FOXBORO, Mass. — The NFL reportedly won’t be placing wide receiver Antonio Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list before the New England Patriots play the Miami Dolphins on Sunday in Week 2. So, it will be up to the Patriots whether they want to put the receiver on the field or not Sunday.
Brown is being accused of sexual assault and rape by his former trainer, Britney Taylor, in a civil lawsuit. Brown also has had just five days to learn the Patriots’ offense after officially being signed Monday.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Friday that Brown still has “a long way to go.” It does seem likely Brown will play against the Dolphins, however.
“Obviously, he’s not familiar with our offense,” Belichick said. “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. … It’s too much ground to make up in a few days, but we do the best we can and we’ll see how it goes.”
Brown played in the same offense for seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers as they went from Todd Haley as their offensive coordinator to Randy Fichtner. Haley and Fichter both run the same core Erhardt-Perkins offensive scheme as the Patriots, though New England’s has morphed under Josh McDaniels.
Prior to Haley, Bruce Arians was the Steelers’ offensive coordinator for Brown’s first two seasons in Pittsburgh.
Gruden’s west-coast offense is dramatically different from what the Patriots run.
“The systems aren’t built from the same tree that branches,” Belichick said. “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. 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. We go through that a lot.”
We’ll find out Sunday how many snaps Brown sees if he indeed does takes the field against the Dolphins. It would be surprising if it’s a full share.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images