The Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots will meet at Heinz Field in just a few days, and after a night in which the Patriots’ wide receivers seemingly hardly contributed at all, they have made a change, signing veteran free agent Kenny Britt, who was recently released by the Cleveland Browns.
They were reportedly interested in the former first-round pick during free agency, but the Browns drove up his price in their efforts to replace Terrelle Pryor, and so saw him fall into their lap yesterday after he cleared waivers. The veteran said that New England was his top target.
He will now have a few days of practice to learn the Patriots’ system if he wants to suit up and play on Sunday against the Steelers. Pittsburgh has already seen him once, with the Browns in the season opener. He had one reception in that game for 13 yards, and also had a key drop on third down, if my memory is correct.
He has only been active for nine games and started four in spite of the fact that Corey Coleman missed half of the season. He has just 18 receptions for 233 yards and two touchdowns. The Rutgers product was coming off a career year with 68 receptions for 1002 yards and five touchdowns.
The 29-year-old will now look to find a role in Tom Brady’s offense, offering him a tall target at 6’3”. It should be noted, however, that the Patriots are a team that is willing to take chances on players, and they don’t always work out.
They traded for Phillip Dorsett earlier in advance of the regular season, and he has just seven receptions for 140 yards on the year. He was a healthy scratch against the Steelers on Sunday night. The Patriots also traded for Kony Ealy, but released him before the season even started. Cassius Marsh and Ricky Jean Francois are other veteran names that have already cycled through this year alone.
In other words, there is really no reason to panic just because the Patriots signed somebody, which seems to be a tendency. The theory is that Bill Belichick obviously has a plan to turn this player into a superstar, something that nobody else saw or was able to do. Honestly, sometimes that does work out; see Deion Lewis. But most of the time it doesn’t.
It will be interesting to see if Britt is even active for the game against the Steelers. The real piece that the Patriots were missing in the last game, of course, was Rob Gronkowski, who will be far more of a difference-maker than a wide receiver off the street.