By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
Patriots coaches didnt meet with the players on Tuesday,mainly because they didnt get back to Foxboro until 5 a.m. this morning. Butcoach Bill Belichick, offensive coordinator Bill OBrien, and director ofplayer personnel Nick Caserio addressed the media via conference call, andtalked about the loss of center Dan Koppen, who left Monday nights win with abroken ankle.
Offensive lineman Dan Connolly replaced Koppen at center inthe game, and the Patriots were so pleased with what they saw, that they madeno changes to their O-line strategy.
Thats not something thats an easy thing to adjust to, butI did think that Dan Connolly went in there last night and performed prettydamn well for the situation that he was put into, said OBrien. So Im veryconfident in Dan, and what hes going to be able to do for us.
With Dan, we didnt adjust our gameplan at all. We did thesame things wed been doing through the whole game.The whole line, I thought played a very solid footballgame, added OBrien. And that was definitely part of it.With Koppen reportedly out 8-10 weeks, Belichick said thatthe Patriots will evaluate the teams depth, just like they do all season long.Thatssomething we do every week, said Belichick. We evaluate our roster and allour options every week, especially early in the season, when there are moreoptions available.With each succeeding week, options start to diminish . . .Every week, were looking at the players on our practice squad. Were lookingat other players. Thats what our personnel department does.If you feel like theres a way that you can improve yourteam, then I think you consider it, added Belichick. Sometimes you make amove, sometimes you dont.Caserio added to that sentiment, saying that the teamspersonnel department wont change the way it does business, just because Koppenwent down.I would say today is no different than really any otherday, said Caserio. We do research all the way through the year, whether itsin the spring, through training camp, during the regular season. Our approachtoday is no different than it is in any other week. Were just going aboutbusiness as usual.Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin indicated that stunts like Antonio Brown’s Sunday night video are the kind that get good players shipped out of town.
“He's a great player, respected largely in the locker room but incidents such as this don't help him in that regard,” said Tomlin told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette and others at a Tuesday press conference in Pittsburgh. “That's often why you see great players move from team to team. Don't want that to happen to Antonio Brown.”
Tomlin, who referred to the Patriots as “a--holes” after the Steelers beat Kansas City in a Divisional Playoff game, apologized for his profanity and the other off-color comments made in the 17-minute broadcast.
“Like to say the language on the video is regrettable, by me and by others,” Tomlin stated.” That's why we go to great lengths to preserve certain moments and interactions between us. As a parent, as a member of the community I take that very seriously. I issue an apology in that regard.”
Tomlin added that he has “absolutely no worries on the video's effect on the game, on the Patriots, on the Steelers. Game is too big.”
Returning to Brown – who has yet to address why he thought this was a great idea – Tomlin said, “It was foolish of him to do that, selfish and inconsiderate. It was violation of our policy, league policy. He has to grow from this. He works extremely hard, he's extremely talented and those things get minimized with incidents like this."
After speculation and “Do it; you won’t” cries from Patriots fans as to whether Roger Goodell would show his face at Gillette Stadium for the AFC Championship, we’ve now got our answer: When the Patriots and Steelers kick off Sunday in Foxboro, the commissioner will be 1,045 miles away.
Goodell will reportedly attend the NFC Championship Sunday in Atlanta, continuing his absence from Patriots home games since the start of Deflategate. For those inclined to call it merely a coincidence, Goodell was in Atlanta last week for the Falcons and Seahawks. This will be two straight weeks of Atlanta -- with a trip to Kansas City for Chiefs-Steelers mixed in -- and still no New England.
Tom Brady, whom Goodell suspended for four games over the ball-deflating scandal, was asked on WEEI Monday about the possibility of Goodell attending a game in New England.
“He’s the commissioner, so obviously whatever he wants to do, he can do,” Brady said on Kirk and Callahan. “If he wants to come, that would be -- yeah, he can come.”
Asked if he wanted Goodell at the game, Brady replied, “He can go wherever he wants to go. Whoever is at the game is at the game.”
Equally popular as the will-Goodell-ever-go-back-to-Gillette discussion has been that of how Patriots fans would react. Last week, something of a light feud between Michael Felger and Barstool Sports’ Dave Portnoy took place over what kind of behavior towards the commissioner is acceptable.
That all remains a moot point, however, as Goodell won’t need to worry about being berated, spit on or anything else. Any of that will continue to be put off for as long as he stays away from Gillette.