|Tom Brady Q&A, 8/11||08.11.09 at 6:09 pm ET|
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the complete Q&A from Tom Brady’s session with the media today at Gillette Stadium:
TB: I’m nice and refreshed today for you. No morning practice.
Q: So are you ready to go on Thursday night?
TB: Yeah, I’m ready. I think everybody is ready. We’ve had a good camp. I think guys have really been working hard and trying to do what Coach Belichick has asked so it will be nice for us to get out there and play the Eagles. They really gave it to us last year so hopefully we will perform better.
Q: Is Bill Belichick ready for you to play Thursday night?
TB: I hope so. You know, we haven’t talked about it, but he told the guys that everybody needs to be ready to play. I’m expecting to play; there’s no reason why I wouldn’t. I mean, I’ve been out here and doing everything and it will be nice to get out there and play some football.
Q: Coming off of a year without playing, are you looking for anything different than usual out of this preseason game?
TB: I think it’s the same for everybody. We’re trying to … There’re a lot of things you can simulate in practice, but in the games they’re just, they’re very different. The way it takes place in a game often is … When there’s a threat of a run, when you’re not tackling out here, it becomes different than the play-action passes. We certainly have a very diverse game plan and hopefully we can go out and execute well. I expect us all to go out and play as hard as we can.
Q: How is the arm feeling compared to the start of camp?
TB: It’s feeling good. It’s feeling good. We’ve been out here practicing every day so I’m sure there’s a lot of soreness from everybody at different parts of their bodies. But I’m feeling really good and positive about where our offense is at. We had some good situational work this morning, but it takes a lot for offensive football to be successful. It needs 11 guys really to be on the same page and that’s what we’re going to try to accomplish.
Q: How are the receivers looking?
TB: They’re doing really well. Those guys have all been participating as well. Wes [Welker] and Randy [Moss], they’re as good as they have always been. They bring so much energy to this offense and they’ve been performing really well. And Greg [Lewis] and Joey [Galloway], as really the newcomers, have picked things up. We demand a lot out of the receiver position, not just where to line up, but how to read coverages and adjust your route based on the coverage so they’ve been really doing a great job of that also.
Q: Are you nervous to get out there and see how you react to your first hit and your first live action in a while?
TB: Well, I’m really not. You know, I’m more excited than anything. There’s nothing to be nervous about for me and I’m just excited. I’m excited to see how our team performs. That’s what I’m most excited about, to see what the 2009 version of the Patriots can be like. We’ve had quite a bit of changes and guys coming off injuries and guys who are new to the team, and it’s really our first test to see what this team is going to be about.
Q: Is getting back to game speed the most important thing about the first preseason game?
TB: No, I think the important thing is to go out and play hard and execute the game plan and whatever the coach calls, you’ve got to be ready to do it. You mix and match quite a bit in the preseason so you know you want to see what different types of formations you put in or personnel groupings and see how it works. It’s our dress rehearsal. We’ve got to go out there. We have four of them and each is important. The first one is probably the most exciting for the players because we’re all getting out there for the first time in a long time. So, like I said, hopefully, it’s better than what we put forth [last year]. Coach showed us the tape, as he always finds way to motivate us, but the first half of last season’s game, when we were down 31-3 at halftime [versus the Miami Dolphins], that was enough motivation for all of us.
Q: Are you going to have any butterflies since you haven’t played for so long?
TB: Sure, I’m sure there will be. Like I said, I’m sure it will be exciting. I’ve played a lot of football in my life. So you know there have been a lot of football games and I think I know how to handle my emotions. I think I’m very excitable anyway, but it will be nice to get out there and play. Butterflies, maybe I have a little of those before every game I’ve ever played just because you don’t know what the outcome is going to be. When you’re unsure of the outcome, I think that does present a little bit of anxiousness, but you get over that once you get out there.
Q: How much do you want to play?
TB: As much as the coach asks me to play. It’s a game and everyone loves playing in the game so I’d love to play as much as he wants to keep me in there. I’ll be ready to go.
Q: What do you think – one or two sets of downs at the most?
TB: I don’t know. It’s been a different training camp this year so I don’t know what he’s got in store. From his tone and the message he’s been sending to the team, it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be a first preseason game for us. I think he wants to see what we’re all about. So I don’t think it’s like a guest appearance or anything like that. I think we’re going out there to play.
Q: Not like your guest appearance on “Entourage”?
TB: No, that was a starring role. What are you talking about? I was on the whole show.
Q: Does Gisele actually cook?
TB: Does she cook? Of course, she cooks.
Q: Were you upset about that golf club getting broken?
TB: It wasn’t my club. I would have been angry. [Wes] Welker was mad that, ‘Why didn’t you? You had no reaction to that. I would have gone out and thrown a golf ball at him or something.’ So I said, ‘When you’re on the show, you can do that. OK, Wes?’
Q: Are you proud of your performance?
TB: It was fun. It was fun. It’s a bunch of New York guys and it’s based on Mark Wahlberg, but they’re all New Yorkers and it was fun to be around those guys. You know, I think I turned them into Patriot fans.
Q: With your spread in Details, are you competing with Gisele?
TB: No, no, no. I try to do that once a year. She doesn’t give me many pointers or anything like that. So they take a lot of pictures, believe me, and find a couple they’ll put in a magazine.
Q: Don’t you leave yourself open to a lot of abuse by your teammates with that stuff?
TB: I’ve been doing that for a long time. For ten years I’ve been leaving myself open so I’ve heard just about everything. Those guys are the biggest beneficiaries of everything, too. So they get their Smartwater delivered to their house, and their cologne, and their watches, and the cars. When something goes well for me, it goes well for them, too.
Q: Do you think your performance was better than Bill Belichick’s in “Rescue Me”?
