- might return to his
given name of Chad Johnson.
"To be able to wear the teal and orange, it's a pretty good feeling,"
Ochocinco said. "But for me, it's about getting back to the basics,
going back to where it all started. Not as far as playing at home in
Miami, but as far as the game goes and getting back to who we're all
used to seeing and how I became what I am. I think I kind of lost that.
I'm looking to go back to Chad Johnson, and just make it live again."
The Dolphins traded Brandon Marshall to the Bears for a third-round
pick and signed only Legedu Naanee in free agency. Davone Bess and
Brian Hartline are the lone returning impact veterans on the roster.
The Dolphins drafted Clyde Gates in the fourth round of the 2011 draft
and took two receivers late in the 2012 draft -- sixth-rounder B.J.
Cunningham and seventh-round Rishard Matthews in the seventh.
"We're going to look for someone who go out and catch the ball the ball
consistently, get open against man coverage, play the ball down the
field, and block for his teammates," Philbin said. "So how he
(Ochocinco) fits that compared to everyone else will determine where he
--Philbin only offered "not necessarily" when asked if anything should
be read into quarterback David Garrard taking the majority of
first-team reps over Matt Moore.
"I think we are going to huddle up on Friday and assess where the
offseason program has been, what the strengths and weaknesses of the
individuals are from the quarterback, to the tight end, safety and nose
tackle, and talk about everybody on the roster," Philbin said. "Where
they are at, where we see them, what they have to do to get better, but
I think that David (Garrard) has made good progress.
What Is Ochocinco Up To In Miami?
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