|09.27.10 at 11:40 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show on Monday, a day after a stellar performance against the Bills in which he completed 21-of-27 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns to lead his team to a 38-30 victory. While most of the football world found the game to be too close, Brady agreed with the common philosophy of a win being a win regardless of the score or opponent.
Following is a transcript of the interview, in which Brady also discusses the defensive struggles, replacing Kevin Faulk, the home crowd, and more. To listen to the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Is a win just a win, even though the fan base doesn’t always agree?
We knew what we were preparing for. When you look on the other side of the ball, you realize the kind of talented players the other team has. Anybody can make those plays to win games on a weekly basis. As you watch yesterday, and the Cowboys are 0-2 and Houston’s 2-0, and that game’s not very close [a Dallas win]. You really never know, you really never know.
I don’t think you go into any of these games thinking, “Oh, man, this is going to be a breeze.” I think there’s things that you say, “OK, well, there’s maybe a little margin for error when you play certain teams.” But, at the same time, if you don’t play well, you’re going to lose the game. It doesn’t matter who’s guarding you, if you drop back and you can’t hit a pass. It could be Deion Sanders out there covering him, or it could be John Dennis out there covering, it’s not going to matter.
At some point, you’ve got to go out there and make the plays that need to be made. At times we did that yesterday, and with our offense I think there were times where we didn’t really do that. I think that was evidenced by just the ups and downs a little bit about what we were doing.
How much influence does the game from the week before have on preparing for the next opponent?
I said yesterday after the game, these games end, and then really you just watch the film and then you move on. I’m telling you, you can’t sit here and think, “Man, I wish we won by two touchdowns last week.” It just doesn’t matter. The reality is, now the clock’s starting on Miami. All the preparation that we put into Buffalo, and their schemes, certainly is good because you’ve got another three days of practice as well as another 60 plays of experience for players who need some experience.
|09.27.10 at 9:06 am ET|
Esiason said that despite Sunday’s win over the Bills, the Patriots clearly have issues that need to be addressed. “They have major problems on defense,” Esiason said, focusing on the lack of a pass rush. “It is alarming. I think Bill Belichick realizes that.”
Esiason said this puts additional pressure on Tom Brady to outscore the other team. “He’s going to have to put up 35 points a week to win, because this defense has been so soft,” Esiason said, adding: “If he has an off game, like he did in the second half last week [against the Jets], they’re going to lose. And they’re going to lose because that defense is not going to stop anybody. … He doesn’t have that kind of support around him [like teams with solid defenses]. Without that kind of support, he’s going to have to be on every single game.”
Esiason said Belichick might not talk about it with the media, but he’s clearly aware of the seriousness of the situation. Said Esiason: “The big problem here is going to be defense moving forward. I think Belichick knows this. His Super Bowl titles, whether with the Giants when he was the defensive coordinator or with the Patriots, defense was always the signature of his team, and right now you can’t say that.”
Esiason agreed with the assessment that the Patriots will start relying more on their tight ends with running back Kevin Faulk out for the season. “You’re already starting to see it,” he said. “This [Aaron] Hernandez kid is pretty special.”
Looking around the division, Esiason was impressed with the Jets following Sunday night’s win over Miami. “To me, the Jets clearly are the best 2-1 team in this division and look like they’re getting ready to take off a nice little run here,” Esiason said, crediting the team’s quarterback as key. “Mark Sanchez last night, I’m like, ‘OK, this is the kid that they traded up to get.’ He is so far away within the last two weeks from where he was Week 1 against the Ravens game, it’s mind-numbing how good he has gotten.”
As for the Jets’ off-field antics, Esiason called the team’s behavior “juvenile” and “frat house-like,” and he assigned some blame to coach Rex Ryan for setting a bad example. Said Esiason: “This has gotten out of hand.”
|09.27.10 at 7:56 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show on Monday to talk about Sunday’s win over the Bills. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. Check this blog later in the morning for a transcript.
