Tom Brady on D&C: ‘Showed what we’re made of’
|10.05.10 at 10:11 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady joined the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning, just hours after the team’s impressive, 41-14 victory over the Dolphins in Miami.
“This was a big game,” said Brady, who stayed behind in Florida after the game. “We put a lot into this game. We put a lot of preparation into it. … There’s a lot of questions and doubts about our team. As a team, we really showed what we’re made of.”
Brady and coach Bill Belichick were visibly excited toward the end of the game, showing more emotion than fans are used to seeing. Brady said part of the display had to do with the team finally getting a victory on the road.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a big win on the road,” he said. “And that doesn’t matter if it’s last year or last night. You love winning on the road. And that’s something that we didn’t do this year. When you finally get that win, there’s a lot of emotion that’s built up for a long time.”
Following is a transcript. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Could you script a better way for this football team to go into the bye week?
Well, it was a big win for us. We’re 2-1, on the road at Miami, which is always a tough place for us to play. We lost one game on the road already and we hadn’t really played 60 minutes of football, and there’s a lot of questions and doubts about our team. And I think the team really showed what were made of.
To get a win down here in the style that we did, where the special teams was tremendous, defense was tremendous, offensively we did what we needed to do. It was a great win for us. Everybody was really excited after the game. Hopefully, we can really build on it. I think going in to this week, now the bye week, we’re going to evaluate what we’ve done the last four weeks and figure out what’s working, and the things that aren’t working, we’re going to move on from that. We’ve got a big game against Baltimore here in two weeks and we’re going to need to play our best.
You said there was a lot of emotion at the end, none more evident than yours as you were coming off the field. Was that emotion due to, from a personal standpoint, your response to all that statistical analysis we all discussed last week about this team’s lack of success on the road, this team’s second-half offense that has sputtered, and personally, your performances in late and close games last year? Is that what that was all about?
I don’t know about that. I just know this was a big game. We put a lot into this game. We put a lot of preparation into it. We all felt like we had a really good plan.
I don’t really care what happened last year, to tell you the truth. That was a totally different team, with totally different characteristics ‘ strengths and weaknesses and so forth. But, I will say, it’s just been a long time since we’ve had a big win on the road. And that doesn’t matter if it’s last year or last night. We love winning on the road, and that’s something that we didn’t do this year. When you finally get that win, there’s a lot of emotion that’s been built up for a long time.
Obviously, it helps fuel your fire when you know that people are doubting you or questioning you or picking against you, but does it get specific behind the scenes, in the locker room, on the practice field. Do you know who’s doubting you, who’s questioning you, how they’re questioning you, or do you just get an overall sense that people are wondering if you still have it as a team?
You get a sense by the questions that you get the whole offseason and so forth. This week you get a pretty good idea of what we’re up against. Coach Belichick makes light of what, typically, what people may say or the opponents may say. It’s not like you’re searching it out. And the truth is none of it really matters anyways. It really doesn’t. What matters is how well you play. But, when you have the focus and attention to detail that we’ve had, you know that eventually it’s going to pay off.
I know that there’s a lot of people that will make critiques of our team that really only watch us for three hours a week, and I understand that. But, when I’m on that practice field every day with the other players that we have and the coaches that we have and I see what we’re capable of doing, you know, man, we’ve got a pretty good team. Maybe it hasn’t shown up like we’d love for it to show up every Sunday. But, we know that we’re on the right track and we’re building toward something here.
We’re going to stay at it. This was the most important game of the year, but there’s so much football left. But, I also know we made strides, and I think games like yesterday will help build confidence in what we’re trying to do, especially when all three phases of the team are involved in winning the game.
We heard that coach Belichick pointed out specifically that everybody in Patriots Football Weekly, a panel of 10 or 12 experts, all picked Miami. Were you guys aware of that?
Yeah, that was hanging up in our lunchroom, you know, with a big circle. Well, everyone’s got their reasons, and that’s why you’ve got to go out and play, because making predictions and all that b.s., that doesn’t mean anything. You’ve got to go out there and strap the helmet on. You’ve got to go out there and play, and play well.
And I said it all during the week, Monday night games are very ‘ you know, you’re playing against a very good team on the road, and a Monday night game where there’s a lot of build up to it and you really want to see what the team is all about. And we as a group really responded well to all those differenet things in the game ‘ the pressure involved, playing another very tough team and how we’re going to respond to that. We stepped up to the challenge, that was a big win for us.
The accepted theory held by most is that the Patriots offense is the key to New England’s success this year, was it strange to be more of a supporting actor to the defense and special teams last night, for once?
