Patriots Coach Bill Belichick would not talk about the upcoming trade deadline, saying he would defer to Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

There’s plenty of curiosity about whether the Patriots will be buyers or sellers before the upcoming trade deadline on Tuesday.

Naturally, Patriots Coach Bill Belichick wouldn’t tip his hand when asked during his video conference Tuesday if there might be something in the fire.

He danced around how the Patriots would be approaching the deadline, basically deferring the conversation to Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio.

At this juncture, Belichick said he was more focused on the upcoming game with the AFC East-leading Bills, than trading for players who might help, or surrendering assets for future draft picks.

“That’s something I’ll check in on with Nick here this week, but I usually don’t get too involved in that,” said Belichick. “That’s something the communication on that really goes through the personnel department with Nick and his staff.

“Generally speaking, the coaches are pretty involved in their game preparations at this point in time until something becomes more of a realistic opportunity,” Belichick went on. “So, we’ll kind of see how that goes. I really don’t have a good sense on that one way or the other. I’m sure there’s some conversations out there. How close that would or wouldn’t be for us, I’m not sure at this point.”


At 2-4, it might seem logical for the Patriots to be sellers. A win in Buffalo might change that dynamic.

BRANDON COPELAND is out for the rest of the season with a torn pectoral muscle, and though Belichick didn’t confirm it – saying the linebacker is still going through a series of tests – the coach acknowledged that the Patriots would be missing a valuable player on both defense and special teams.

“Brandon’s done a good job to give us some versatility,” Belichick said. “He’s played for us on all four downs, in the kicking game and some inside linebacker and outside linebacker. So, he’s an experienced player that in our situation will be hard to replace.”

Special teams coach Cam Achord quantified Copeland’s loss in that area of the game.

“He’s been a dependable guy for us,” Achord said. “Obviously, he’s been four phases. He’s going to do the right things. He takes pride in it out there. He has a sense of assertiveness, so it goes without saying how much his weight and his productivity we counted on. Any time you lose a player of that caliber, it’s going to be tough to replace, but the next guy’s gotta step up and fill that role. And we’ll work to find out who that’s going to be.”

SINCE JOINING the Patriots coaching staff in 1991, running backs coach Ivan Fears has seen his share of players go on to become coaches – including two with the Pats now in Jerod Mayo and Troy Brown – and he thinks there are two players on the roster now who have coaching in their future – James White and Rex Burkhead.


Fears said he could one day see White as the head coach at Wisconsin, his alma mater.

“I think those guys – they enjoy what they do,” Fears said. “They’re really smart. They’re really good with people. I think they’re good with the press. I could see those guys, if they want to, taking that course. And Rex is really into training – personal training type things – no doubt I could see him, both of those guys being successful at it.”

AS THE PATRIOTS’ kick returner and a core special teamer, Gunner Olszewski has at time played with a reckless abandon, which is certainly appreciated by his coaches.

“I love his aggressive mentality that he brings to the game,” Achord said. “He plays hard. I think for him, that’s the only way he knows how to play. You know what you’re going to get every time he steps on the field. It’s a credit to him. He’s an aggressive mentality guy, and he’s going to give everything he’s got. So I do appreciate that.

“For sure he’s a hard worker. He’s working at his craft. He’s continuing to get better. You can’t take that away from a guy. You take that away, and maybe he’s not the same player, maybe he is. I think each player is different. I think that’s something he definitely brings to the table, his aggressive mentality. For me, that’s something I definitely appreciate.”

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