Brady said despite public sentiment that the game was closer than it should have been, he doesn’t have time for that talk, as the team needs to move on to focus on next week’s game against the Dolphins. “These games end, and then really you just watch the film and then you move on,” he said. “I’m telling you, you can’t sit here and think, ‘Man, I wish we won by two touchdowns last week.’ It just doesn’t matter. The reality is, now the clock’s starting on Miami.”
While the Patriots surrendered 30 points to the Bills, Brady said the defense will be OK as it gets more experience. “The thing out the defense is they’ve got a lot of talented players,” he said. “They’re all first- and second-round picks over there. ‘¦ I’ve got a lot of confidence in those guys.” Added Brady: The defense is opportunistic. They made a couple of big plays at the end which we really needed.”
Brady said it will be a team effort to soften the blow of Kevin Faulk‘s season-ending injury, as no one player can duplicate what Faulk did for the Patriots. “Nobody replaces Kevin Faulk,” Brady said. “Kevin’s one of the best players to put on a uniform for our team.”
Brady raved about new running back Danny Woodhead for picking up the offense quickly and making a couple of big plays, including a 22-yard touchdown in the second quarter and a key 15-yard pickup later in the fourth quarter. “He did a hell of job coming in there, and to make those players that he did, those were huge plays in the game,” Brady said.
Brady was asked about the Gillette Stadium crowd, following his comments two weeks ago about the lack of passion in the stands. “I certainly wasn’t trying to call people out. I guess I just made kind of an offhanded comment based on the first game,” Brady said. “I tell you what, yesterday it was awesome. It really was.”
|09.26.10 at 7:49 pm ET|
Just how much?
Well, you could make the argument that if the Patriots don’t stop making teams like the Jets and Bills look like the Colts every week, they’re going to fall far short of their playoff/Super Bowl expectations this season.
As one of two captains – Vince Wilfork being the other – on defense, Mayo knows that full well.
Sunday was not one of New England’s finest moments on the defensive side of the ball.
“I think we came up with some big plays but at the end of the day, we gave up too many yards, we gave up too many points at the end of day but we still got the win so it’s something to build off,” Mayo said.
If that hardly sounds like an overwhelming endorsement, there’s good reason. Mayo and everyone else on defense knows Bill Belichick and company will have plenty to review on Monday.
The Patriots gave up 374 yards, allowed Buffalo to convert 5-of-10 on third down and gave up 5.6 yards per carry to the combination of Marshawn Lynch and C.J. Spiller. The Bills turned over their offense to Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Harvard product – while tossing two very costly interceptions – still managed to keep his team in the game, completing 20-for-24 for 247 yards.
‘Fitz did a good job moving the ball,” Bills receiver Roscoe Parrish said. “When you score 30 points you expect a victory but it didn’t go that way for us today. We have to watch film. Our coach mentioned in his speech that everyone has to do a good job. Not just one unit. That is something we have to do so we can find a way to win.’
If Tom Brady didn’t have an obscenely good rating of 142.6, it probably would’ve been good enough for the huge upset.
“You never want to give up points,” Mayo said. “Giving up points like that to any team is very alarming. We weren’t really expecting some of the things they showed today but we got the job done.” Read the rest of this entry »
|09.26.10 at 7:39 pm ET|
FOXBORO– The biggest question around Foxboro this past week was, “Who would step up and be the reliable receiver for Tom Brady now that Kevin Faulk is out for the year?” On Sunday, rookies Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski answered that question.
Hernandez has emerged in this young season as one of those guys Tom Brady can count on. Following the win against the Bills, Hernandez talked about the importance of filling Faulk’s role.
“He’s definitely a great player and a tough player to lose,” said Hernandez. “Losing a player like that, everyone has to step up. Everyone tried to step up and do their job. Today we worked well as a team.”
