Tom Brady on D&C, 1/4
|01.04.10 at 11:02 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning and talked about Sunday’s loss to the Texans, Wes Welker’s devastating knee injury and its effect on Randy Moss, Julian Edelman and the rest of the offense, and the upcoming playoff game against the Ravens. A complete transcript is below. To hear the complete interview, click here.
How far will the Patriots go in the playoffs?
- Lose to Chargers in second round (48%, 351 Votes)
- Win the Super Bowl (22%, 165 Votes)
- Lose to Ravens in first round (17%, 127 Votes)
- Lose in AFC Conference Championship Game (11%, 83 Votes)
- Lose the Super Bowl (2%, 13 Votes)
Total Voters: 738
Do you know why you weren’t allowed to finish the last 1:47 of the game yesterday?
Coach had talked about throughout the week that Brian [Hoyer] was going to get some experience in this game. That was good experience for him. It was good experience for him in the second quarter, good experience for him at the end of the game. Just kind of one of those situations where I think he wanted to see how he did in there.
Why the change of heart at the end?
There’s a lot of things that come up over the course of a game or the season that are really unexpected. [Bill Belichick] wants to see how different guys respond. He put him in there for his first snap of the game on the 1-yard line, backed up. That’s pretty tough. I went over and said, “You sure you want this to be his first play?” We had gone into the game knowing that this was going to happen. He said, “Tom, Brian’s going to go in there at some point and we’re going to see how he does.” I said, “No problem.” I think that’s a great idea. I wish, as a rookie quarterback, I was able to do that. That’s what he wanted to see. Different guys rotated throughout the day, offense and defense. Everyone got a lot of good experience. Coach said it right after the game, he said “All right, that game’s over with. We’re moving on.”
Did Mario Williams‘ hit during the interception play any kind of role in you coming out?
No. … I think we went into that game obviously trying to win the game, but … You want to win every game, of course. At the same time, if that game meant something more to us than it did, then obviously things would have done differently. I don’t think anyone’s hanging their [head] on the fact that we didn’t come out of there with a victory. I think we all feel real confident in what we would have done had we sold out to win the game. Of course we’d sell out to win the game, but In terms of different plays you may call differently, that you may want to hold until the playoffs, or certain things we’ve been working on that you want to run against the Ravens, that we practiced all we can practice knowing that we’re not going to play in a game. It was an interesting game for us yesterday. I don’t think a whole lot of people lost sleep last night that we came out of that game ‘ other than obviously what happened with Wes. But we’re really in the same position we would have been had we won the game.
Did you know you were going back in when you came out the first time?
Yeah, I did. … I went over to [Belichick] midway through that drive Brian was in there and said, “Hey, what do you think about putting me back in there now.” He said “You’re not going back in until after the half.” At that point I said, “OK, no problem.”
Did you go over to him with two minutes left and say, “You’re not taking me out now”?
If there was a real strong conviction for us to go out there and win that game at that point then we would have. Whether we were the third seed or the fourth seed or Cincy would win or lose, I think at the end of the day, all that stuff was so undecided anyway. They’re going to be out there rushing, and Randy’s going to be out there running routes. That’s just the decision he made. I think if we were selling out, I would have been in there. If that game was of much more importance, then we would have been in there. But we weren’t, and I think we said, “OK, that’s the game and we’re moving on to the next opponent.”
Were you thinking, “The seeding doesn’t matter, we’re playing at home next week”?
You obviously want as high a seed as possible. That’s really a no-brainer. But whether you’re third or fourth in this situation, it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference. You play one game at home and you go on the road to either San Diego or Indy. If you’re the fourth seed it could be either/or, depending on who wins the 3-6 game. Us being the 3 team, now we know if we win we play San Diego. You kind of know what you’re getting into there. But I don’t think it makes a whole lot of difference. We’ve got to beat a bunch of good teams. And we’re a good team. With all that we’ve been through this year, to be the 3 seed says a lot. I think we’ve got a lot to play for. We’ve got obviously a tough opponent that we play, and a team we know pretty well playing a couple of times here in the last few years. It’s going to be a great challenge for us.
Is the loss of Wes more than nine or 10 catches a game? Is it an erosion of a comfort zone?
You can’t replace him. There’s no doubt about that. There’s nobody that can substitute in for Wes and think that they’re going to be Wes. He’s everything you ask for. He’s an incredible player and leader. As football goes, it’s kind of the way it works, unfortunately. We’ve got to move on, we’ve got to go out there and play, and everyone in different areas has to pick it up. I’ve got to play better, Julian’s got to play better, Randy’s got to play better, the offensive line, the running backs, the tight ends, we all have to do more. I think that’s the commitment we’re going to have to make to one another. Nobody loves Wes more than me. Going through a knee injury last year was a hard thing for me, but in a lot of ways it was a good thing for me. It taught me a lot. I think for Wes it’s going to do the same thing. He’s as hard a worker as anyone I’ve been around. He’s everything you ask for. But in the short term, you’ve just got to look at it [like] it could be any injury. It could be an ankle sprain that someone’s out for this week. We’ve got to find ways to win the game, like we’ve always really done here.
