Troy Brown is just five receptions away from becoming the franchise's all-time leader. If he has a good game against the Bills, it's possible Brown could supplant the great Stanley Morgan as the team's most prolific pass catcher in the Patriots' next game.
"I don't really think about that," Brown said. "I just want to go out and do whatever they ask me to do: play defense, special teams, whatever it may be. I just like to play my role, and I like to do it pretty well. But if it happens, then it happens, and hopefully it happens when we're winning."
Patriots QB Tom Brady (AP Photo)
"I think he's a big clutch player ... You try to get the ball to guys like that."
- Patriots QB Tom Brady
The Patriots' last two games against the Bengals and Dolphins were perfect examples of what Brown, 35, brings to the team. In Cincinnati, he was held without a catch. However, with New England hurting in its secondary, the veteran once again lined up on the defensive side of the ball and helped limit the explosive Bengals offense to just 13 points. He was also important as a blocker for a running game that racked up 236 yards. The things Brown did against Cincinnati won't show up on ESPN, but as usual, they were a vital part of another Patriots victory.
The following week against the Dolphins, Brown was asked to take on a bigger role in the passing game, and to no one's surprise, he delivered. He caught five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. All five of his receptions resulted in first downs, with three of them being third-down conversions.
"He's so dependable out there," quarterback Tom Brady said about Brown after the Dolphins game. "I always know where he's going to be. Part of it is I think he's a big clutch player. He's played in a lot of games for us. You try to get the ball to guys like that."
Because he's not the typical player, Brown doesn't have the same practice schedule as everyone else. He spends one day practicing with the offense, one day practicing with the defense and another day splitting time between the two. Not to mention that he has responsibilities on special teams to prepare for as well.
"Troy, he goes from offense then to defense and then back to offense and back to defense," coach Bill Belichick said. "Troy is pretty much in there on every play and needs to hear every call and needs to be a part of everything. Then he splits time with the coaches during the week to try and make sure that he is prepared for everything."
All eyes will be on Brown in the coming weeks. Perhaps no other player in recent history has embodied what the Patriots organization stands for as the team-orientated Brown has. One only need listen to his unselfish comments to realize why he's a New England sports icon.
"I try to compete for a starting job, but when I get my role, I play it," Brown said. "I'm happy. I don't fuss with Bill about playing time. I don't play 60 offensive snaps like I used to, but the coaching staff does a good job of protecting me. You have to accept your age. At times there will be guys pushing you out the door. Then you've got to put your best foot forward, and if you get beat out by a better player, so be it. My ego was checked a long time ago. I don't have the ego problem that some guys have."