Patriots

Patriots

FOXBORO -- Antonio Brown's legal situation reportedly won't prevent him from playing for the New England Patriots on Sunday.

But "playing" will be easier said than done for a wide receiver who's had just four days and two practices to learn a complex offense.

So, will Brown be ready to play a significant role against the Miami Dolphins?

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was unusually candid Friday discussing how Brown has assimilated to date -- and how difficult it will be for the 31-year-old to get the hang of things.

"(He has) a long way to go," Belichick said. "Obviously not familiar with our offense. The systems that he's been in are quite different. (Oakland Raiders head coach) Jon (Gruden) has a West Coast offense, which, there's very little carryover from their system to our system. ... And similar thing in Pittsburgh."

Brown has spent the majority of his NFL career with Todd Haley, who as Steelers offensive coordinator ran an offense with similar influences to the Erhardt-Perkins offense New England runs.

But even if Brown is familiar with a few concepts, Belichick insisted Friday that his new wideout is essentially starting from scratch.

"The systems aren't built from the same tree," Belichick said. "Formations, play-calling, protections, routes. It's associating one word, a word that you know, now it's a new word and you're trying to associate those two. They might be the same, they may not quite be the same. There could be subtle differences based on different coverages or leverage the defender plays, how we would run those routes. So, there's a lot of variation there."

 

Belichick even admitted Brown likely won't learn those differences by Sunday.

"We're trying to get him caught up to speed as quickly as we can," he added. "It's too much ground to make up in a few days, but we do the best we can."

So, does that mean Brown will see limited snaps against the Dolphins? Belichick surprisingly threw out some numbers while discussing Brown's pitch count.

"We'll decide what things we feel comfortable with," Belichick said. "We may eliminate some of the things that we've done and concentrate on certain groups, whether that's five plays, 20 plays, I don't know. We'll have to decide that.

"But yeah, certainly, you don't want any new player ... making a mistake, missing a block, making a route adjustment that's not the right one and then turning the ball over and having a big play against you."

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