How do defenses react and respond with no Welker in the game?
It’s one less player they have to worry about, obviously. But there’s going to be other things. We’re going to evolve a little bit as an offense now. It was a very Wes Welker-oriented offense. And now, maybe part of the advantage is Baltimore really doesn’t know what they’re going to see from us now. We’re going to have to shift focus. They’re really not sure where that focus is going to go. In some ways that’s an advantage for us. There’s a lot of things we’ve done with Wes that we don’t do with anyone else. We’re going to find other areas to exploit, and use the talents of Julian and Sam [Aiken] and Randy and Chris Baker and Kevin [Faulk] and Laurence [Maroney] and Fred [Taylor] and Sammy [Morris] ‘ all these other really great players we have on offense to be able to move the ball.
Is Edelman going to be the man for that spot, or is this going to be third receiver by committee going forward?
We’re going to have a third and fourth receiver, or a second receiver ‘ I mean, who knows? I don’t know how it’s all going to shake out. We’re going to have to put together a good game plan. Based on what we see on our matchups with the Ravens, we’re going to have to try to exploit those different matchups. There’s a lot of game-planning that needs to be done here in the next couple of days. We’re going to have the best stuff we’ve got. It’s ultimately about getting the ball in the end zone, and you can do that a lot of different ways. It’s not just necessarily throwing to your slot receiver. It’s running the ball, it’s obviously getting the ball to Randy, and getting the ball to the other role players that we have.
You’ve been through this. You came back to make the Pro Bowl, get back to the playoffs? Can Wes do that? Have you talked to him? Can you help him?
Sure. Sure. We’re all going to get through it. He’s going to get through it. He’s just that kind of person. He’s just a fighter. He’s always been a fighter. He’s going to attack whatever he needs to do as hard as he can. That’s why he’s always been successful.
You never bet against a guy like Wes, because his heart and commitment to what it takes is stronger than just about anybody else’s.
We talked a little bit, but he’s going to fight through it. I’m sure there’s going to be a day or two when he’s pissed off. Because he loves competing so much, that’s going to be the hard part for him, hopefully for the next month.
What do you mean it was a good thing to go through?
I think it makes you realize a lot of things about your career and what it means when you are out there. You’re definitely very grateful every time you walk off the field feeling good.
Football, it’s a very non-forgiving game. You never know when that play is going to come. How many times has Wes made that cut over the course of his career? Sure enough, it’s just this one time where the foot doesn’t land right.
How many times have I stood in the pocket with a blitzer coming? It’s one of those situations where it doesn’t stop for anybody. It rolls right on. But we love Wes. We love the commitment he’s made to us. Believe me, we’re all going to make that commitment to him. In the short term, we’re going to get over it real quick. We should be over it now. You realize we played a game without him yesterday, and that’s just the way it’s going to be.
What didn’t you know at the beginning of rehab that you learned at end to share with Wes?
He’s a smart guy. Wes makes all those smart decisions. He’s going to make the decisions that are right for him. Everyone goes through it a little bit differently. Everyone’s got different knees.
Him being a receiver is obviously a little bit different than it was for me. I can afford to wear the knee brace the whole time in the game. I’m sure he’s not going to want to do that, which is OK. I don’t necessarily need to wear the knee brace now, but I figure it’s not going to slow me down a whole lot.
For Wes, it’s about just going through the process. He’s a hard worker. He’s as hard a worker as anyone on our team, anyone I’ve ever seen. He’s going to work just as hard as he does in our regular offseason program. He’ll be back at some point better than ever. I know that.
Playing with three broken ribs, broken finger on passing hand?
What does the injury report say? I’m feeling really good now. I’m feeling really good. Everyone breaks bones over the course of the year. I’m feeling pretty good. This is the best I’ve felt in a while.
Can Edelman cram to learn adjustments that Wes has?
Julian’s a hard worker. He has a different skill set than Wes. There’s things you do differently with Julian, and there’s things you do differently with Wes. They complement one another. It’s a pretty good offensive group of receivers when they’re all out there. But in this situation, Julian is probably going to do a few things that Wes did but also the things that he does well.
You’re not going to be able to make him into Wes Welker. You’re just going to have to allow him to do what he does well, Randy to do the things that he does well, Sam to do the things that he does well. They all can do things well. That’s why they’re on the team. They can all contribute. They’re all going to have to contribute. And they all will contribute.