TB: You know, I didn’t see his. I didn’t see his. I have all the “Rescue Me” DVDs at the house though because everyone loves the show. So whenever I get some downtime, I’m going to see what his performance was like. He’d be a good actor. He’s up in front of us every day, in front of 90 guys cracking jokes, so I’m sure he did a great job.
Q: You say it’s been a different kind of training camp this year. What do you mean by that?
TB: Just the amount of practices we’ve had and it’s really been an up-tempo camp. There’s been no downtime. We meet three times a day. We practice twice a day. We have night meetings. We’ve had one day off in about two and a half weeks. Before, the schedule has been different and you’ve had a chance to catch your breath a little bit — not this year. We just keep getting after it. There have been padded practices almost every day and I think the guys have responded to the challenge and we’ve come out and we’ve played well. I think Coach Belichick is happy with where we’re at. He doesn’t get on us too bad right now, which I guess means we’re doing something right.
Q: Are you at all nervous about the first hit you take to your knee?
TB: No, I’m not. I’m really not nervous about any of that. I mean, if someone hits me in the exact same spot, I mean, the exact same thing is probably going to happen. And hopefully I’ll have to answer all of the exact same questions. You know, it’s part of football and you line up and you play and it’s a physical sport. I’ve been playing for a long time and nothing like that has ever happened so I’ve just put it past me, I really have. I’ve tried to really make a concerted effort to move forward with everything about last season and learn from the experiences and use them in positive ways. If you get injured, you rehab and you do your best to get back on the field and support the team as best you can. When you’re in the role of playing—like hopefully I’ll be this entire season — I have a different role and I’m going to do that as best I can also.
Q: Were you happy to see that the hit you took last year would now be illegal under the new “Brady Rule”?
TB: I mean, the league has always been really concerned with quarterback safety because we’re unprotected in the pocket. You’re standing there looking down the field and you can’t ever lower your shoulder, protect the ball or fall on the ground. You’ve got to stand in the pocket and make the throw. So I think when you are unprotected, the league understands that the quarterbacks are very vulnerable and you need to make rules that are conducive to protecting them, just like all the other players have rules that protect them. I certainly didn’t think whatever happened last year was a cheap shot. It’s just part of the game and it was unfortunate. But that’s what happens when you play football. That’s the dangerous part of the sport.
Q: There have been a couple times when you’ve worked separately from the group with Randy Moss and Joey Galloway in the red zone. What has that been like and are you maybe still building that rapport?
TB: A lot of it is really situational stuff. You don’t get all the reps in practice that you probably need for the game. So in between sections, we come over and do some really specific work because I don’t want to run those guys too far down the field. We go to about the 10-yard line because they’ve been working hard. Those are critical plays. I mean, the red area of football is critical to wining football games. The difference between seven points and three point is – over the course of a football season – is probably four or five different games. So, if you can be good in the red area, you’re going to have a pretty good football team on both sides of the ball. We work really hard in the red area to make sure we are getting in when we are down there.
Q: How have you been affected by having a new coach here that’s not Josh McDaniels or Charlie Weis?
TB: It’s an adjustment every year. I mean, change is just part of the NFL and there are new coaches every year and there are new players. Billy [O’Brien] has done a great job with the offense and really understanding his role. He’s been a great quarterback coach and it’s been fun to be with him. We’ll just see how it comes up, how things adjust, and all the guys we have a lot of confidence in.
Q: Eunice Kennedy Shriver passed away this morning. I know you were both heavily involved in the Best Buddies program. Can you comment on that?
TB: Sure. I saw Mrs. Shriver when I did the Best Buddies event about two months ago and she was always in great spirits. I think she set a great example for everybody around the world — and certainly her family and Anthony [Shriver], who started Best Buddies — that one of the great pleasures of life is helping other people in their lives. Eunice, she really embodied that with her starting of the Special Olympics and she was a great woman who raised really a great family.
Q: Do you expect to stay involved in those kinds of programs?
TB: I sure do. I sure do. I love Best Buddies and have supported Best Buddies. My teammates have supported it. That’s a great part about being in Massachusetts and it’s one of the wonderful experiences I’ve had. I first participated about nine years ago and then got much more heavily involved about three years ago.
Q: Can you talk about Greg Lewis a little bit?
TB: I really love being around Greg [Lewis]. He’s got a great sense of humor and he works very hard. He’s been out here every day also, and there’re never any complaints. When he’s out there, he wants to do the best job he can do and he’s very competitive. I think he adds a different element to the offense than Randy [Moss] or Wes [Welker]. He’s got very good all-around skills. He’s very smart. He’s going to be a real good football player for us.
Q: Did you feel comfortable not playing in the preseason last year?
TB: Like I said, there were some circumstances last year that prevented me from playing and those come up and you’ve just got to deal with them. I wish I would have been able to play last preseason. I think it’s an important part for all of us as football players to be out there to understand the things that just don’t come up in practice. This is where you really see what your team is made of. I think it’s important for everybody to be out there if they can to participate and try to make improvements when you’re out there because you do make a lot of improvements when you’re out there as a team. This game is important — they’re all important — but the first preseason one will, hopefully, lead us to some better practices and a better understanding of what each of us can do whenever we’re out there.
Q: In the past you’ve taken days off and joked about getting older, watching your pitch count and wanting to rest your arm. This camp you’ve been out for every practice. Is there a message behind that and are you making that call?
TB: I’m reversing the trend. I’m getting younger now; 32, then I start going the other way. I just feel great. I really do and I want to be out here playing and I want t be out here with my teammates. It’s no fun being inside all day. I’d rather be out here practicing and getting better so that’s a decision that Coach made and that’s a decision that we as players, we just go with it.
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