Miami Herald – With training camp opening Friday, Dolphins receiver Chad Johnson is changing more than merely his name. He has reverted to the flamboyant personality, the relentless offseason worker, who flourished in Cincinnati before what the Dolphins hope was an aberrational 15-catch season in New England. After changing his name back from Ochocinco, Johnson told us Monday: “This season is going to be a monster year. I don’t care who’s playing quarterback. I’m going to have a great year. The first day I get to camp, everybody’s mouth can drop [the bleep] open… I’m going back to my normal ways… My personality was controlled last year. You didn’t hear me at all last year. Zero. Zilch. When my mouth is running, it forces me to perform. It’s never been vindictive. I never got anybody in trouble. “One of the things I like about being here, that’s so refreshing, and is such a weight off my back, is I can be me, whatever that entails.”… Asked about reports that he failed to completely learn the Patriots offense, he said, “The stuff that I do well, I do extremely well. The Pats know what I do well. You put that player in position to make those same plays he’s been making his whole career. It’s not rocket science.”
Silly me. I’ve never claimed to understand football, but I had no idea I could be so off base about it either. I watched Ochocinco Johnson last year stumblebum his way to 15 lousy catches and 1 paltry touchdown and it looked to me like he was a guy who was lost. Who had no idea what his assignments were or what the playcall was or how his quarterback and the guys around him were reading coverages. I saw those times when Deion Branch or somebody would have to direct him where to line up and watch him run right into coverage and I just assumed it was because he didn’t know what he was doing. Well who am I supposed to believe now? Johnson, or my lying eyes? The problem wasn’t him. It was the Patriots. It was their whole stupid culture of focusing on football at the expense of flamboyant personality. It’s because their offense is so complicated it barely gives you enough time to entertain your 3 million Twitter followers with your ebonic nonsense. I mean, how can a guy plan his next end zone celebration when he’s busy got all these audibles and option routes to learn? It’s idiotic. And where did all that rocket science get the Patriots? The Super Bowl. The 2nd most yards by a QB ever. The best season by a tight end and a slot receiver leading the league in catches. But they still should’ve changed everything to put Ochoson in position to make those plays he’s been making on all those 6-10 Cincinnati teams. You’re right, Chad. Patriots’ bad.
PS. My first bold prediction of the year: Johnson doesn’t last the season in Miami. He’s a guy who can only operate in a basic offense, running standard routes. Cincy dumped him when they installed Jay Gruden’s West Coast. Joe Philbin is bringing his version of the West Coast to the Dolphins and there’s no way he thrives in it. There’s just too much timing and precision. The only reason Johnson was brought in is because they Dolphins are on “Hard Knocks” this year and aside from Ryan Tannehill’s wife, they’re the dullest team in football. Johnson’s there to liven things up, the way Heather Locklear was always brought in to save dying TV shows. And the Chad Johnson show will be cancelled, mark my words. @JerryThornton1