Hernandez finished Sunday’s games with a six catch, 65 yard performance. Tom Brady targeted the young tight end seven times– more than any other receiver on the field. This was also the second straight week the rookie from Florida has led his team in receiving yards. Last week against the Jets, Hernandez caught six passes for over 100 yards. He’s becoming one of No.12′s favorite targets and is soaking in every moment with his veteran quarterback.
“He just has this good composure and keeps everything calm and doesn’t let people panic,” said Hernandez about Brady. “Everyone follows his role. When he’s calm, everyone else is calm.”
After the game, Brady expressed his delight with his tight end crew.
“They did great. I think that’s been a big point of emphasis for us this year is getting those guys involved in the passing game, the running game,” said Brady. “Those guys really allow us to do certain things on our offense that not a lot of teams in the league are fortunate to be able to do.”
Rob Gronkowski also contributed Sunday and helped compensate for the loss of Kevin Faulk. This rookie tight end caught his second touch down pass of the season late in the third quarter. “The Gronk” talked about the fact that both he and Hernandez have made major contributions to the team this season,
“We’re just going out there to fill our role to do what the coaches have us out there to do when they put us in,” said Gronkowski. “We’re going out there to go execute what we have to do. And we just play hard every play. We’re all supporting each other as a tight end group. We’re all satisfied with the outcome today.”
|09.26.10 at 7:16 pm ET|
FOXBORO– Who said reality TV stars don’t have a shelf life?
It’s almost too easy to look at Danny Woodhead and see the guy cast as the scrappy undersized long shot in “Hard Knocks.” The temptation is to celebrate the fact that he’s “made it” simply by stepping on an NFL field. Don’t worry if the world of 6’5 and 280 is above your pay grade, you want to say to him. Just be happy to be in the same locker room as Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Wes Welker.
But Danny Woodhead, of course, isn’t a Disney movie or some idealized version of The Great American Dream. And he doesn’t want to be one. He’s a football player. He was exactly that at Division II Chadron State and with the Jets last year and all through the HBO filmed training camp this summer.
And now he’s one in New England.
“I just want to make plays and help this team win,” Woodhead said after the Patriots’ 38-30 survival over the Bills. “I don’t worry about what it took to get here or any of that stuff. I just do whatever they ask me to.”
Signed by the Pats just eight days ago — just four days after being waived by the Jets — Woodhead went from “Oh, they signed the guy Rex liked on the show” to “Think he can help?” after the season-ending injury to Kevin Faulk in the fourth quarter of the Jets loss.
And while he’s not Kevin Faulk — Belichick admitted last week that no one is going to replace him — Woodhead looked an awful lot like No. 33 with a 22-yard TD run in the second quarter, his first career score.
The 5’9 back lined up to the right of Tom Brady in a shotgun formation on his TD rush, taking the handoff and (very patiently) almost using his lack to height to hide behind his lineman before cutting back to the left side before outrunning the Buffalo secondary to the end zone to give the Pats a 14-13 lead with 3:03 left in the half.
“The lineman made great blocks,” said Woodhead of the TD, which also included some nice blocking from Wes Welker. “I did the easy part, which is just run it. The lineman did great and the receivers and tight ends, I mean, you can’t ask for better blocking as a running back. All I did was try to do my job.”
Those quotes represent the height of controversy from Woodhead in his 11:37 meeting with the media after the game. Nothing but a buffet serving “here to win,” “whatever it takes” and “a great bunch of guys.” He was as modest as you kind of hope Danny Woodhead would be, telling reporters “he didn’t think” of asking to keep the football he scored the TD with as a souviner, rather he “was was more excited about just trying to help this team out.”
(Minor aside: No doubt Woodhead got the memo from Belichick on how to deal with the media. He was asked where he watched last week’s Pats-Jets game, not an unfair query when you consider his recent history. Woodhead hemmed and hawed for a beat or three before going with the “At a hotel? No –I don’t remember” angle. Tough sell, when you consider this was the team he used to play for vs. the team that signed him the day before. And it’s not like this is 1963, the game a week ago. Not his fault, though, he’s just following orders. Just strange. How could it possibly matter where Woodhead was on Sunday?)