I mean, the truth is it doesn’t matter. I think that we’re going to rely on the defense and we’re going to rely on the rest of our team and we’re going to be closer to games that are going to be high scoring games. … There’s going to be games where we need to kick a field goal at the end or we need to block a field goal at the end. Whatever situation we end up being in, I think that’s where the good teams find a way to go out there and get the win.
So, we’re getting all geared up coming out for the second half ’cause we’re 7-6 and we’d got the ball in the end zone, and next thing you know Brandon [Tate] is returning the kick for a touchdown. And it’s like, “Wow, that’s the way to start a second half.” Then we get the turnover, we stop them, block a punt and we’re back in the end zone. Within 2½ minutes of football we scored 17 points, with the field goal before half and then the two touchdowns. And you’re like, man, that was great, and you start to break the game open a little bit.
So, we were really, you don’t want to let up, you want to keep driving and keep your foot on the accelerator because if you let up for one second the momentum swings back in their favor pretty quickly. We tried to find a way to keep building on those plays that we had, so it ended up being not very close in the end.
It is rare, even in a major win, to see Bill Belichick with that much of a smile, and that amount of happiness on his face. And you’ve often told us, “He’ll find something to bitch about on Thursday.” Will he this Thursday?
Well, with this game, I don’t know. I think he was pretty excited after this one. But, I’m sure there will be plenty from the last four weeks that he’ll have some comments about. By no means have we figured this all out. I mean, we’ve got a long way to go in this season. Last year we were 6-2 at the midway point and I think what you realize is you’ve got to continue to get better and make improvements and become tougher and more physical and increase execution, because, through the course of the season, that’s what a lot of the good teams do most. Good teams get better and bad teams get worse.
You know, you can’t tell anything after four weeks of the season, other than we have a chance if we keep working, that we’ll have a pretty good chance in the end. But, that remains to be seen. I think we’ve got a big stretch of games here coming up, and Baltimore is the biggest test we’ll face all season. They’re beating everybody all around this year, they beat Pittsburgh and they beat us last year in the playoffs, so they’re going to come in with a lot of confidence and we’re going to counter that with playing some great football.
Perhaps Bill will not be happy about the [Julian] Edelman false start on the two-point conversion. Is what you said to Edelman G-rated, PG, R or X? X, wasn’t it?
Yeah, but the one thing about Julian is he tries so hard. I mean, we absolutely love that guy. I love him as a teammate. Every day on the practice field he’s trying to get better. So, if a guy makes mistakes and doesn’t care, it’s one thing, but Julian, man, I’ll tell you, he’s going to be thinking about all those plays. He’s been such a huge addition to this team ‘ as a player, as a teammate, as a person, as a competitor. He’s going to move on from this.
Are you at liberty to tell us what that two-point conversion was going to be?
No, I can’t tell you, but we were either going to run it or throw it.
Did you think for a second at any point to maybe force one to Randy [Moss]? You didn’t need him, you won without him, but did it ever enter your mind, “We’ve got to get him a catch?”
Sure, I mean, no question. You want to get everybody involved and he’s always involved in the offense. There are certain plays are designed to him that are risk/reward type plays, he’s been our dominant receiver with those opportunities, he can do certain things for our offense that very few guys can do.
He is a big part of the offense, but when they take him away, it opens up for other guys. And I think the other guys are fortunate to have him on the team because they’re able to take advantage of a lot of single coverage and a lot of focus going to Randy. So even though he didn’t have a catch last night, he’s still big contributor in the win, there’s no doubt about that.
You completed five passes in the second half and you guys scored five touchdowns. Does Randy say anything during or after the game like, “I need a catch, man”?
He doesn’t ever say anything. He’s a competitor like everybody else, he wants the ball and all that, the impact on the game, he doesn’t want to go out there and run block the whole game. But he also understands that, man, sometimes that’s just the way it goes. It’s a team game, it isn’t about how many rushes that guy can run for or how many yards one guy can catch or how many yards the quarterback can throw for. It’s about how many points did your team score and how many points did the other team score, and whatever it takes to get the job done, that’s what we’ve got to do.
That’s the commitment to winning that I think you make when you play a team sport. We all buy into that. The quarterback would love to throw 50 times a game. but that’s not good for the team. It’s really not, and you don’t go out every week thinking that we’re going to throw. Every running back wants 20-plus carries in a game, but you don’t get that all the time. You get whatever it takes to win. if it doesn’t work then you go re-evaluate what you’re doing, but when you win by 27 points, you’ve got to give credit to the way that the game went.
