Brady on D&C, 9/15
|09.15.09 at 1:44 pm ET|
Tom Brady appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning and recapped his dramatic, game-winning performance Monday night against the Bills. A transcript follows. To listen to the complete interview, click here.
A lot of us were doubting that you were gonna win the football game, down 11 points when you got the ball back with five minutes to go. You told your teammates in the huddle that “We’re gonna win this football game, we’re gonna get a couple of touchdowns.” What led you to believe that?
Well, you know, when you look in that huddle and you see all those guys and you understand the situational football we’ve worked on for the entire offseason and training camp, you know there is a lot of confidence. What you gotta do is you gotta execute, and I think those last two drives we were finally executing the way we all thought we were capable. When you do that, you’re able to move the ball and get the ball in the end zone. We didn’t do a very good job of that for the first three-and-a-half quarters but we did enough when we needed it. I don’t think any of us are thrilled to play the way we played, but we’ll take the win and we’ll learn from it and move on.
Ben Watson has 144 catches in his six-year career, is it safe to say that was his best one yet? The last one, last night?
That was unbelievable, I threw that ball hard. I threw it a little bit behind him, the defender was in front of him, we call that a back shoulder throw. He’s so athletic, he was able to jump, rotate his body, catch the ball, secure the catch and get his feet down, while he was getting hit. It was an incredible play, we needed it at that time. We struggled in the red area earlier in the game. Ben ran a great route on the first touchdown to get open and then on the second one he ran a great route but really made a great catch.
Why did it take so long to go down the field?
Well, sometime the style of the game dictates what you do. We were behind most of the game. We felt like we were moving the ball well, but we didn’t produce when we needed to. The real critical situations — a couple of fourth downs, a couple of very critical third downs we missed even though we were decent on third downs for the night — the ones from early in the game that we really needed we didn’t execute very well. That’s all stuff we’re learning from. We’re going to watch the film and evaluate the things we need to do better. Obviously, the way we played last night is not gonna be good enough, but was good enough last night.
What were you seeing last night? A lot of us were surprised that you were looking for Ben Watson.
I’ve played with Ben for five years. We have a lot of chemistry between the two of us. I’ve thrown a lot of footballs to him over the years. I have a lot of trust that he knows what to do, he knows how to do it, he knows how to get open, knows how to catch it, and knows how to run with it. I’ve never lost confidence in Ben, he’s been great for us since the day he got here. We all have to step our game up, and he’s gonna be a big part of this offense, we’re all gonna rely heavily on him especially when Wes [Welker] and Joey [Galloway] are gonna get a lot of coverage.
Did you feel the jitters because it was your long-awaited return?
I felt pretty good. You never know how you’re gonna feel. I’ve always felt anxious before every game I’ve played in. I hate the feeling, I’m glad it goes away once the ball is kicked off. I felt good, I felt excited, I think the team was prepared, but it’s an execution game. It really is. When you play a team like the Bills, who make you earn everything you get, you gotta go out and execute well, if you don’t, it’s gonna look like last night. They gave us everything we could handle. We have a lot of respect for the Bills, they play very hard, they’re tough, they have a good scheme. We gotta make some improvements. It’s challenging, we’re on a short week now, we’re already behind the Jets. We need to have two good days of practice and try to catch up to those guys.
Was it just a matter of shaking off the rust in the second half?
We just weren’t making the critical plays. That’s what it comes down to, those scoring plays. We had a couple of fourth downs where we were right on the fringe, just not quite in field goal range. We went for it and didn’t make them. Those end up being big swings in the game. There was one were we took the ball from inside our 20 down to their 30 and we had nothing to show for it. You can move it 60 yards, run time off the clock and have nothing to show for it. It’s those situational plays that we’ve been pretty good at over the years that last night just weren’t hooking up. It’s early in the year, I’m glad we won but we all realize we have a lot of work ahead.
Does your chemistry with the skill positions need more time to develop?
We’ve had eight months off since the last regular-season game. The reality is you’re not gonna play like you play in November or December after you’ve gone through 80 practices and played 12 regular-season games. There are plenty of things we need to correct and some things we did good. The less mistakes you make, the greater chance you have to win. When we make unforced errors, we put ourselves in the position we were in late in the game. But we found a way to dig deep when we needed to and make the plays we needed to, when we needed to. We’re all proud of the way we performed in the end, but there will be a lot of us, starting with me, who wish we had made things easier for us in the earlier part of the game.
What happened on the Aaron Schobel interception?
I just made a terrible play and a terrible judgment. I was trying to get the ball to Sammy [Morris], but you can’t throw it through a guy. He made a nice catch and a nice run, he’s a really good player. In the end, I’m the one responsible for the football. I was being careless. Hopefully it doesn’t happen again.
What went wrong on the first quick screen to Welker?
It’s just a miscommunication. He’s thinking one thing, I’m thinking another and we’re not on the same page, it looks like that. You go, “What are they doing?” Those plays in the red area kill you. When you don’t advance in the red area or stay on track, those long-yardage plays in the red area become too tough to overcome. It’s just a bad play and we gotta learn from that. If there’s one thing in the red area, it’s that you gotta move forward. And that’s when you’re very efficient. Any negative play in the red area usually kills the drive. Any no-gain is tough to overcome. Had we made the play, who knows what could have happened. I’d like to think we would have had a better chance than we did.
Do you think you need to have a well-developed running game to win?
Every game dictates something different, so we’re gonna do what we need to do. We have some great running backs on our team who are gonna have some great games for us. The thing about passing is that you need all 11 guys to make the play work. On the running game, it’s point-of-attack blocking and how well the running back hits the hole. I think the execution of it is if you can get the running game going it’s harder on the defense because then you’re just handing the ball off to the back and he’s running as far as he can. We’re gonna need to get the run game going. We had some great runs last night, but the game dictated more passing, but we’ll try to be more balanced this week.
