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Patriots notebook

WR Ochocinco draws coverage

Bruschi critical of latest tweet

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By Michael Whitmer
Globe Staff / September 15, 2011

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FOXBOROUGH - The small-numbered individual debut might have been lost amid the big-numbered team performance, but Chad Ochocinco continues to attract attention, not always the kind he’s hoping for.

A Twitter post he made upon returning from Monday night’s 38-24 victory in Miami drew strong criticism from former Patriot Tedy Bruschi, who took Ochocinco to task for, in his opinion, coming across like a fan instead of a player expected to participate in the kind of offense that, when clicking, can put up a franchise-record 622 yards, 517 through the air.

Ochocinco had just one catch for 14 yards against the Dolphins after what he termed a disappointing preseason, and after Monday’s game tweeted, “Just waking up after a late arrival, I’ve never seen a machine operate like that n person, to see video game numbers put up n person was WOW.’’

The loquacious wideout doesn’t appear to have lost the support of his coach or the quarterback throwing him the football.

“He understands what we’re doing,’’ coach Bill Belichick said.

Added Tom Brady: “I don’t have a problem with Chad, at all.’’

But what about the biting remarks from one of Brady’s former teammates?

“Everyone has an opinion on everything, and none of it really means anything,’’ said Brady. “The only things that mean anything are the guys in this locker room and what we do every day in practice.’’

Hernandez’s stance Not many teams utilize their tight ends in the passing game like the Patriots, with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez combining for 13 receptions, 189 yards, and two touchdowns against the Dolphins.

Hernandez, a second-year pro who caught 45 balls and scored six touchdowns as a rookie, was asked yesterday if he even feels like a tight end. With so many routes and passes thrown his way, defenses might view him as a receiver.

“I definitely consider myself a tight end. I’m 240 pounds, and not many receivers are 240,’’ Hernandez said. “People say that I’m a receiver because I can’t block a 300-pound defensive end, but there’s not that many athletic tight ends in the league that are receiving tight ends that do block 300-pound defensive ends.

“I do what I can with linebackers, safeties, and some smaller defensive ends.’’

Brady says, cheers Brady made news last season when he said Gillette Stadium was too quiet too often during games, which many concluded to be a subtle swipe at Patriots fans who have grown accustomed to victories and championships.

The quarterback had a different suggestion for those attending Sunday’s home opener.

“Yeah, start drinking early. Nice and rowdy. It’s a 4:15 game, they’ll have a lot of time to get lubed up, and come out here and cheer for their home team,’’ Brady said.

After Brady’s interview, Stacey James, the Patriots’ vice president for media relations, informed the media that by “lubed up,’’ Brady meant to drink a lot of water in an attempt to stay hydrated.

No surprise, given the franchise-best 517 passing yards and four touchdowns, but Brady was named the AFC’s offensive player of the week. Playfully asked if such an award would be a distraction during a short week before facing the Chargers, even Brady couldn’t suppress a smile.

“Our goals are much bigger than AFC offensive player of the week around here,’’ said Brady, who has won the award 18 times.

Educational film Chargers coach Norv Turner watched the tape of Monday’s Patriots-Dolphins game and came away with one goal for his defense.

“We’re going to do everything we can not to put ourselves in the position that the team they did it against was in,’’ Turner said, referring to the Dolphins. “New England had an unbelievable performance and they’re explosive. We’re going to do our best to contain it and . . . keep from giving up big plays.

“The teams that have played the best against New England - I look at Detroit in the preseason and I look at the Jets and Baltimore from the last couple of years - they’ve been able to pressure the quarterback and disrupt [Brady].’’

Lineman signed The Patriots were busy on the transaction wire yesterday, signing offensive lineman Donald Thomas, who started 12 games for Miami in 2009. He was released by the Dolphins prior to last season, picked up by the Lions, but wasn’t active for any games. To make room on the 53-man roster for Thomas, the Patriots released offensive lineman Thomas Welch, a 2010 seventh-round draft pick who played on special teams against the Dolphins. Tight end Garrett Mills and linebacker Jeff Tarpinian were signed to the practice squad, with linebacker Aaron Lavarias being released from the practice squad . . . In addition to Dan Koppen (fibula), cornerback Leigh Bodden (back) and defensive lineman Mike Wright (concussion) were not able to practice yesterday. Offensive linemen Sebastian Vollmer (back) and Ryan Wendell (calf) were limited in their participation, as were receiver Taylor Price (hamstring), linebackers Dane Fletcher (thumb) and Gary Guyton (hamstring), and safety Josh Barrett, who had a hard cast on his right hand, protecting a thumb injury. For the Chargers, defensive end Luis Castillo (tibia) and linebacker Jonas Mouton (shoulder) didn’t practice.

Michael Whitmer can be reached at mwhitmer@globe.com.

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