Tim Benz: Give it time. Antonio Brown will blow up in New England, too
One thing is obvious with this whole Antonio Brown saga.
It’s all Derek Carr’s fault.
Oh, wait. That’s not cute anymore? Ok. Never mind.
So, when it all goes bad now that Brown is in New England — and it will — will it be Tom Brady’s fault?
Oh, no! That’s where we’ll draw the line on blame-shifting, I’m sure.
Yes. Antonio Brown in New England will blow up. Eventually. It’s just a matter of when and how much winning will be done before it explodes.
I’ve been wrestling with that question ever since the Patriots signed Brown Saturday afternoon. Will the Brown acquisition melt down? Or will it be another Randy Moss-esque success story in New England?
I know. I’m speaking in absolutes. Usually I try to find a little nuance in a debate. On this one, though, I don’t see the room for middle ground. It’s going to be one or the other. Brown going to New England will be a raving success or a debacle.
It won’t go as badly as it did in Oakland. How could it? Most folks in Pittsburgh figured that situation would become a mess at some point. However, conventional wisdom was that Brown would have to take the field at least once before the inevitable disaster occurred.
I mean, at least once!
With the Patriots, there’s more structure than there is in Oakland. More order. More discipline. More expected of the players — by the players.
It’s not just Bill Belichick asking that of his players. It’s the players themselves demanding it of each other. Guys at the top such as Tom Brady, Julian Edelman and Devin McCourty.
In theory, that’s a reason why this arrangement should work. The dressing room will police itself. It won’t let Brown get out of line.
Then again, if it’s more people demanding that Brown do things the “right way,” and not “the A.B. way,” he may pop off all the quicker.
Because Brown hates rules. No one dislikes rules more than Antonio Brown. He doesn’t like to be told when to show up for meetings or practice. What cleats to wear. What helmet to wear. When he can use his phone. How he can celebrate after scores. When he can stream on live on Facebook. How slow he needs to drive in the North Hills. How often he has to mow his lawn.
Who has more rules than the Patriots?
No one. It’s part of the reason that team is great every year. The same coach who would bench Malcolm Butler before the Super Bowl will fine Brown if he’s late for the team bus before a game against the Dolphins.
As we learned recently, Brown doesn’t like to be fined.
As soon as I heard the Brown signing was official, the first thing I thought was, “Moss all over again.” Or Corey Dillon. Or LeGarrette Blount.
Just another volatile player going to Foxborough and falling in line.
Nah. Brown makes those guys look like angels. Plus, what were the first two things Brown did after signing with New England? He posted this cartoon.
That’s not exactly what the “Patriot Way” means, Antonio. Actually, it’s directly the opposite.
Then he “liked” a vile tweet about Raiders general manager Mike Mayock.
This doesn’t appear to be a guy who suddenly had an awakening about how to act. Brown has changed for the worse and shows no sign of changing back.
Brady demands everybody be on point, all the time. In their spot, as directed. Or you are going to hear about it on the sideline.
One reason Roethlisberger’s relationship with Brown lasted as long as it did is that Roethlisberger improvised so much and threw on the run so much. Hence, it wasn’t a huge issue that Brown often improvised his routes, too.
That won’t fly with Brady. And God forbid Brady yell at Brown. The only thing Brown hates worse than rules is the act of being questioned. Roethlisberger made one comment on his radio show and A.B. lost it. What if Brady snaps at him like he did Josh McDaniels? You might need to get the National Guard involved.
There’s the whole, “Brown will be on his best behavior” belief. Well, what’s his best behavior? We always said Mike Tomlin put up with guff from Brown that Belichick never would.
That theory will be put to the test now, eh?
The consensus was Brown wouldn’t act up until at least the first bad game with the Raiders, too. So much for that.
If the Patriots keep Brown under control for 15 games this year, that’ll be as impressive of an accomplishment as any of their six Super Bowls.
They might win a seventh anyway. But I bet Brown won’t be on the field with them by the time the confetti falls.