BOSTON (CBS) — The NFL will not be placing Antonio Brown on the commissioner’s exempt list ahead of New England’s Week 2 matchup with the Dolphins, according to multiple reports, so the receiver is eligible to make his Patriots debut on Sunday.
Will he? That is now up to head coach Bill Belichick, who was once again hit with several questions about the receiver on Friday morning. It went a lot more civil than Belichick’s Wednesday morning press conference, but the head coach slipped in a little bit of snippiness when he was asked about Brown playing on Sunday.
“We’ll do what’s best for the team,” Belichick replied when ESPN’s Mike Reiss asked if Brown would be suiting up on Sunday.
Asked a few moments later if playing Brown is best for the team, Belichick delivered a sarcastic retort.
“We’ll determine that. We’re not gonna hand out a copy of the game plan here,” he said. “We’ll do what’s best for the team.”
Classic Bill. The rest of his press conference was fairly calm. He wouldn’t comment on the league’s decision, and he also had nothing to say about Brown’s return to social media on Thursday night.
But Belichick did answered questions about integrating Brown into the offense, saying the receiver has a long way to go to become familiar with the way Tom Brady and company operate. Belichick said Brown is working hard to grasp the system, but there is only so much a player can learn in a few days.
Belichick even commended Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal for asking if it was hard to integrate Brown into the offense without disrupting the rest of the players who know the system.
“That’s the question we’re asking ourselves too. You go through the week like we’ve done, trying different things. As we get to Friday and Saturday, we’ll decide the things we’re comfortable. We may eliminate some things we’ve done and concentrate on a certain group, whether that is five plays or 20 plays,” he said. “You don’t want any new player, whether a tackle, a receiver, whatever the guy is, to make a mistake — miss a block, make a route adjustment that isn’t the right one and then turn the ball over or have a big play against you. You can’t cover all the situations, especially against a team like Miami, that we know will do some different things.
“We have to try to balance what you ask a player to do with what you think is going to happen. Sometimes that works out. But, over time, week after week after week, it will build and get better,” he said. “We’ll have better execution and confidence. That goes with any new player.
“Which plays and how many, that is a good question. That’s a good question,” he concluded.
The way Belichick spoke on Friday, it certainly sounds like Brown will make his Patriots debut on Sunday afternoon. We’ll know for sure around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, when New England releases their list of inactives.
Tune in to Patriots-Dolphins on WBZ-TV — the flagship station of the New England Patriots. Pregame coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. with Patriots GameDay, kickoff is set for 1 p.m., and stick around for full reaction and analysis on Patriots 5th Quarter — all on WBZ-TV!