Chad Ochocinco is not being asked to do the same things Randy Moss did when he was with the Patriots, but Ochiocinco is being treated like Moss in at least one respect, the placement of his locker.
The Pats use a simple system for giving their players a place to dress. The lowest numbers, the kickers and quarterbacks, are placed just outside the trainer's room at one end of the big room. For the most part, players are aligned according to their numbers, so that the linebackers in the 40s and 50s are at the opposite end from the kickers and quarterbacks and the defensive linemen in the 90s complete the rotation and are back near the kickers and quarterbacks.
Some exceptions are made.
A significant one was when Moss joined the team, he was placed next to the quarterbacks. With number 81, he normally would have been across the room with Wes Welker and the other receivers. But he was stationed as close as possible to Tom Brady, an obvious attempt to try and help the two mesh.
Now, Ochocinco has been given the same treatment. When reporters were allowed in the clubhouse at the end of training camp _ all training camp interviews are done on the field _ they saw that number 85 was not with the others in the 80s, but rather next to the quarterbacks. Deion Branch , number 84, is, too. He is directly adjacent to Ochocinco next to the guys with the low numbers.
Taylor Price, for one, is happy about it. As number 17, he is near the quarterbacks, too. The second-year receiver who has been one of the big surprises in camp, is now directly beside Ochocinco. He had nothing but praise about learning from the veteran.
``He's very professional, not just on the field, not just in the games,'' Price related. ``(He knows) how you carry yourself, your relationship to the quarterback, your relationship with the coach.''
Price, who played in only one game last season after being drafted in the third round (90th overall), had five catches, including a pretty reception for a touchdown from Brian Hoyer, in the pre-season opener against Jacksonville. His performance was singled out by former Pats coach Bill Parcells, now an analyst for ESPN.
``The guy I noticed most is Taylor Price,'' Parcells said prior to Monday Night Football. ``He has good speed. He has real good toughness. He was a little green coming out of school, but he's a good clold weather player. I think you're going to see this guy do a lot of big things for the Patriots.''
However, Price then missed practice time the following week with an undisclosed injury and did not pay at Tampa Bay.
He has had such a strong training camp that, from all indications, he appears to have earned a spot on the 53-man roster. He is ready to play Saturday night at Detroit and determined to show more of what he can do.
``During training camp, I'm treating every practice like a game day. I'm going out there, working hard, trying to make every single play. I'm not pressing too much, just trusting my abilities, play football and let everything else take care of itself,'' he said.
``You just have to get out there and play, let your natural instincts as a football player take over; don't think too much. It's easy to think a lot in this offense, like what do I have here? There? What adjustments are there? If you just know your stuff, be prepared and let it all hang out, flow and you should be all right,'' he offered.