FOXBORO, Mass. -- There's no question New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is excited to have Antonio Brown join the team. And why wouldn't he be thrilled? Brown is an elite wide receiver with a tremendous skill set.
Brady is also very aware that adding another great player into the mix isn't easy, and that the challenge won't be solved overnight.
"I think everybody's excited to add great players. It helps everybody when you have great players that are sharing the burden of a tough football season," Brady said after the Patriots' 33-3 demolition of the Pittsburgh Steelers in Sunday night's season opener.
"I think, like anything else, whether it was Josh (Gordon) last year, Phillip (Dorsett) when he got here a few years ago late, and this year Antonio -- how much can you learn and process? We're all going to work hard and try to get up to speed as fast as possible. We haven't had a training camp together or anything like that, so you have to force a lot of information. We're all excited to have him. All I can say is we're going to work as hard as we possibly can to get up to speed as quickly as possible."
The Patriots offense already was one of the league's best without Brown, and Sunday's performance was a fine example. Not only did the Patriots crush the Steelers on the scoreboard, the defending champs also converted 50 percent of their third downs, they didn't turn the ball over once, and they allowed only one sack.
Adding a player of Brown's caliber to the mix gives offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels even more schemes and play designs to try and confuse opposing defenses. But even though Brown is one of the most productive wideouts of his era, assimilating him into offense will be a group effort that everyone must take ownership in.
"All of us players are trying to be the best player that we can be for the team. There's a lot of things that play into that," Brady said. "We're all trying to reach our highest potential individually so that we can reach our highest potential collectively. It doesn't come together because you say, 'Oh, all you guys are going to come together.'
"Antonio's had a lot of production. Demaryius (Thomas) has had a lot of production. Julian (Edelman) has had a lot of production. Josh's had a lot of production. Phillip had a great game tonight. The point is we have a lot of players who are talented and we've got to figure out how to make it all work. We're going to work hard -- it's a long year. It's the beginning of a long marathon. The NFL's very competitive. It's going to be a great challenge, but I think we're all looking forward to it."
Brown wasn't eligible to play against the Steelers, but he's likely to make his debut in Week 2 when the Patriots travel on the road to play the Miami Dolphins. A week of practice isn't going to solve the puzzle of adding Brown to the mix, but with nearly the entire regular season left to play, there's plenty of time for Brady, McDaniels and the rest of the offense to find the best way to maximize the abundance of quality pass-catchers on this roster.
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