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Apart from a few potential twitter, soccer, or bull-riding-related headaches, Tom Brady had to be thrilled when the Patriots traded for Chad Ochocinco. But (from the individual stats point-of-view, not in terms of wins and losses) several of Ochocinco’s new teammates couldn’t have been nearly as excited by the move.
Even before the trade with Cincinnati, the Bengals had a pretty deep wide receiving corps–deep, not spectacular.
Wes Welker’s 2010 proved that he might not be as explosive following his torn ACL and MCL, but he’s certainly capable of collecting another 80 balls or so. The same is true about Deion Branch. The former Super Bowl MVP is 32 and was never an elite receiver to begin with, but he’s a great third option to Walker and Ochocinco when they are in sets without tight ends Aaron Hernandez or Rob Gronkowski.
No, it’s Brandon Tate who will lose more opportunities now that Ochocinco is in the mix.
Tate is only 23 and this is just his third year, but he had made some strides in 2010, catching 23 passes for 432 yards and three touchdowns. And he had that huge, 65-yards, game-changing touchdown in the win over Minnesota.
But now there just doesn’t seem to be much room for him in the offense. And it doesn’t help that his game is considered somewhat narrow.
“The way the Patriots use Brandon Tate tells that they don’t think much of him at this point. He runs about three routes and the only time the ball comes to him is when a play is specifically called for him.”
Ochocinco, Welker, and Branch are the veterans Brady can rely on on the edges, Hernandez and Gronkowski, will catch plenty of balls over the middle and in the red zone, and Danny Woodhead is going to get his touches in the screen game.
Barring an injury, Tate’s probably going to become very familiar with rookie Ryan Mallett and the second/third team offense.
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