Tom Brady on D&C, 12/21
|12.21.09 at 10:37 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about Sunday’s win over the Bills. A transcript follows. To hear the interview, click on the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
You’re quoting Tom Sr. [in the press conference]: “Tall trees experience high winds”?
I think a lot of times — and I used it in reference to Randy, and the criticism he faced last week. When you’re a really great player like he is, people expect a lot. It’s a real competitive game. There’s obviously weeks where you come out of the game and wish you would have played better. We all do that, every week we probably do that. Sometimes you get criticized more than others, and obviously the guys who are expected to perform the best get the most criticism. You’ve just got to be able to weather that. That’s when it gets tough, and you’ve got to have enough mental toughness and be centered and grounded enough to overcome that. And he certainly did. We as a team certainly have over periods this season. We’re just going to keep battling. We’ve had a lot of close games. Being 9-5 and watching those two teams lose yesterday — the Jets and the Dolphins — that gave us a nice lead here in the division. We obviously have a huge game this week. We’ve got to take care of business at home like we’ve been doing all year.
Why do you think people expect that from you guys.
The only people that are really going to help you win the game at the end of the day are the guys in your locker room. Anytime you go o the road, you always say this is all we’ve got and this is all we need. It’s the same thing, there’s no one that’s going to pull us out of a two-game losing streak other than the guys in the locker room. Us to have confidence in each other, to have trust in each other, that’s how you overcome those things. I’ve seen teams that throw each other under the bus. The offense blames the defense, and the defense blames the offense and the special teams, and the players blame the coaches, or the coaches blame the players — which I saw this last weekend. It’s comical because that’s not what it’s all about. You’re going to lose over the course of the season — other than the Colts this year. It’s about overcoming those, whatever adversities they may be to build trust in each other so that you can continue to grow and have trust in one other.
Everybody’s making a point about how you guys targeted [Moss] in this game. Every week I’m sure you guys are trying to figure out a way to get him the ball. Was it more this weekend?
Yeah. Obviously, Wes [Welker] is a huge part of the offense, and Randy — those two guys, you’ve got to find ways to get the ball to. You always have plays where if they’re the first read — and pretty much whatever coverage, they’re going to be the first read. A lot of times when you put a guy outside — outside on the numbers or outside the numbers — if it’s not the right coverage, it’s hard to really get them the ball. Not typically are they the first read on the play. When you always line Randy up out there — now he has an opportunity to do some things down the field, but in order to be kind of a possession receiver, you have to be able to play in the middle part of the field, between the numbers. That’s where Wes gets a lot of his catches. He doesn’t catch many balls outside the numbers. You’re not going to gain as many yards inside the numbers because there’s more bodies there. But you could be able to possess the ball more because you can run some combination routes with the tight end and the receiver or the running back and the receiver.
You remember the tight end, huh?
We’re trying, believe me. I love Ben [Watson], he’s been a huge part of this offense, Chris [Baker] has made some big catches for us this year. You’re right, we’ve got to get the ball to the [tight ends]. Hell, we were trying to get the ball to anybody yesterday. We weren’t doing a very good job with any of it. There were definitely times when I was looking at Ben, but the coverage didn’t dictate it going to him.
Don’t you risk being perceived by a defense as one-dimensional because you’re targeting those two guys [Moss and Welker] so much?
I think that’s right. The more you throw to those guys, the more the coverage goes to those guys and the harder it is to get the ball to those guys. They definitely try to find ways to cover Wes and cover Randy all the time. There’s not too many instances where the focus of the coverage is not on at least one of those two, most of the time both of them. Which means we do have to run the ball and get the ball to a third option or fourth option, whether it be Kevin [Faulk] or Sam Aiken or Julian Edelman or Baker or Ben, obviously. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’ve got to continue to find those guys. Especially as the weather gets cold, and it gets a little tougher to throw the ball, like it will be this week. You’ve got to be able to have balance in your offense or else your weapons become really ineffective. They were doing a good job on Wes yesterday. That’s why Randy had probably the most catches. Still, that third option is critical for this offense.
Does it seem like people are starting to figure it out [how to defend Welker] a little bit, even with less talent?
