Brady on D&C: Belichick served humble pie
|08.30.10 at 11:23 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance with the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning and talked about coach Bill Belichick’s reaction to Thursday’s 36-35 preseason loss to the Rams.
“He gave it to us pretty good on Friday after the game and then again yesterday,” Brady said. “There’s always a running joke with our team [about] the humble pie. He was serving it on Friday. It was just what we needed. We didn’t go out and play very well. Hopefully, we can learn from it and move on.”
Brady, who went to Saturday’s Ultimate Fighting Championship event at TD Garden on Saturday night with teammate Stephen Neal (a former collegiate wrestling champion), also talked about what he does in his free time.
Below are the highlights of the conversation. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Would it have made a difference to you if the Rams didn’t make the field goal at the end of the game on Thursday?
Well, I like winning so it definitely matters, not in the standings obviously, but I think everyone feels a little better when we win, regardless of preseason games or regular season games. I understand where coach is coming from. He gave it to us pretty good on Friday after the game and then again yesterday. There’s always a running joke with our team [about] the humble pie. He was serving it on Friday. It was just what we needed. We didn’t go out and play very well. Hopefully, we can learn from it and move on.
Does the whole team share the humble pie? What is the offense doing when Bill is going over things with the defense?
Well, he gives it to everybody, I don’t think it’s only a defensive thing. I think there are days when offensively we can certainly do a lot of things better, especially Thursday night when we had the ball for 14 minutes so we couldn’t do anything to stay on the field early on. I thought we picked some things up as the game went on but I think we have to be more consistent throughout the course of the game. You really don’t want to put yourself in too much of a hole in any of these games because you get behind, it’s pretty tough to come back. We have to do a better job of scoring points early and getting off to much better starts.
You had a perfect quarterback rating and seemed virtually flawless. Are you just going through the motions? What do you have to do better than you did Thursday night?
The reality is you can always do things better. I don’t think there’s ever been a game I’ve come off saying, “Man that was just perfect.” Early in the game, I thought there were a couple better reads I should have made, maybe we could have stayed don the field and helped the defense out. Football is such a team game in that all three phases of the game complement each other. So if our defense is on the field for 15 plays, that happens. There are times when the offense drives the ball. What you really can’t do as an offense is go out there and go three and out and then put them back on the field. They’ve had about four minutes to rest and now they’re back on the field trying to recover. As an offense, what you really need to do is put together a drive to kind of counter that and take the momentum back, especially in those games on the road. I don’t think we did a very good job of that.
We went out there, we had the return for the touchdown by Brandon [Tate] which was a great way to start the game and that doesn’t happen very often. Then they went on a decent drive, we went out there and did nothing. They went on another good drive, we went out there and did nothing. Then we stopped them and then we did nothing. So, I think it gets tough for the defense when they’re out there for the whole time. We have to, like I said, offensively get out there and make some plays to be able to kind of balance out the game and balance out the time of possession. The defense is going to get tired at some point. We would love to be the team that has the ball for 46 minutes as opposed to 14 minutes.
What was Ben Watson’s problem? Why couldn’t he do what Rob Gronkowski did on Thursday night?
They’re different players. And Rob has done a great job. And I will say, it is the third preseason game, it’s not like this is the Super Bowl or anything like that. He obviously has had a very good training camp and in the three preseason games, you’ve seen him do some unique things and I think that’s why we drafted him where we drafted him. He has the type of speed and size and awareness you’re looking for in that position. I’ve said before, the tight end position is a very a difficult position because you’re involved in all facets of the game. All the blocking schemes you have to know, as well as you need to be the physical style of tight end that can block on the line of scrimmage. Then, he’s able to run routes and he’s quick enough to run them on small guys and he’s so big and he catches the ball well and he really has a lot of tools to work with.
It’s all about consistency when you have young players because all these guys drafted are talented. There’s no doubt they wouldn’t be drafted if they couldn’t add some value to the team. It’s really a matter of how consistent can they be, as well as how consistent can we all be? Everybody can go out and make three good plays and then you have three bad plays, you really even yourself out and do nothing. So, to have five good plays and no bad plays, that’s what you’re looking for. Rob’s continuing to work on that but I just look forward to him scoring because I don’t know what he’s going to do for a celebration. He does it after he makes big plays, he kind of blacks out and really doesn’t know what he does so that’s the funny part.
