1. Bill Belichick isn’t one to make comparisons, but he did earlier this week on a conference call when asked about the acquisition of Antonio Brown and having confidence he won’t be a disruption. Belichick pointed out the media said the same thing about Randy Moss when he came aboard in 2007. Of course, things worked out well that year when Moss put up career numbers and didn’t have issues off the field. Appearing on Adam Schefter’s podcast this week, Moss revealed he and Brown have communicated recently about life in New England. “I reached out a day or two before he got (signed by New England),” Moss said. “It was crazy because he was on my mind and I texted him. He texted me back, I think it was about (the Raiders) fining him $200,000 and he wanted out of Oakland or something. I just texted him and he was in a meeting. I told him get back in your meeting and we’d chat later. We ended up chatting and then all of this happens and he hit me up about going to New England about some of the stuff we’ve talked about and staying focused and going up there with the Patriots, the defending Super Bowl champions. ‘Man, you have to get up there and focus. Understand what they are trying to do on that football field and magic is going to happen.’” Moss also added he believes his own success with the Patriots had something to do with the organization taking a chance and adding Brown.
2. Moss also believes the Patriots could similar to the 2007 team he was apart of on the field. Of course, that team went 16-0 before the Giants spoiled the perfect season in the Super Bowl. “If things go right, and I am not one to dwell on the past, because I know this game can be so stressful and can break a lot of people down at times, but I think if you look at this and if it goes the way Bill Belichick wants it to go, this could be something fun,” he said. “This could be fun.” Brown isn’t the only star receiver the team has, as Julian Edelman is still around and Josh Gordon looks better than he did a year ago. This isn’t mentioning the defense having the potential to be one of the best in the entire NFL.
3. Aside from a brief Instagram live video Thursday night shot at the TB12 Therapy Center at Patriot Place, Brown has been very, very quiet on social media since joining the team. This should be viewed as a good thing from a Patriots perspective that he’s buying into the system and is focused on solely football. It’s also worth noting his agent Drew Rosenhaus has become tight lipped since the signing, which is unlike him. Perhaps Belichick got to both parties and advised them to tone it down a notch.
4. If Brown does in fact play Sunday, it will be worth seeing what the snap counts look like at wide receiver and who he takes snaps away from the most. It’s hard to imagine Edelman’s being impacted much at all and Gordon’s may be tweaked a tad, but the biggest impact may be with Phillip Dorsett and Jakobi Meyers. In fact, Meyers may be a healthy scratch in some games forward. For Dorsett, he will likely shift back to a more situational receiver opposed to the No. 3, but if he makes the most of opportunities and can make some bigger plays like he did last week, he’ll be just fine.
5. Something to keep an eye on in Sunday’s game is who is calling the defensive plays. Since the summer, everyone assumed it was Jerod Mayo, but there are varying opinions now. Mayo was seen calling plays last Sunday night, but there have been others who observed Steve Belichick calling them, too. It could be a case of them both doing it — maybe Mayo calls the plays for the front-seven and Belichick the secondary. It is something to monitor and worth following up on, except it is likely no one on staff will come out and definitively reveal anything.
6. Defensive tackle Danny Shelton has been one of the biggest surprises for the team dating all the way back to training camp. After not being brought back right away, Shelton re-signed with the team late in the offseason and has been a completely different player thanks to a new workout regimen. “I know he didn't get a lot of plays on Sunday, just the way the game unfolded, but he has shown us that since he came back to us last spring, to being with us this fall, that he's definitely somebody that we can lean on and continue to get good results,” defensive line coach Bret Bielema said on a conference call this week. “I will tell you this, he's worked very hard to get where he is, and hopefully the good things will continue to come to him.”
7. This coming week shouldn’t be even close to as crazy as it was last week. With the addition of Brown, there was quite the media presence at Gillette Stadium, including a reporter from CNN. With Brown likely playing in his first game Sunday and speaking afterwards for the first time, this should likely set up a relatively normal week as the team prepares for the Jets next Sunday at home.