Antonio Brown didn’t speak to the media after the New England Patriots crushed the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
It appears he broke an NFL rule that “players must be available to the media following every game and regularly during the practice week.”
It also appears New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick not only was OK with it, but may have agreed to pay any potential fine.
While being a member of the media, and appreciating hearing from players about their in-game experiences, it’s also true that Brown seems to have learned a valuable lesson in Miami.
As hard as it was for him to go silent after any game or event — just shower, dress and bolt from the locker room before the media got there — as a Patriot you do your talking on the field.
And while the overall assessment was good — eight targets, four receptions, 56 yards, 1 TD — the possibilities for Brown in this offense, with this balanced attack, with these receivers, with this quarterback are endless.
This is Randy Moss 2.0.
While Brown was outstanding early, making three standard short Brady pass receptions before a classic back shoulder grab (possible pass interference) for a touchdown, we saw the possibilities of Brown’s talents on the misses.
The first was a perfect Brady pass in the end zone. But Brown looked left and Brady threw right.
The second, a few plays later from inside the 10, was a Brown slant from left to right. Problem was he wasn’t looking and the ball zipped over his head.
This mini-blunder was on both of them.
The third, on the next possession, was a quick release from the line of scrimmage and Brown was wide open deep. Brady under-threw it inside, and if not for a lucky arm in the way it would have been touchdown.
The difference between each of those incompletions being easy touchdowns is, well, a few weeks of getting to know each other.
While Moss was special, almost like a gazelle when he got going, Brown is really more up Brady’s alley.
He’s quick. He catches balls in the middle of the field. He makes incredibly quick cuts to the sidelines.
He’s basically a better (not tougher) version of Julian Edelman. He can not be covered one-on-one.
Brown has a lot to learn in terms of The Patriot Way. And it’s not going to be easy after a career of doing what he wanted, when he wanted.
As for his not being interviewed after the game, if you think that was Brown’s desire you are severely mistaken.
Brown also has to come to grips with winning over numbers/production. If he listened to Josh Gordon’s presser after the game he would’ve heard the ultimate Patriot Way comment: “If you continue to work hard ... eventually the ball will come to you.”
There will be games in which Brown’s fantasy numbers will be disappointing, a few catches and a few dozen yards. There will be times, like yesterday, when the Patriot are inside the 10-yard line and he’ll be on the bench watching because of the “grouping” called by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
But if yesterday was any indication, there will be games that will match or surpass what Moss did here in that first year.
Brown is for real. It will take some time and work in getting there.
You can email Bill Burt at firstname.lastname@example.org.