Although Woodhead wasn’t going to praise his own work on Sunday, his teammates were quick to recognize his contributions.
“He did great,” said Tom Brady, who has now won 22 straight regular-season home games. “What an impressive performance for a guy who’s been here for, what. 10 minutes? He did a great job.’
Randy Moss was back to the “three and out” Q&A after the game, but he found time to call out the performance of Woodhead, who finished with three carries for 42 yards.
“Bringing Woody in ‘¦ I like Woody,” said Moss, who has combined with Woodhead to score 152 career TDs. “He’s a little stub guy. A little short. He runs hard and has some nice cuts. I’m not disrespecting him, and I know it’s hard to replace Kevin Faulk, but hopefully he can come in and be Woodhead and not try and be Kevin. I think we like the things we saw out there.”
Woodhead allowed that playing with Brady was something that he “never thought would happen,” but that was as close as it got when it came to enjoying the moment.
His focus is on doing what he can to help this team, whether it be on special teams, catching passes or moving the chains as a runner. There’s a void in the “intangibles” role in the backfield, and maybe it’ll take another 5-foot-8 runner/receiver/whatever you need guy to at least take on some of that responsibility.
“It was good to help the team out,” Woodhead said. “I’m not concerned with my touchdown or anything. I’m more concerned with getting a victory.”
Spoken like someone with a shot at a shelf life.
|09.26.10 at 6:39 pm ET|
Here’s the complete transcript of the Q&A between Randy Moss and the media from earlier today:
Q: Offensively, you guys had some breakdowns in the first few weeks during the second halves of games. This week you put 21 points on the board. What was the difference this week?
RM: Just determination and will and wanting to, that’s all. I think I said last week that I couldn’t wait for this week to get here because I knew what type of preparation we needed to have to be able to play a divisional game, but I also knew Coach Belichick was going to work us pretty hard this week. Really, the second half, really playing four quarters and coming in after making your halftime adjustments, is just will and determination and just going out there and wanting to do it. They called the plays and we have to go out there and execute it as players. I think in the past, we’ve stubbed our toe, but today was just good from all angles. We were able to put some points on the board in the second half, so hopefully we can build off that.
Q: Why did you decide to wear Kevin Faulk‘s number 33 practice jersey at practice on Friday and how would you describe the way the Patriots overcame the big loss of him?
RM: Kevin and I have followed each other since 1995 and I was asked a couple questions about his jersey, and I didn’t really want to go into that. Me and Kevin have a long history, before I even became a Patriot. What he’s accomplished here as a Patriot speaks high, high volumes, but being able to lose him for the year is very disappointing. I don’t really have an answer or an explanation for wearing his jersey. That’s my boy and I just wanted to put his jersey on just to represent him. There wasn’t anything behind it, really.
Q: What concerns did you have about third down without Kevin Faulk? In the groupings you guys threw at the Bills today, not having him seemed to make you guys even more unpredictable on third down.
RM: Anytime you lose a player like Kevin Faulk, you have to go back to the drawing board. I’m not saying that because he’s a teammate of mine. Game recognizes game. I know he’s a hell of a ball player. With bringing in Woody [Danny Woodhead]‘¦I like Woody. He’s a little stub guy, a little short [guy]. He runs hard and has some nice cuts. I’m not disrespecting him, and I know it’s hard to replace Kevin Faulk, but hopefully he can come in and be Woodhead and not try to be Kevin. I think we liked the things we saw out there, not just from him ‘ from an offensive perspective. We win as a team; we lose as a team. You always can hold your head up high when you win and lower it when you lose. We’ll just go back to the drawing board and hopefully we have a game plan for the Miami Dolphins.
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