At first glance, the marriage between wide receiver Chad Ochocinco and the Miami Dolphins wreaks of desperation.
It reminds you of one of those relationships that starts shortly before closing time at the bar. Then you take a longer, deeper look at this union . . . and nothing changes. It’s a move borne of desperation.
But here’s reality:
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Training camp is fast approaching. Miami had a wide receivers corps led by Brian Hartline and Davone Bess. Ochocinco, at 34 years old and entering his 12th season, was available.
“It’s not an indictment of any of the players that we have,” coach Joe Philbin said of the Dolphins taking a look at Ochocinco. “We like the players that we’re working with at this point in time.”
Remember when Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland said they had a plan when they traded wide receiver Brandon Marshall to Chicago for a pair of third-round picks? Signing Ochocinco, as the Dolphins did Monday, wasn’t part of the plan.
Make no mistake. They’re both desperate, Ochocinco and the Dolphins.
Luckily for Ochocinco, who was released by New England a few days ago, the Dolphins were willing. And luckily for the Dolphins, who had yet to replace Marshall as the No. 1 wide receiver, Ochocinco was available.
In this case, it’s not a totally bad thing. Hey, it’s worth a shot. For both of them.
And keep this in mind . . .
HBO’s “Hard Knocks” is filming the Dolphins during training camp. Therefore, they’ll be on hand to capture every minute of this riveting drama as the cagey old veteran tries to make good on what could be his final stab at glory.
It could make for good TV. It could boost interest in the Dolphins.
We know the Dolphins owner Steve Ross is desperate to sell tickets. He’s so desperate to reach out to his disenfranchised fan base that he had a conference call with season ticket holders on Monday night.
And at last check Ochocinco had about 3.5 million Twitter followers. That could really stir interest in the Dolphins.
I only throw that out there because I like to entertain the conspiracy theorists. I honestly don’t think “Hard Knocks” factored into why Miami signed Ochocinco.
The simple truth is the Dolphins had to give Ochocinco a look. It’s almost crazy to ignore him.
And look at it this way: There’s a chance this thing works. Just because both sides desperately need each other doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed.
Miami needs someone with play-making ability at wide receiver. Badly.
The Dolphins have produced two Pro Bowl wide receivers in the past 17 years. One was Chris Chambers in 2005. The other was Brandon Marshall last year.
Miami needs someone who can make plays from the wideout position. Ochocinco can make plays.
Well, he used to be able to make plays.
For the six-year span between 2002 and 2007, Ochocinco, playing for Cincinnati, averaged 88 receptions, 1,332 yards and eight touchdowns per season. That’s scary good.
In the ideal world, the Dolphins get that Chad Ochocinco, the six-time Pro Bowl selection. We all remember the guy who used to dazzle us with those amazing highlights, zipping around the field with the Bengals.
If he approaches that type of production this season, this turns into one of Miami’s best acquisitions in years, and one of the best acquisitions ever by Ireland.
But let’s be real. The last time we saw Ochocinco he was a bit player for the Patriots, a team that also badly needed a playmaker at wide receiver.
If you believe what was reported, Ochocinco, a man with a reputation for freelancing as opposed to running precise routes, wasn’t a good fit in New England’s offense. The Patriots demand precision.
Ochocinco ended last year with a miserable 15 receptions for 276 yards and one touchdown.
And now he joins a Miami Dolphins team that’s trying to break in a new head coach (Philbin, a first-timer) and a new offensive coordinator (Mike Sherman), trying to install a new offense, and trying to find a starting quarterback among three candidates — rookie Ryan Tannehill and veterans Matt Moore and David Garrard.
Maybe Ochocinco turns out to be a good signing, and maybe he doesn’t.
But the Dolphins needed a No. 1 wide receiver and Ochocinco needed a team. They desperately needed each other.