Every team seems like they have a little different scheme and things they need to do a little bit differently. Carolina had a few different schemes that they use. Wes made some huge plays in that game. New Orleans had a very unique scheme to try to get those two guys. I think the thing is you’ve got to identify what they’re trying to do early, and be able to make those adjustments, and you’ve got to put a lot of game-planning in during the week, say, “OK, if this is the way they’re going to play, then this is the way we need to play,” even anticipating what they’re going to do. It’s one thing to practice the things in the scouting report, but then also to try to anticipate things you maybe haven’t seen over the last four games, things that they may have that they may try to do to slow those guys down even though it’s not that big a part of the package when they play the Cleveland Browns. It’s a little bit of a chess game out there lately. We’ve got to obviously do a better job at it of scoring points.
You’re controlling the games offensively, yet you don’t have the killer instinct by your results. That’s got to be frustrating for you guys.
Yesterday we did a decent job getting in the red area when we got down there. We haven’t been a great red area team this year. That’s really held us back. Yesterday, for example, in the second half, we just couldn’t stay on the field on third down. You’re not going to be able to score points if you can’t convert third downs. That was a big third down that we converted there at the end of the game, but we had I think three three-and-outs or four three-and-outs, something like that, in the second half, which it’s not very good. We’re trying to figure out ways to run the ball when they know we’re going to run it, which is obviously the hardest time to do it. And then when it is a lot of man coverage, finding ways to get our guys open vs. man coverage. Yesterday was tough. It was tough offensively. God, I got on the bus after the game and I looked over at my receivers coach and said, “It felt like every yard we were grinding out earlier in the game.” And other games it feels like, man, you’re just throwing 30-yard completion after 30-yard completion. It gets pretty easy out there.
Boomer Esiason was talking to us earlier, he said he thought it was pretty windy in Buffalo yesterday.
It was a nice day.
Laurence Maroney seems like he’s taking coaching well, trying to do the right thing. Have you been talking with him?
The key, for a running back, just like every position, is about being decisive. You’re not going to be right all the time. But whatever decision you do make, you have to make it with confidence and explosion and with power. The same thing with throwing the ball. If you’re always kind of in between on the guy you’re going to throw to, you never get a great spiral. You never really drive the ball, and you don’t end up being as accurate. Same thing as a receiver. To make the right decision on the route, you have to be decisive: “What’s the DB doing and how am I going to set him up?”
In the running game, being a downhill runner, when you make your reads, you make your cut and go for it, and run with explosion through the hole. Laurence certainly has been doing a better job of that, as evidenced by the amount of carries he’s had and the amount of yards he’s gaining. But he’s done a good job these last few weeks, and that’s been something we’ve definitely needed. I think that’s a big part of controlling the game also.
It’s nice for the offensive line to be able to settle the game down running the ball. Because, if you pass protect 40 times against Aaron Schobel, he’s going to make his play. If you can keep him off balance, I think we only threw it 23 times yesterday, I think that’s what we’re going to have to do.
Schobel got you low at a certain point yesterday, and you went to talk to the refs. Is it like basketball, where you work the refs for a call later in the game?
You always try to develop a relationship with the refs. They’re beside the huddle all day, and you’ll communicate with them. There’s sometimes I don’t see something. There’s sometimes I’m looking for clarification on things.
What did you say to the ref?
I said, “Was he blocked in the knee?” He said, “Yeah, he was.” I can’t tell on the field. I just wanted to let him know that if he hadn’t been blocked into the knee, that should have been a penalty. But he said he was.
Miami and the Jets lost. You have a two-game lead. Nothing is assured, but how big was it to get road win?
I tell you, it’s pretty embarrassing not to have a road win into the middle of December. That’s something that I think has been really bothering all of us. A legitimate road win – not including the Tampa game over in London. It was definitely good to get that.
It’s not like we ever lose confidence. It’s just a matter of playing good. I think that’s what it comes down to.
We’re still looking to find a way to play better football for 60 minutes, which we’ve done one time this year against Tennessee, which was obviously a great game for us.
To continue to find ways to do that, ultimately, it’s about execution. When the plays are there, we’ve got to hit them. When the guys are open down the field, we’ve got to hit them. That’s what opens the game up — when you’re able to make big plays. We had some opportunities there to do that, early in the game and late in the game. We just didn’t get it done.