There will be a lot of hard work and effort put into this week. That’s just the way it’s got to be.
I’m excited this week is here. The game ended, and I think immediately everyone’s mind shifted to what’s ahead. To see Baltimore win and Denver lose made it a pretty simple formula for us.
You were undefeated at home, and haven’t ever lost a home playoff game. Do you go into a game like this with any doubt at all?
I don’t think I’ve ever gone into a game thinking, “Man, we’re going to have a hard time winning this game.” I’m always an optimist out there. I have a lot of confidence in what we can do as a team.
You can always lose games. There’s no doubt about it. If we play a bad game of football, we’ll lose. There’s no doubt we’re playing against a very good team that gave us all we could handle last time we played them at home. We’ve got to have a great week of practice. They’re a pretty tough team to prepare for. They’re a pretty exotic blitz team. They have a good offense, defense, special teams. They’re going to challenge us in a lot of different ways. This is a great challenge for us. Anytime you’re here in the playoffs, you’re going to play good teams, the best the NFL has to offer. This team is one of them. This team has been consistently good over the years defensively. That’s really the strength of this team. That’s where it’s lied for a long time with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Now they’ve got [Haloti] Ngata on the inside. [Terrell] Suggs is still on the outside. They can do a lot of things well. We’re going to need our best.
You made the Pro Bowl. Any numbers give you great satisfaction in a comeback year? Was this personally a very successful regular season?
I think there were things that I got into some bad habits throwing-wise that I wish I’d done a better job of. Protecting the football is really important to me. I wish I’d thrown fewer interceptions this year. And those games on the road, those are ones you’ve got to win. That’s where mental toughness comes in.
Regardless of all of that, we’re in a real good position now. To play a home game against a damn good team, what more could you ask for? Everything you’ve worked for this year comes down to this week. I’m excited for that.
We’ve come a long way as a team this year. All of us individually have. There’s been a lot of moving parts. This week, you get kind of that second wind right now. That excitement comes back. It’s a long season for everybody.
Now it’s a whole different feeling of intensity and emotion. Over the course of the week of practice, there’s a much more sharpened focus for us. I’m excited for that.
Early in the third quarter, you got into a jawing match with Connor Barwin. It looked like you used a 12-letter word. Does that sound about right?
Yeah, it was long. It was about every bad word I knew. I think I was just frustrated that we didn’t convert on third down and he happened to be the guy standing there next to me. He pushed me down, then I said something and he said something. I was more frustrated that we didn’t convert on third down than at him. That’s the way it goes.
What if the coach said you weren’t going to play at all? Would you have lobbied? Could you have won?
Every team does it different and every year seems to be different. We’ve been in that situation. I remember we played Miami a few years ago. We were 10-5 going into the game. Matt [Cassel] played basically the whole game. I think I played the first series. ‘¦ Then we played Jacksonville the following week at home. We were pretty much in the same position that we were in yesterday. Then there are times when we’ve had the first-round bye and I’ve played a little bit.
I always like playing. I always think there’s a benefit to going out there and playing. I think it’s tough for those teams, when you don’t play this week and you’re not going to play next week, then it’s three weeks before a meaningful game. That’s a long time. I wouldn’t want to be in that situation. It’s not like you’re going to forget how to play football. You’re going to go out there and practice. But the intensity of the game is so important. I’m glad we went out there, got out there and played hard yesterday.
I wish we’d won the game. We didn’t. But I still think there was a lot of value we gained from it.
The Renaissance Alliance Power and Clout Quarterback Question: How do you help Hoyer in practice in case he’s on the field?
We participate in all the same meetings. The film work with coach Belichick we participate in together. There’s nothing that we do that’s different. We’re together pretty much every second of the day ‘ every drill we’re together.
You prepare like he’s the starting quarterback. That’s what you need to do, because you’re always that one play from being in there. Saturday’s always an important day for the quarterback to go through the call sheet and the last-minute reminders. He’s been a great help on game days. He’s a very smart guy.
I thought he went out there and played great yesterday. That was really good to get him that experience, and I thought he did a great job with it.
In baseball, you see pitchers talking in the dugout about batters. Does that happen in football with quarterbacks?
Sure. Sure. Of course. There’s things you see out there, tips that you have, ways to get your guys going and motivated, things that you see on their defense. There’s a lot of tricks that you learn. We definitely communicate a lot. We need to.
Who’s the better quarterback: [Isaiah] Stanback or Edelman?
I wouldn’t want any of those guys playing quarterback.
Who’s the emergency quarterback?
I don’t know if we have that emergency plan.
Wasn’t Kevin Faulk the emergency quarterback at one point?
Kevin was at one point. Julian’s played quarterback, Isaiah’s played quarterback. But both of those guys are receivers now. We’d be up you-know-what creek without a paddle if that happened.