When Will Troy Brown Play?
Who Will Score No. 22
New England Patriots wide receiver, special teamer and defensive back Troy "Mr. Patriot" Brown has yet to play a down -- has yet to be active for a game.
There are several theories why Brown hasn't suited up, but the most likely is that they just don't need him. It's Bill Belichick's calling card that he plays the players that give his team the best opportunity to win.
With Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Donté Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney as the top four receivers and backup receiver Kelley Washington making a name for himself on special teams (especially with that blocked punt Sunday), and with most of the key defensive backs healthy, and finally with special teams generally dominating, a 5-foot-10, less than 200 pound, 36-year-old jack-of-all-trades simply doesn't have enough upside to take a roster spot from someone else.
The offensive and defensive lines and tight ends have been banged up. There is now a tendency to carry another body or two on the game-day roster "just in case."
So the question is: If you activate Brown, who sits?
Then, of course, you have Miami coming to town this weekend. This could be Brown's opportunity, maybe his only opportunity.
"We'll see what happens," Brown said last week. "I'm doing everything I can to get myself ready to play. Like I have to go out there today, and you never know what might happen. I just have to be ready to play at any time. That's the mindset I have and that's what I try to carry every week and every day, not just on the field but in the meeting rooms, keeping myself ready to go."
Among the traits that endeared Brown to fans -- and to Belichick -- is willingness to put the team first, to do whatever is necessary to help the team.
As far as that's concerned, when the team is doing well, that knocks the frustration level down quite a bit," he said. "The guys are winning, so you can't help but be happy. It's a good atmosphere around here now."
The other question is: If there's no plan to put Brown on the field, why have him on the active roster at all?
Despite Belichick's calling card, for all the coldness with which he approaches his business, Brown may represent that glimmer of Christmas Spirit in the Grinch's heart.
Nearly every Patriot fan would say that Brown remains on the team because "the team owes it to him," and they feel that way about Brown more than any other player who has worn the red, white and blue. But it's even more than that, isn't it? It's not about what Brown has done, but what he represents. He is the mold for the Belichick-kind-of-player. He embodies "The Patriot Way," regardless what the charlatan media and fans around the league say.
In short: Brown is The Man.
And so it just may be that Brown's contribution to this year's team is just being Troy Brown.
Who Will Score No. 22?
Brown just might play this weekend. That gives him an opportunity to be the 22nd player on the team to score a touchdown this season, breaking the current record which the Patriots co-own with the 1987 Los Angeles Rams and the 2000 Denver Broncos.
Eugene Wilson became No. 21 with his 5-yard interception return Sunday. In a poll posted Nov. 30, Wilson was covered only under "Someone else," which just 8 of 217 people chose (3 percent). Brown received the most votes: 124 (57 percent).
Here is the current list:
Willie Andrews, 1
Kyle Brady, 2
Tom Brady, 2
Matt Cassel, 1
Rosevelt Colvin, 1
Kyle Eckel, 2
Heath Evans, 3
Kevin Faulk, 1
Jabar Gaffney, 4
Randall Gay, 1
Ellis Hobbs, 1
Laurence Maroney, 3
Sammy Morris, 3
Randy Moss, 19
Asante Samuel, 1
Donte' Stallworth, 3
Adalius Thomas, 1
Mike Vrabel, 2
Ben Watson, 6
Wes Welker, 8
Eugene Wilson, 1
And so the question is: Who will score No. 22?
Please vote in the poll, and post your predictions in the comment section of how that touchdown will be scored.
Which Patriots player will be the 22nd to score a touchdown?
This poll is closed