By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
After a week of headlines and potential distractions, we’re down to one question: Will Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown suit up and play in New England’s Week 2 head-to-head with the Dolphins this Sunday?
“We’ll do what’s best for the team,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of Brown’s status for Week 2 against the Dolphins. “We’re determining [if Brown is playing is best for the team]. I’m not going to hand out a copy of the game plan here.
“We’ll do what we think is best for the team.”
(I have a feeling that Belichick will do what’s best for the team, if that isn’t clear.)
It would seem like a no-brainer to throw a seven-time Pro Bowler and the NFL’s leader in receiving touchdowns last year into the mix for Tom Brady’s offense, but there’s a definite adjustment period for the 31-year-old Brown, who has participated in just two practices with the Patriots since being signed on Monday.
“[Brown has] a long way to go,” Belichick admitted. “Obviously, he’s not familiar with our offense. The systems that he’s been in have been quite different. Jon [Gruden] does the West Coast offense, which there’s very little carryover from their system to our system. Not bad or good – just we’ve had players before. It’s just not all going to carry over, and a similar thing in Pittsburgh. You know, he’s working hard to pick it up, and we’re working hard to get it to him.
“The systems aren’t built from the same tree that branches. I mean, there’s just formations, play calling, protections, routes. So, it’s associating one word with a word that you know, and now a new word and trying to associate those two,” Belichick said of the difference between the Patriots’ systems and the one run by Gruden’s Raiders. “But, they might be the same, they might not quite be the same. There could be subtle differences based on different coverages or leverage that the defender plays, how we would run those routes. So, I mean, there’s a lot of variation there. I’d say the West Coast offense has core principles. From one team to another, I think a lot of those principles would carry over.
“But, that’s not what we do. It’s not good or bad, it just is what it is. But, that’s pretty common.”
The truth is that the Patriots probably won’t need Brown in action to defeat the Dolphins, who are in the midst of an obvious tank-job, and surrendered 59 points to Lamar Jackson and the Ravens last weekend.