|Transcript of Tom Brady interview with D&C||10.12.10 at 7:33 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Tuesday morning and made his first public comments since the Patriots traded Randy Moss to the Vikings last week.
Brady denied the report of a confrontation with Moss, saying: “I love the guy as a person, as a player. I don’t think I’ve ever had an altercation with a teammate. I think you command a certain level of respect in the locker room. I think that’s the culture of our team. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any players in our locker room fight. That’s just not the way it is.”
Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Is Charley Casserley’s report true? Did you and Randy go toe-to-toe, have to be separated and eventually exchange some grooming insults?
No, certainly not. I don’t know why these things come about, but they do. I think it’s just a competitive media culture out there now. There’s certainly, between Randy and I — I love the guy as a person, as a player. I don’t think I’ve ever had an altercation with a teammate. I think you command a certain level of respect in the locker room. I think that’s the culture of our team. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any players in our locker room fight. That’s just not the way it is.
Based on the evolution of this offense, do you suspect that was a problem in Randy’s mind, in that he was becoming more of a decoy and less of a deep threat?
Well, I have no idea. I really don’t. With all due respect [to] all the different questions I’m sure you guys have about Randy, he’s moved on. He played for another team last night. And we’ve moved on. We had two practices last week and we’re prepared to move on as we always have. And that doesn’t diminish anything that he’s done or has accomplished for our team, because he’s obviously an exceptional player. But we’ve got a season to play. Really, what happened last week in my mind has come and gone. We’ve got to prepare for our toughest test of the season coming up.
How can the offense be just as effective or more effective when you lost the best deep threat the NFL has ever seen?
I’d say that’s a great question. And that remains to be seen with our offense. I can tell you 20 different ways, but we’ve got to go out there and do it. I don’t think there’s any one solution. You just don’t replace a guy with Randy’s talent and ability down the field. You replace it with maybe using the strengths of other players. So, Randy certainly has his strengths. Wes [Welker] has his strengths. The tight ends have their strengths. I think it’s up to the coaching staff when you game plan to determine what your players do the best, and those are the things that you ultimately do.
Believe me, I still think we have a lot of confidence that we can move the football. It just may be a little bit different than what you’ve seen. Who knows if it’s better or worse. That remains to be seen for all of us.
Are we going to notice a difference in the way the offense runs — offense on the field longer, more sustained drives featuring the young talent, a rhythm kind of offense that we’ve seen in the past, without Randy there?
I don’t know. The truth is, I don’t know. I’d love to have an offense that controls the tempo of the game and controls the clock by running it. You have these certainly high-percentage passes with the different players that we have. I think we still have some explosive players in the passing game. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.
Whether it’s Brandon Tate, I mean, you’ve seen what he can do on kickoff returns. His ability to make that more of a threat on offense is something that, as a second-year player, of course he’s trying to do. Aaron Hernandez, I mean, he’s had the biggest pass plays all season for this team. Adding a guy like Deion [Branch], I mean, Deion has caught a lot of deep balls in his career. So, there’s a lot of guys that have that explosive ability in the passing game. Obviously, you’ve got to get Wes down the field. You’ve got to get [Rob] Gronkowski down the field. You see what kind of plays he can make.
So, there’s obviously a lot of guys that can do different things — short, intermediate, deep in the passing game. And that’s what you need as a good offense. You need multiple threats. You need guys that can do multiple things. So, I think that’s the goal of our offense.
You guys were great together. I hate to get nostalgic, but 2007 was the greatest year a quarterback and receiver ever had together. I can’t help but think that some part of you is disappointed. That had to be something special, hooking up with Moss that season. Isn’t there a part of you that’s disappointed?
Well, I think that’s a great question. I mean, that’s season’s kind of come and gone, too. That was a magical year for all of us. There was a lot of things that happened over the course of the season that contributed to that. I don’t think it’s just a quarterback-receiver. I think what we’ve shown over the years is that the right guard is just as important as the guy you’re throwing to. And the running back picking up in blitz protection is just as important.
