Patriots' Brown practices, status for Sunday's game unclear

Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady talks to the media Wednesday in Foxboro.

FOXBORO — Quarterback Tom Brady has been around long enough to see the New England Patriots change on the offensive side of the ball.

It’s part of the growing evolution that has helped the Patriots not just remain relevant, but among the best teams in the NFL. Early signs have depicted it will be a similar story for this season, and Brady for one, seems to be looking forward to it.

“Yeah, I think for me, it’s been — we’ve had different strengths on this team at different times,” Brady said during a press conference this week. “Early in my career, it was probably more the running game. And then we got Wes (Welker) and Randy (Moss) and Donte Stallworth and Jabar (Gaffney) — it was probably more receiver-heavy.

“And then we got Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) and Aaron Hernandez, and that became a little bit more tight end-heavy,” he added. “So, I think over years, the experience that we’ve had has been helpful to the transition our offense to the skillset of the players.”

“I think that’s what good teams do. You know, you’re not going to be able to replace this player for that guy. It’s hard to replace a Randy Moss, it’s hard to replace a Rob Gronkowski, so you’ve just got to morph the offense and try different things and see what works. That’s what makes it fun to play. Try to go out there and reinvent yourself in different ways to try to put pressure on the defense.”

The Patriots will have another chance to show that off when they travel to Hard Rock Stadium to take on the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. However, it may not be the truest of tests. The Dolphins’ defense allowed 643 yards and 59 points in their season-opening loss against the Baltimore Ravens last week.

The Ravens compiled 14 yards per pass attempt and nearly six yards per rush. It has the makings to be a massive day for Brady and his weapons on offense.

One of those weapons, and perhaps most well-known this week, is receiver Antonio Brown. The Patriots signed the All-Pro Brown on Monday to a one-year deal and practiced with the team both Wednesday and Thursday. However, Brown’s status is uncertain for Monday for a variety of reasons, mainly the alleged sexual assault reported by The New York Times on Tuesday night.

The lawsuit against Brown, which was filed Tuesday in the Southern District of Florida, says that he sexually assaulted Britney Taylor, a gymnast he met while they were attending Central Michigan whom he later hired as a trainer. The lawsuit accuses Brown of three separate assaults, two in June 2017 and another in May 2018.

Brown, through his lawyer, Darren Heitner, has denied the accusations.

The other reason Brown is uncertain is due to his recent addition. The Patriots did not play Josh Gordon in the first game he was with the team during the 2018 season. They could take a similar route on Sunday.

Still, the Patriots are not short on offensive playmakers with receivers Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett and Gordon among the cast of three receivers.

“We’ve got a lot of things we’ve got to try to go out there and improve on. We got off to a decent start, but this week we’ve got to start fresh.”

Sean McGuire is a sports writer with the Sun Chronicle and the Foxboro Reporter and can be followed on Twitter at @BySeanMcGuire.

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