In terms of identifying what the best play not a touchdown was, I would say it was right after the Ricky Williams screen pass for a touchdown to make it 20-14, you guys came out, and rather than go three and out, on third-and-7 you got [Wes] Welker for 28, kept that drive alive and eventually went in and scored. Would that be about it?
Yeah, that’s the one, there’s no doubt. We needed to react to that score the Dolphins had, they made it a six-point game and they’re right back in it. You know, the crowd’s into it, got their defense into it, and we went down and scored a touchdown after a huge third-down conversion was made. And then the next thing you know we’re in the end zone, so that made it a 13-point game. Then we got the blocked field goal, then the interception, so it was pretty much on cruise control for the offense in the second half, we didn’t have a lot of time shifts. We’re just watching the special teams and defense cruise, which I’m very happy to do every week.
I thought the biggest play was the holding call that they wiped off. Did you guys talk them out of that somehow? Why did they do that? We saw the replay, it was a holding call, but they wiped it out.
No, [Matt Light] said, “Are you bleeping kidding me,” I think that’s what he said. You know, I don’t know, sometimes they change that, sometimes they don’t. We’ve been on the other end of that, too, where it wasn’t something we got called for. So, I’ll take it.
Obviously, this was only one game, one game in the standings and all that, but do you feel like overall you may have cured some of ills you had on the road, in Miami, in the second half, all those things everyone was talking about, you seemed in one 30-minute stretch to just clear all of them. Does it feel like more than just one win?
Well, it’s a big win. It’s a division game on the road against a team that was 2-1 and went and beat Minnesota on the road, beat Buffalo on the road, this is a damn good team that we played. So, it means more just to win because the quality of controlling a game we’re playing on the road, with a lot of pressure in the situation.
We’re trailing seven minutes into the game and at halftime, with us fighting our butt off the first 30 minutes for a 7-6 game and next thing you know, you look up it’s 41-14 or whatever it was. So, I don’t think that, like I said, last year, we don’t worry about it. That was a different team. In the 2010 version there are so many new players that weren’t on the team last year that. That chapter in that book is closed and we’ve moved on.
We’ve played one other game on the road this year and told ourselves that it had nothing to do with last year, either, just like this game has nothing to do with last year. This week of practice we just had to focus that we make sure to put into it what we know that we’re capable of if we just keep working, ’cause after four games you don’t just sit around and say “We’re great, we’ve got nothing to worry about.” No, we’re going to go into work, we’re going to try to get better this week. We need to get better. We need to get better in a lot of areas, and that’s going to be the focus this week. We’ll go into following week against a great opponent, one of the best in the AFC, and we’re going to need to play our best, there’s no doubt about that.
Do you know which skill position player was on the field with you for the most plays yesterday? Which tight end, wide receiver or running back had the most offensive snaps?
That’s a good question.
Take a guess.
I’d say [Aaron] Hernandez.
Very good. Yeah. By four. He was out there 50 of 58 plays. Is it significant, and a sign of things to come, that Aaron Hernandez was the skill position player on the field the most with you last night?
Yeah, well, I think what he ends up being, he’s in a lot of the groupings that we’re in. So, if there’s two tight ends on the field, he’s typically one of them. Obviously, when there’s three on there, he’s one of them. Which is different than our receivers, where when there’s one receiver on the field ‘ sometimes it’s one guy when there’s two receivers ‘ we have Wes [Welker], and then we have Brandon [Tate] and Randy [Moss]. So, they’re all a little bit different skill set.
Depending on the different plays that we run, we’ve got to find the right combinations of players. Aaron’s really proving he can make plays for us. He had a big catch early in the game that got called back by a penalty that really would have been a great thing for our offense. But we responded well. He’s really earning the trust of everybody, of the whole team, that when he’s out there, good things are happening. That’s why he’s out on the field.
I think you’re going to need to change the fake-spike signal where you look at Randy and grab your facemask, because [ESPN] only showed it about 100 times and pointed it out. Everybody knows now.
Believe me, we’ll stay ahead of them. We’ll stay ahead of them.
Didn’t you kind of let that out of the bag? Whether the signal changes or not, no one’s going to expect you to just spike the ball to kill the clock. They’re not going to trust you.
I don’t know. I wouldn’t put anything past defensive players. If they were smart, they’d be playing offense. That’s the way it is.
[ESPN announcers Ron] Jaworski and [Jon] Gruden said you didn’t know Danny Woodhead’s name. You just called him “Woody” or “Wood” or something. Is that true? You knew his name, didn’t you?
I said I didn’t know until after last week’s game. Everyone called him something different ‘ “Woodpecker” and “Woody” and “Wood.” So, whatever it was, Danny works pretty good. I had that down. I just didn’t know his last name. But I do now, trust me. I see him running through the line of scrimmage and I can read it very clearly on the back of his jersey.