To have the offense that you’re talking about, you’ve got to have a group of guys that are committed to playing their role and doing their job. If your role is to catch the touchdown pass, that’s what you’ve got to do. If your role is to make a third-and-1 because we’re running behind the left side of our line, we’ve got to do that. I mean, it’s so easy in football just to watch the ball and say, “Wow, that’s why it happened.” But there’s a number of things that need to happen in order for a play to be successful.
And I think that’s why I’ve always enjoyed being a part of this team and being a part of this organization, because that’s what coach [Bill] Belichick emphasizes. It’s certainly not about one player, or one pass, or one run or one tackle or one interception. It’s about all of us complementing each other and doing the things that we do well in order to breed team success. And I think that’s what I’m excited about this season. We’ve shown that’s what we’re capable of. And we’ve got to see how it plays out over the course of a long year.
Did anyone in the organization run the potential trade by you before they made the deal with Minnesota?
Certainly not. I’m a player on this team just like all the other players. Obviously, I talk a lot to the coaches and they talk to the players. They never come and say, “Well, what do you think about this?” No. We show up to work and we do our job. And I think that’s the best way to handle things as a player.
I’ve become very emotional in the past about losing certain players, and I think that’s affected me, which in turn has impacted the team. And I think when you’re an older player on the team and you’ve seen guys come and go, and you win and you lose, to be level-headed and to not be unemotional but to be maybe not surprised, you just go about your business and you try to put it behind you and move forward with the guys you’ve got, because that’s what you really owe the team.
We’re as competitive as every team. We’re trying to win every single game. And you’ve got to do that sometimes different ways. The shape of the team always is changing from week to week, with injuries and guys playing well and guys not playing as well, and those are the guys that you really rely on — the guys that are playing well and the guys that are making those plays. That’s what we’ve obviously got to do this week.
Does that apply to Deion Branch? I can’t imagine that if you heard rumors that you wouldn’t raise your hand and say, “Let’s get him here.” Did you try to put in your two cents when you heard that Branch might be coming back this way?
Well, I think between teammates you obviously hear stuff and maybe you’ll say something. But at the same time, I never had a conversation with coach Belichick about it. I think he knows the kind of player that he wants and that he’s looking for. It’s very much the same time of player that you’ve seen here over the years — the [Tedy] Bruschis, the [Mike] Vrabels, the [Willie] McGinests, the Ty Laws, those character guys that a guy like Deion is, whenever those guys become available, I’m sure that’s the kind of player coach Belichick jumps at.
There was so much talk last night about Randy Moss’ assimilation into the Vikings’ system. Is it going to be easier on Deion Branch? Is the terminology the same as it was when he was here?
I’m not sure. I’m not sure how much Deion has retained over the years. Deion’s a very smart player. He’s going to have certainly his work cut out for him. There’s a lot to catch up on. I wouldn’t say things are exactly the way they were when he left. We’ve evolved quite a bit from that offense that we were running. Some of the things I’m sure are very familiar to him. But some of the things are very different as well. So, I’m sure there will be a pretty steep learning curve for him. Hopefully, he gets up to speed as quickly as possible. Because we’ll need him this week.
Who can stretch the field for you now? Is Deion Branch still able to do that, or does that fall to Brandon Tate?
Well, I think it’s got to be everybody. I really do. If it’s just pure speed, like a 40-yard dash, I mean, that’s not necessarily football. In reference to Randy and what he’s able to do to stretch the field, he was a very unique player at that. There’s certainly other guys that we throw the ball long to as well. And that’s a great thing to have in the offense. It’s certainly not the only thing you need in an offense. You need a lot of things. The short passes complement the long passes and vice versa.
You’re right, if you throw the ball underneath all day long, the field is going to get compressed, there’s no doubt about that. But I don’t think we’ve ever been gun shy about taking shots down the field. The guys that are in the game, we have a lot of confidence in that they’ll be able to make the plays. It’s not like the game plan, you all of a sudden go, “OK, well, we’re going to throw 3-yard passes all day.” That’s not our offense.
Our offense is our offense, and the coaches spent a lot of time game-planning this week. And I’m sure we’re going to have short passes, intermediate passes, long passes, inside runs, outside runs — I mean, you’re going to have everything that we’ve always had. That’s just the way the offense is set up.