Is it easier to get the ball to a tight end than a wide receiver?
Yeah, well I would say as a possession type player, anybody who plays on the inside part of the field will typically have more catches than guys on the outside part of the field. The reason is, you can really go anywhere on the field from a tight end position. You can go short outside, deep outside, short middle, deep middle, you can run a short crossing pattern to the left, you can do whatever you want. The reality is you probably won’t have as many yards per catch because there’s a lot more guys in there to deal with to tackle you pretty quickly. As opposed to being on the outside part of the field where you’re dealing with one defender most of the time but you have less room to work.
I found it fascinating last week when you said the two young tight ends have only seen one of the three playbooks. Does it confuse them when you tell them to take a look at playbook No. 2?
When you’ve installed the plays like we do in minicamps and training camp, you don’t get into a lot of game plan stuff because you’re not game-planning anybody. Really, you’re just trying to solve the core part of your offense and those are the things you really build around. So when you get to the regular season games and you’re studying film and putting together things you want to do, let’s say against Cincinnati. … It may not be anything that you’ve done in the past in training camp. The guy will go, “Why don’t have these typical plays?” Well, those won’t work this week. Based on the coverage schemes that we’re going to face, the blitz packages, these are the things that we need to be changed.
Now you have to basically learn new techniques or blocking schemes within three practices, which are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and get familiar with those as possible so you can go out there and execute the same way you would had you practiced it for 32 practices, which is how many practices we’ve had since training camp started. So, that takes a very mature player and person and someone who takes it off the field to study what they’re doing. That’s why guys who are more immature type players who go home and play video games all night, I mean this is your job. You’re not going to learn it playing Madden 2011. You’re going to learn it by being in your playbook and watching the film and understanding how we want it run.
Do you know everything offensively or do you have to go home and refresh yourself by going over the playbook?
I know everything pretty well. There are certainly new plays that go into the game plan but if I just hear what [Belichick] is saying, I know what he’s talking about because I’ve done everything at this point. I know we’ve had every type of offense. When I first got here, it was a very different offense than really it was in 2007. With Corey Dillon in 2004, Antoine Smith in 2001, and Marc Edwards at fullback, I mean we don’t have a fullback in our offense anymore. If we want to use a tight end at fullback, we can basically open up the playbook from 2001 and use some plays from that era as well. We’ve done everything from five-receiver sets to one-receiver sets and all different types of formations and schemes and protections. I actually have a pretty good recall of things that we’ve done and hopefully I can add that insight into what we’re doing each week because like I said, there’s no two teams that are really similar. Like the Giants’ defense and the Rams are somewhat similar because of the coaching tree there, but at the same time they run some things differently as well.
Based on what’s required of you, is it safe to assume there are no stupid quarterbacks in the league anymore?
Well, I think I’ve been really fortunate over the years to be in the same system. Josh [McDaniels] became the offensive coordinator after Charlie [Weis] had and we kind of morphed into more of a spread offense with Josh. That was more of Josh’s style. We’re morphing now as well into much more of a flexible offense with the things that we’re doing. So, I’ve kind of learned through the whole process. Some guys like Alex Smith in San Francisco, for every year he played he had a different coordinator. … I’ve run certain plays in our offense at least 1,000 times so I know where all the problems in the play come, and when they come, I know every look that I’m looking for in that particular play. Over the years, I’ve just continued to build up that inventory so I feel pretty good about whatever’s called that, “Hey, I’ve had a lot of familiarity with it and I’m not going to make any mistakes on it.” So, that’s been a huge asset for me and as the offense changed over the years, I’ve been able to experience a lot of things.
Our offense puts a lot on the quarterback. Some offenses don’t put much on the quarterback and I feel that’s a detriment to a quarterback’s development because you don’t learn. So the mistakes that you make in your rookie year are the same mistakes that you make in your seventh or eighth year because you were never forced to grow out of that and you were never really challenged. I’ll see guys in their seventh, eighth year and they’re still running plays that I would have run in my first year. Then you get them to change by their eighth year and by that time, it’s over. There’s no more of that, this is what you are as a quarterback.
