FOXBORO, MA — Well the big question on everyone’s mind this morning was, “What about the tight end?” Head coach Pete Carroll gave the latest “Ben Coates Update” during his press conference on Thursday.
“I haven’t seen him yet, I don’t know what’s going on,” said Carroll. “He’ll be in here in a little bit, I’m looking forward to talking to him.”
“There will be some conversation of course to see where he is and what’s going on. There’s not alot I would share with you guys [the media], we’ll have an ‘in house’ conversation about it. We’ll take care of it. I’m anxious to see where he is. He’s one of our key guys that’s obviously in a place where he’s not real productive mentally right now. We have to get him straight, see where his head is at, and we’ll go from there.”
Carroll did say that he didn’t make any attempt to contact Coates during the player’s three days off. He felt that it would be better to give the tight end a break to cool off, and is expected to meet with him later today. As to whether or not Coates will show up, sources close to Ben say the tight end is expected to arrive at the stadium later this afternoon for practice.
Whether or not the offense will change remains to be seen. Carroll said repeatedly that their offensive scheme will not change, and nothing changed in the first place. He did say that it’s still important to include him as a factor in the offense.
“I haven’t seen us change anything from what we’ve done the last two years,” said Carroll. “Our approach, and the way we look at our mix is basically the same as it has been. We haven’t changed our thoughts. We have a number of guys who are big parts of our offense. Obviously it starts with Drew [Bledsoe]. However our running game comes together, our tight end passing game, our wide receiver passing game, they are all things that make our offense work.”
“We’ve already seen so many examples during the season how [the ball] goes to different people, depending on how the game plays itself out. We can’t always dictate how that goes, we have to take what’s given to us. It’s important that the tight end is a factor in our offense, and it continues to be important to us. The fact that the numbers aren’t there to support that statement, I’m concerned about that.”
The decline in Coates’ production has been blamed by many to be his inability to get open at times, and that he may have lost a step. Carroll feels that is not an issue for Ben, and he feels that Ben is simply frustrated. He is, however, still upset about the fact that Ben spoke out about it to the media first.
“Ben’s never been a real fast guy, ever since the time he came in,” said Carroll. “He’s been a tremendous football player that knows how to get open and play the game. Speed has never been his strong suit, but it hasn’t been a problem for him.”
“I think he’s frustrated, it’s pretty obvious. There’s no mystery here, I mean the guy hasn’t caught as many balls as he would like to catch. That’s all. He took an opportunity to speak out about it, and it doesn’t go in line with what team thoughts are all about, the team approach, and how we take care of the team. That’s why we’re upset about it.”
“I don’t approve of it, I don’t like it. I would never say those things myself, but they get said in this day and age. Players speak out, and we have to deal with this situation to make sure it’s not going to manifest.”
Again, Carroll is expected to meet with Coates this morning, and the players are expected to be in practice at 2:00pm. All eyes will be looking for #87 out on the practice field.