In that offensive playbook, was there or is there a play that had Randy Moss throw a pass to you?
No. Certainly not. I don’t know if you want him throwing it or if you want me catching it. There’s not many. I did see the first play of the game last night and kind of got a laugh.
Why was Favre ineligible?
The quarterback can’t receive the ball downfield if you start from under center. You’re technically an ineligible receiver. If you’re in the shotgun, you become an eligible receiver and you can catch balls down the field. But you can’t catch a forward pass if you start under center.
[Vikings coach] Brad Childress didn’t know that. Would Bill Belichick have known that?
Of course. And I think Childress knew it. I’m not so sure [Brett] Favre knew it. It didn’t look like he was supposed to go out on that pass.
You figure with that much trickeration, you’d go for more than a 6-yard throw.
It looked like they were trying to get [tight end Visanthe] Shiancoe down the field, and the Jets didn’t bite on it. Favre was trying to block, he slipped out and Randy instinctively threw him the ball and Favre instinctively caught it. But it all goes for naught when you’re ineligible.
Were you rooting outwardly for Moss and Vikings, or do you sit with no passion at all?
I watched probably the first quarter of the game. I’m definitely rooting for the Vikings, no doubt about that, and rooting for Randy. But I’m also watching the scheme stuff that the Jets are doing and how they’re trying to attack the Vikings. I think that’s probably what I’m watching more. They have a good scheme on defense. You saw they were getting to Favre quite a bit, they got a lot of pressure in their defense. It was hard for Minnesota to move the ball.
I didn’t see what happened in the second half, but obviously the Vikings found a little bit of rhythm on offense, but it just didn’t seem to be enough. With the Jets defense, and they play well, and they’ve got a lot of good players, and they play well at home. They are a good team. They’re tough to beat. You’ve got to play a great game to beat them.
Can you put your brain around Favre’s 70,000 yards passing?
It’s pretty incredible. I can see why he’s got elbow tendinitis. That’s a hell of a lot of throws. He is a great player, a great competitor. He’s fun to watch. He’s so resilient and tough. I think that’s really what stands out when you’re watching different players. I love to watch Favre and I love to watch Peyton [Manning] and I love to watch Drew Brees. Some of the guys that have proven over the years how consistent they are, you can gain a lot from them.
He’s an incredible player. I really admire his ability and what he’s able to do and how he’s able to lead his team. He plays with such emotion, and I think it’s pretty exceptional to watch him over the years do that consistently. To take the field as many times as he has in a row is unbelievable, because I know the toll that it takes. It’s pretty mind-blowing what he’s accomplished.
What value does a bye week provide other than you putting you feet on the floor and not having everything hurt?
That’s important. There’s a lot of things that we worked on last week that you just want to continue to try and grow and evolve. You reflect on the last four games: What are the things that have worked? What are the things that haven’t worked? What kind of team are we? How do we see ourselves? How are the teams seeing us? And what are we going to do moving forward?
You’re right, you don’t have a lot of time in a regular week to do those things. You’re just kind of in the grind. This has really given us a chance to reflect on our offense and what we need to do and how we need to get better. There’s a lot of areas that I think we need to improve that we’ve worked on. We’ve got four days of practice this week, which is great, because you need it against a team like Baltimore. Hopefully we put our best foot forward. I’m really excited about being at work and trying to accomplish what we’re really setting out for.
Nine months ago, Baltimore came up here and just disemboweled you guys. During this bye week, did you spend much time on that game film? And why should we expect it to be any different? They look like they might be better his year than they were last year.
Yeah, they are. They’ve added a lot of guys. And they are playing extremely well. They play well on the road. I think that any team that plays defense the way they do, they’re going to be in for the entire season. Their defense is pretty exceptional. It has been for a long time. They’ve got a good scheme. And you’re right, they beat us up pretty good. That was probably the worst beating we’ve had in a long time. We just couldn’t ever get in any rhythm. Offensively, certainly it was an awful day for us.
If you guys don’t think we can do any better than that then maybe you guys just shouldn’t watch. I certainly think we can play better than that.
