Destiny, however, is never written but only created by oneself. As such, Brady and Ochocinco have taken charge of their fate by building camaraderie.
It’s been a short time yet, but there is a noticeable change in the chemistry between the two. Ochocinco got off to a rough start to training camp, dropping a fair share of passes in the early going. In Tuesday’s practice, however, Ochocinco dropped only one pass.
When Brady spoke about Ochocinco for the first time, he tempered his excitement and tried to hold off on feeding too much into the hype of the situation:
“I’ve known Chad for a long time, I’ve watched him for a long time. He brings a lot of energy to the team, and we’re looking forward to everyone being out here and trying to get better.
Trying to see what we can make of this year… [Ochocinco has] been a very prolific receiver; I think he’s had a bunch of production over the years. Hopefully he can come in here and find a role on this team, like we’re all trying to do.
We’re all trying to come out here and see what we can make of this year, see what kind of role we can make for ourselves.”
Roughly translated, Brady wanted to make sure that Ochocinco didn’t think he was going to come in with an expectation of a certain number of passes to be thrown his way.
Despite that, it’s hard not to notice the two getting on the same page so quickly. In fact, Deion Branch seems to think that Ochocinco is on the fast track to success in the Patriots offense.
“I think he’s picked up a lot of things,” Branch said after Sunday morning’s walkthrough, according to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss. “The stuff they’ve thrown at him, I think he’s done a great job of picking it up.”
“The stuff that he’s sliding on, we’re going to do our best to pick him up when we can, and when he needs it. So far he hasn’t been needing it and that’s a good sign.”
That quick learning curve will be imperative in this post-lockout environment, and could be key in creating chemistry between the quarterback and the pass catcher.
During Tuesday’s practice, Brady stepped back and waited for Ochocinco to create separation on a comeback route against Leigh Bodden.
Sure enough, the instinctual veteran was able to get the separation just in time for Brady to make the pass toward the left sideline. Ochocinco made a very nice catch and kept both feet in bounds for a gain of just over 10 yards.
It wasn’t much, but for a team that always stresses doing all the little things right, it was a nice step in the right direction (even on a comeback route, which I guess is technically a step in the wrong direction, but I digress).
Whatever the two have been doing is working, as Patriots Football Weekly beat writer Andy Hart points out that the two hooked up on a 40-yard gain in Wednesday’s in-stadium practice and again in red-zone drills on a touchdown pass.
The work didn’t stop there, though. Hart also noticed more chemistry-building exercises between the two after practice:
“Brady and Ochocinco spent a long time working together and chatting after practice. Brady even took to demonstrating routes himself to show No. 85 exactly what he was looking for.
Brady has spent a lot of extra time working with his new receiver in camp, and often seems to look for him first on many plays as the pair works to build a rapport.”
Expecting the explosive success of Randy Moss in his first year as a Patriot is a bit much. Ochocinco isn’t the same type of receiver, as he doesn’t rely so much on his blazing speed as his cagey veteran instincts, solid hands and crisp route-running.
The scary thing for opposing defenses is that this chemistry and rapport is building this quickly, and it’s only training camp. The momentum is building, and it will be something to keep an eye on during practice, through the preseason, and all the way into their Week 1 showdown with the Miami Dolphins.