You’ve got two games left: at home against Jacksonville, then in our favorite place, Houston.
We had some good experiences down there.
Obviously, a lot of guys have left, and you have a young and inexperienced team. Do you have to be a more vocal leader given the changes to the roster?
You know, Junior always, before the game, has something to say. There’s probably nobody in the history of the NFL who can kind of lead a team in a pregame than Junior. You know how emotional and intense he is.
It’s pretty unbelievable, the stuff he comes up with. After the game, it’s usually not me. Maybe I was once this year. Randy was yesterday. It’s a different group. I’ve said all year: It’s hard to replace guys like Rodney Harrison. Those guys don’t just come along. Or Mike Vrabel, or Tedy [Bruschi], or Troy Brown. All these guys were incredible players and leaders and teammates. You just don’t find those guys anywhere. I think it’s unfair to put it on Jerod Mayo. … He’s in his second year. We all remember where we were in our second year. We weren’t counted on to be leaders of the team.
He’s certainly expected to play a great role as a middle linebacker, but it’s “Do your job.” My second year, I was playing quarterback. I wasn’t expected to be a leader of the team. I was expected to do my job. There’s a lot of guys who have been in and out. It’s maybe been a little bit of a different year in terms of transition of players, new guys playing and fitting into the scheme.
Now, at this point in the year, we’ve been together for 18 games including the preseason, so there’s not much of the inexperience talk that we were using in Week 2. We’ve played a lot of football at this point. The team that we have is pretty much the team you see on the field. Ultimately, we’ve got to find ways to win the game like we did yesterday. It’s great to play a great game of football, but ultimately, the winning is what’s most important.
Your last two games are against two 7-7 teams. These are like playoff games for them. Jacksonville was tough against Indy, and could be a first-round opponent. This is a playoff game for them.
It is for us, too. We can’t afford to lose any games. We couldn’t afford to lose yesterday. We couldn’t afford to lose to Carolina. We had two straight losses against the Saints and Miami. We were sitting there and said, “Listen — we can’t afford to lose any of these games.” We’ve won two straight, and Jacksonville is a damn good team. Very well coached. We watched that game against Indy. In a lot of ways, they played a great game against them. They can run the ball, they can throw the ball, they’re a great defensive team. We’ve got a lot of history with Jacksonville. So we’ve got our work cut out for us. Every team presents different challenges. I think this week, it’s about understanding the challenges that they face and trying to keep them from doing the things that they do well. It’s Christmas on Friday, it’s a little bit of a different week for everybody. The guys with kids, it’s a fun week for them. Families coming to town. Most importantly, we’ve got to win this game. That’s what’s most important to me.
The Renaissance Alliance Power and Clout Quarterback Question of the Week: Which AFC East stadium aside from Foxboro do you enjoy playing in the most?
For me, it’s been the Meadowlands. I think that’s my favorite place. We’re not going to have an opportunity to play there again. I’d never lost in the Meadowlands until this year. I was hoping to close that stadium with another win. That’s my favorite, by far. It’s a great rivalry, playing the Jets. Buffalo is a great place. I’ve had good success there. Miami’s always a tough place to play, more so because of the players on the team rather than the stadium or environment. But the Meadowlands is kind of second to none.
Is Michigan ever going to get its act together?
It’s bad. Every time I talk to a former teammate of mine, guys who go up to the game, they have no explanation. We’ve had two pretty rough years. Coach Lloyd Carr was a great coach for that school. It’s ugly now, especially watching Ohio State beat us like they did, listening to all those jerks.
At least you don’t have Vrabel around anymore to deal with the jerseys and all that stuff.
I still hear from him, believe me. He’s just a text message away
Have you heard from Charlie Weis?
Quite a bit. I don’t think he knows what he’s doing yet. I think he’s still undecided. I think there are plenty of options out there for him. I think it’s just a matter of what’s best for him and his family. I’ve always had a great relationship with him. We’ve spent a lot of time together. Who knows what’s going to happen? I really don’t know. I don’t think he knows at this point. We’ll have to let it play out.
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