What made you guys run less in the second half?
We were throwing the ball efficiently and moving the ball up and down the field, we just didn’t get in the end zone. The running game is critical because it takes pressure off the passing game. Pass-blocking Aaron Schobel for over 50 plays a game is not easy to do, he’s gonna make his plays. When you have a high-effort defensive line, like Buffalo, you have to keep them off-balance. We, as an offense, are trying to go out there and throw it as many times, but we’re behind late in the game 11 points, you have to throw the ball on every play. That skews things also. Those days where you throw the ball 30 times are enjoyable because you’re throwing on your terms. I think last night we were throwing it on their terms. It’s a tough way to win the game, but we found a way to do it.
What did they do defensively to surprise you?
Every team has wrinkles. They played a coverage they hadn’t played in years. Once we saw it, we adjusted to it, but it’s the first couple of games. That’s the challenging part of early in the season. Nobody has seen us, and we haven’t seen our opponent. I love playing late in the year when you’ve seen eight games of work and situations that you really know and have a good feel for how the defense will play. Early in the year you’re preparing for what you’ve seen on film and expecting other things as well. Every team has wrinkles, the Jets will have plenty of wrinkles for us, we’re gonna have some different things, that’s just how it is early in the year.
What does Joey Galloway need to do to adjust to this offense?
Joey’s a very hard worker and he’s really a professional. He wanted to contribute more last night, I could tell by the look on his face, and he will. He’ll play a key role in this offense. Wes had a big game, Randy [Moss] had a big game, and Kevin Faulk did and Ben did. Those are all guys who have been here for a significant period of time. It’s all about integrating guys into the team and the offense. We just didn’t get him the ball last night. I wish I did. I’m sure it’s not that he’s not open, sometime the coverage dictates you go the other way.
Do you feel like it’s your fault for Wilfork’s questionable penalty?
[laughs] Vince comes in every play and he’s all heart. He plays so hard. He’s trying to make a big play down there with them backed up. The refs are quick to throw flags on the d-linemen when they get low on the quarterbacks. The refs are doing what they need to do. There were a couple last night that I know the fans weren’t happy about, but we’ve been on the other side of that where they’ve protected me, too. It’s always a fine line.
Did you see Adalius Thomas’ roughing the passer? What did you think?
It’s a situation like the Super Bowl, two years ago, where we had Eli Manning like that. He gets out of something like that. I think you assure the tackle and do what you have to do to get the guy to the ground. That’s the goal. I think Adalius is playing hard, doing what he needs to do. He’s not a dirty player, he wanted to get the guy down. The ref saw it differently. Hopefully that doesn’t take away our aggressiveness.
As QB, what are you told about plays like that?
Well, I’ve never talked to a ref much about that. I’m not usually in a situation where I’m up trying to break tackles because the reality is I’ve never broken a tackle in my life and I’m not gonna start now. So when they get around me I feel like they got me, they got me. You just protect the ball and move on to the next play. I have been in that situation very often.
Wasn’t that Urlacher you faked out of his jock?
Yeah, but he didn’t get his hands on me. I had the ball and kind of pump-faked him. But he was lining me up, I could see it in his eyes.
Were you afraid to step into throws because of your knee?
I didn’t feel that. I think some of it, early in the year, is getting used to the pass rush. I think it’s always been like that for me. Sometimes you use bad technique. It’s just a learning process out there. Every week as the regular season goes, you get more comfortable. I’m sure next week I’ll be more comfortable than I was last week. I’ll look at the film at the ones where I didn’t step into the throw, or my arm angle was low, or I didn’t throw over the top or had a long stride. Those are the things I need to correct. You need to be accurate when you’re passing the football, especially in our offense. I’ll try to make those improvements and be better next week.
What do you expect to see out of the Jets defense?
The Jets have the Ravens defense of the last few years. They move around a lot. I saw what they did to the Texans, I watched a lot of that game. They are an attacking style of defense. They really put pressure on you in a lot of ways. They overload blitz on one side, they overload blitz on the other, they blitz up the middle, they blitz and then they drop the defensive line out. They play all types of coverages and they are a great game-plan team. It’s gonna be a challenge for us like it is every time we play the Jets, especially playing at the Meadowlands. It’s a great rivalry for that reason. They really played well last week and it’s gonna be their home opener. We’ve got our work cut out for us. We’re preparing on a short week, it was an emotional game. I think everyone is a little tired today but we have to regroup since it’s early in the year. These Monday night games don’t come up too often, so these short weeks you really gotta bear down and do whatever you gotta do to get ready.
Did you think Suzy Kolber had that kind of speed?
She wasn’t letting me go! She was more tenacious than Schobel out there. She’s a great reporter and ESPN always does a great job of covering the games.
Do you guys like wearing throwback jerseys?
We do, we like it. It’s always fun to do something different out there. Wearing the black shoes or the old helmets, it’s fun for the players. I grew up watching the Patriots with those helmets, I remember the Super Bowl with Andre [Tippett] against the Bears with those old helmets. It’s pretty cool when you see them hanging there in the locker room. And on the field you see all the great Patriots players from the last 50 years during halftime. Along with a bunch of teammates like Troy [Brown], Rodney [Harrison] and Tedy [Bruschi], it was really great.
Most of the anniversary team is comprised of players from the last three years.
[laughs] There are still some great players that have played and represented. Raymond Clayborn, Mosi Tatupu, I saw last night. They didn’t win the championship but they are still damn good players. In that Super Bowl against the Bears they went up against the team that was one of the greatest teams in the history of the NFL. Not many teams could have beaten the Bears in ’85.
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