Good Start for Ochocinco

WR Chad Ochocinco

Chad Ochocinco likely will achieve his childhood dream of playing for the Miami Dolphins, but first he needs to make the team. But it appears that won't be too hard to do considering his impressive showing during his first OTA practice last Wednesday, which promoted starting cornerback Sean Smith to tweet: "(Forget) what you heard. Ochocinco still got it."

Vontae Davis later chimed in on Twitter, rating Ochocinco a 10 on a 10-point scale, then adding a disclaimer, "For not knowing playbook he still got it."

Ochocinco, who was waived by the New England Patriots last week, will compete for one of the five or six receiver spots on the 53-man roster. But there's also a chance he could earn a starting role.

Ochocinco had a disappointing season with the Patriots last year, catching just 15 passes for 276 yards and one touchdown in 15 games. In the postseason, he only played in the Super Bowl and had one catch in that game.

But New England's offense primarily fed Wes Welker and the team's two elite tight ends. With the Patriots, Ochocinco was the team's fourth or fifth option.

"I definitely feel like he can be a help," Reggie Bush continued. "From a veteran standpoint, with his wisdom and knowledge, he can help."

General manager Jeff Ireland previously acknowledged that receiver is one of the team's thinnest units, and it doesn't help matters that Brian Hartline, a projected starter, is battling an undisclosed leg issue.

Hartline has sat out most of the team's OTA sessions, and missed this week's practices because of a medical issue the team won't disclose.

The Dolphins were also hopeful that at least one of the young receivers — Clyde Gates, Roberto Wallace, Marlon Moore, Julius Pruitt, or one of the five rookies — would step to the forefront, establishing himself as a potential playmaker. But that hasn't happened in the weeks leading up to next month's start of training camp.

At the moment, Legedu Naanee, a sixth-year veteran the Dolphins signed to a one-year, minimum contract this offseason, is one of the team's top three receivers, and biggest playmakers. And there's a big dropoff after him.

That's why the Dolphins signed Ochocinco, who caught 766 passes for 11,059 yards and 67 touchdowns during his 11 seasons.

"It's not an indictment of any of the (receivers) at this point in time," Philbin said. "I don't think it is any different than any position. You always evaluate your roster. Jeff (Ireland) and his guys turn over every stone and they look for ways to improve the club."

As far as assessing the rest of Miami's receivers, Philbin has consistently raised concerns about the unit's struggles catching the ball consistently, and the struggles some youngsters are having learning the new west coast offense, and playing at a quicker speed.

"It's competitive, at times," Philbin said of the competition during OTAs."You'd like for some players to make it easy, and distinguish themselves, maybe make the picture a little bit clearer at certain times. We've had guys who had some real productive stretches.

"The consistency of catching the ball is something we're working on, and are a little bit concerned about ... We have to catch the ball more consistently on every position on offense."

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