Not only do guys play Madden but some guys complain about their portrayal on Madden. How about you, are you happy with Tom Brady in Madden?
I haven’t played a video game in a long time so maybe when my boys are old enough to start playing, I’ll start playing against them but I wouldn’t even know what to do. I’m not saying you can’t do that, everyone does different things to relax and kind of take the edge off but I’m not much of a video game guy.
You don’t watch Hard Knocks, you don’t play video games, other than going to Ultimate Fighting Championships, what do you do to get away?
What do I do? I don’t go out very often to tell you the truth. There are a few shows that I watch. I like “Entourage,” I like “Dexter,” I loved “The Shield,” that was probably my favorite, and I love “The Wire.” So I kind of just DVR those and when I get some time, I’ll sit down with my wife and watch those. My life is very different now than it used to be and I feel the great part of the football season for me is that I’m in one place. I don’t have to go anywhere, I don’t have to travel and it’s a great excuse for everybody that wants me to do things. “I have a game on Sunday guys, I can’t.”
Did you get any blood on you on Saturday night at the Garden?
No, thank God. It was actually a lot of fun. I’ve been to a few of the fights and my cousin actually works for UFC and has for the last 10 years. So probably the best part of the night was getting to see him and hanging out with him for a while. But it was a lot of fun to be there. There was one guy who just got the crap knocked out of him. I mean, I was like call the fight man this guy is done. Then he proceeded to get choked out and didn’t tap out and then the doctor ran in. I enjoyed it. I think those guys are competitive in their own way and I say, “These guys are crazy.” Then they’re telling us, “Man you guys are crazy.” I think it’s just everyone has something they’re good at. For guys to step into a ring and fight like that show you the will and mental toughness. Especially Randy Couture who is 47 years old, beating James Toney, that was pretty funny. They’re strength and their will is pretty impressive.
Which of your teammates past of present would have the personality to make the career change and go from the NFL to UFC?
Well, I went with Stephen Neal to the fight and if anybody could, it’s Steve. He knows it and appreciates it. He’s like my play-by-play the other night. … He wrestled Brock Lesnar and beat him when he was in college.
Did Belichick explain why he didn’t want to go for it on fourth and a half?
I know, I pleaded. I think he was just pissed off at us. At that point, he was pissed off at everybody. I went over there and was like “coach, six inches.” He was like, “Get off the field.” Let’s go for it. I think he wanted to do that to just yell at us.
Knowing what he knows now, I’m sure he would let you go for it?
Maybe, I’m sure if it’s a regular season game, he probably puts a lot of thought into that before the game to say, “Okay, if it’s fourth and less than a yard and we’re on the 50, we may go for it.” There’s times where we punt it as well and there’s times when we go for it on our own 40-yard line or 35-yard line. I think it’s just more of a preseason thing or regular season game, whatever he determines he’s going to do, that’s what he’s going to do and he’s going to stick to it. Once he’s convinced himself, there’s no use in trying to change his mind. He’s pretty strong-willed.
The pass to [Alge] Crumpler on Thursday night, did you think the pass rusher was coming unblocked and ready to nail you?
Yeah, I did. It was a different protection that we had and when the ball was snapped, I wasn’t quite sure we had it. So when I saw him kind of reach out for me and I saw a white jersey, I just kind of turned my shoulder away to protect the ball. Then just as I started to do it, I heard Sammy [Morris] just smash the guy. Then I just got up and saw Alge running down the sideline. That was an incredible catch by Alge, I mean that was an unbelievable catch. He has great hands and great awareness. He’s been a great addition to our team. I mean his toughness, his willingness to block, his willingness to do anything that we need him to do. He was really a prolific pass-catcher early in his career and to be the mentor to the two young tight ends, I mean they really couldn’t learn from anybody better than what Alge’s shown through the spring camps and now in the summer camps too.
How much of you are we going to see Thursday night?
I think we’re all playing so we’re all expecting to play. I don’t know how long we’re going to play but [Belichick] told everyone yesterday, “Get ready to play.”
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