So, he’s not just a spy who was giving you intel on the Jets.
No, he came after that game, he came after the Jet game. So, he didn’t give us anything. He’s been a great addition. He’s a very mature player, very mature. And he’s competitive. And he takes accountability. He’s done a great job for us. It’s really been a great surprise, a pleasant surprise.
[After] losing one of our very best players in franchise history in Kevin [Faulk] for the season, to have someone that can come in and fill the void at that position has really helped. Really unexpected, because there were really no expectations, but he’s really proven that he’s capable.
We need you to handicap the following matchups: Moss vs. Tate in 100 yards.
I’d take Moss.
You would? You’re just saying that. You really think Randy would be faster than Tate in 100 yards?
I think Randy builds his speed. So, once he got running ‘ that first 20, Tate would probably have him. He’d probably be getting close around 40. As it goes on and those strides get longer, you’e got to take the tall guy with the long legs. I’d take Randy.
Sixty yards, Hernandez vs [Brandon] Meriweather.
I’d take Meriweather. Aaron’s probably quicker than he is fast. But he’s both. Both guys are very skilled in quickness and speed. They both have very good combinations. But I’d take Brandon.
Here’s the feature event: 40-yard dash: [Julian] Edelman vs. Welker vs. little Danny.
Oh, Woodhead, for sure. Woody ran like a 4.3 coming out. In high school he ran like a 10.5 100. So, he’s fast. He’s fast. I don’t know between Julian and Wes. Probably Wes. They’re going to be killing me for this.
You vs. Vince [Wilfork] in a 20-yard dash.
I’d kill Vince. It wouldn’t even be close.
We were going to do you vs. Charlie Weis, but he’s not available.
That’s why I’m relegated to quarterback sneaks, too. There’s no quarterback draws in our offense, just quarterback sneaks.
So, Randy’s the fastest guy on the team? Or is Woodhead?
It’s probably between Moss and [Matthew] Slater.
So, Slater vs. Moss in the 100 yards would be what?
Slater vs. Moss in the 100 would be the race to see. I don’t know who would win, but it would be a great race.
Who’s the slowest?
Lonie Paxton was probably the slowest when he was here. Nobody was slower than Lonie. I don’t know. That’s a good question. It’s got to be one of the linemen, obviously. I mean, I’ve raced those guys. I beat [Matt] Light, [Stephen] Neal and [Dan] Koppen in a race, all at once. One of those guys, probably. No, Koppen’s pretty fast. Maybe [Dan] Connolly. Or [Ryan] Wendell.
Connolly, he’s a fullback. How slow can he be?
He’s pretty slow. He’s pretty slow.
Will you guys look at the film from lat year’s playoff game in preparation for Baltimore, or has that been burned?
Of course we’ll see it. I’m sure they’re watching it, thinking, “Man, this is all we need to do to stop them.” They’ve got the same coordinator back, which is always good to see what they did last year. At the same time, really focusing on the five games they’ve played this year ‘ four games and this upcoming week’s game. That’s what we’ll be watching.
When you say you’re a different team, that team’s in the past, are they different? Or is it more motivation to think about that team that kicked your ass so badly in January?
When Rex Ryan was coaching them, they were very much the way the Jets are. I think they’ve changed into really the personality of the coordinator they have now, Greg Mattison, which was the coordinator they had last season. They’re obviously playing great football. They’ve got a great defense. They just have a good scheme. They have very good players. It’s a physical team. And they have some dominant players at the position, with Ray Lewis and Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson‘s a great player. They have a great group of linebackers. They rush. The secondary, they’ve had some injuries, but you wouldn’t tell by looking at them. They can all play.
We’ve got a play a great game. We beat them once last year in the regular season. We got our butts kicked in the postseason. We’re going to need to make all the improvements this week and try to go out there and play our best game a week from Sunday.
Does being the fastest [quarterback] to 100 wins [in NFL history] mean much to you, or does it make you feel old at this point? You got there almost two seasons faster than Peyton Manning, which is remarkable.
Honestly, I don’t even think about it. I really don’t. When I started this game, that wasn’t my goal, you know. I love winning, that’s what I love doing. As long as we win, I’m happy. I don’t care if I’m the fastest, if I’m the fifth-fastest to that number.
I said last night, this is truly a team sport, and all these individual accomplishments that you may have, yeah, they’re great, but really they don’t mean anything. What means something is how many Super Bowl rings you have. And at the end of the day, how many wins you have as a team. That’s what you celebrate. You play this game for your teammates. That’s where I enjoy it the most. That’s where I get the most satisfaction.