Even when Bill is talking about an upcoming opponent that might be like a culinary school from Rhode Island, he says, “Great offense, great defense, great schemes, great special teams.” When he tells us all of that this week about Baltimore, he’s not lying to us this week, right?
No, he’s not. They’ve got veteran players. It seems like it’s always the same cast of characters, too, that they have. They play a certain brand of football and they draft guys to fit that scheme and what they do. It all starts with their leadership, and Ray Lewis. When you think of Baltimore, you think of him. They’ve added receivers, they’ve got a great back, great quarterback, great o-line, defense. They’ve got everything.
So, you’ve got to play very well. You can’t go out there and make mistakes and expect to beat them. That’s a great challenge for a team. And I think we feel like we’ve made a lot of improvements, too. We’ve got a pretty damn good offense, and obviously we’ve got a damn good defense. And our special teams has proven that it’s capable. Now we’ve got to test it up against a great team. So, that’s why we’re going out there. That’s what we’re working hard.
You know that there’s not a lot of margin for error this week. This team has proven they can win on the road, and they’ve won here on the road. I don’t think we think just because we’re playing at home we’ve got this great advantage. The advantage that we’ll have is if we play really well, that will be our advantage. That’s what I’d like for us to be able to do.
In terms of offensive scheming and planning and accounting for a guy and making sure he’s accounted for, where does Ray Lewis rate with [Darrelle] Revis in terms of a game-changer that you and the offense have to deal with?
Yeah, he’s a bit different than Revis in that, when you stand at the middle linebacker and you’re right in the middle of the defense, he really makes plays from sideline to sideline. He makes them in the run game, he makes them in the passing game. He’s really the emotional leader of that team. When Ray blows somebody up, it’s huge. It’s huge for that whole defense.
A cornerback, he’s on the outside part of the field. Look, if you don’t want to throw at him, you don’t have to. With a guy like Ray Lewis, you’ve got to deal with him on every play. I think that’s the one thing about Ray, he can do it all. He’s been able to do it all for a long time. Not only along with his talent physically, but his instincts are as good as anybody who has ever played. I love playing against him, because you can just stare at him right across the line of scrimmage and know that you’re playing against one of the greatest linebackers of all time.
Are you disappointed you won’t get to play against one of the greatest safeties, without [Ed] Reed out there?
I am not disappointed at all about that. I don’t ever want to play that guy.
What did you say to Randy in the text [before Monday's game] that he appreciated so much?
Well, that’s between he and I. Like I said, he’s something special. He’ll certainly be missed. But we’ve got to move on.
Can you confirm you didn’t send him any racy pictures with the text?
Oh, man, that’s terrible. That’s terrible.
It looked like he trimmed his beard. I think he might have taken your advice.
When you’re up here in the wintertime, I’m telling you, hair’s good up there — long hair, long beard. It’s starting to get that football weather here. In October, November, December is when you appreciate playing in the Northeast right here, when these weather conditions become a little bit more unpredictable.
You told us three weeks ago you were not going to let it get to the ponytail stage, and it’s just about there.
Yeah, it’s there. It’s there. I haven’t broken the ponytail out yet. I’ve got to really build up some self-esteem before I do that, because I know I’ll take a lot of heat.
Favre is the all-time leader now in fumbles. Do you know where you rank, and how many fumbles you have?
I have been very good with ball security in the pocket over the years. That’s one of those stats that I really look to that I’m proud of. Where do I rank?
You are 49th all-time with 70 fumbles. You’re tied with David Carr and Jeff George. Brett has 163 now. You’ve got a ways to go to catch him.
How many have I lost? I haven’t lost that 70. There’s no way that’s happened.
It just says all-time fumbles, and you’re No. 49 with 70. Have you managed to keep your hands on most of those, you think?
I think so. Probably most of them. Well, at least half of them, I would think.
By the way, Vince [Wilfork] said he’ll kick your ass in the sprint. He told Dale & Holley that.
I know. Believe me, he told me that, too. I told him whenever he wants. I’ve got my Michael Johnson golden spikes ready whenever he wants me.
Let us know when it happens. We’d like to see it.
Yeah, that would be something to see.
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