It’s been less than a week since Chad Ochocinco’s run of mediocrity mercifully ended in New England, and it’s quite likely that until there’s a major training camp injury somewhere, the Dolphins are his glass case.
The Browns remain a strong possibility too, but as we’ve written before, in Cleveland Ochocinco would be taking playing time away from several developing young receivers who are far more worthy of consistent touches (namely Greg Little and Mohamed Massaquoi). But in South Beach, the path to catches is littered with a list of middle tier receivers who have been sporadically successful, and haven’t shown nearly enough promise in their young careers.
That’s why Ochocinco is reportedly quite confident in the Dolphins’ interest, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
Ochocinco, 34, has told friends he would like to sign with the Dolphins and his camp is optimistic that there’s genuine interest. The Dolphins have signed some of the players they worked out this offseason but passed on several others.
The Dolphins have confirmed that they had Ochocinco in for a workout, and they’re a team with an offense that’s currently being led by David Garrard, who’s the man to beat for the starting quarterback job. It’s never safe to read too deeply into anything in June, but if there’s any message from the Dolphins’ June QB depth chart it’s this: pain. Lots of pain.
New head coach Joe Philbin knows what he’s dealing with, as he’s aware that he has a solid defense led by an efficient pass rush, but the talent on that side of the ball far surpasses the offense. You know, the unit tasked with scoring points.
That’s why Ryan Tannehill will be brought along slowly. This will never be acknowledged publicly, but it’s senseless to start him right away and have a rookie who was arguably a reach as a top 10 pick do his best Blaine Gabbert impression, with his confidence dying a gruesome death.
However, eventually the Dolphins’ record with either Matt Moore or Garrard under center will be the kind of record that eliminates a team from playoff contention. And when that happens, Tannehill will receive his shot. That will be good for us, because we’ll get to see many more unapologetic shots of his wife in the crowd. But it could be a long, difficult process for Tannehill because of the targets at his disposal. Or more specifically, the lack of targets at his disposal.
Ochocinco fits perfectly in Miami because it’s the only NFL outpost where he’ll be given the opportunity to have a far more integral role. He’ll matter, because the top three receivers on the Dolphins roster (Brian Hartline, Legedu Naanee, and Davone Bess) combined for 1,553 receiving yards last year.
That’s woefully average, and while Ochocinco has lost several steps and some football intelligence that he maybe never had to begin with, he still brings an important asset to an offense grooming its future franchise-saving quarterback: experience. The moment Brandon Marshall left, so did the bulk of Miami’s experience at the wide receiver position.
Throwing a young QB to the hungry defenses of the NFL too early can cause permanent damage, but so can repeated drops after well-thrown balls.