Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C
|11.29.10 at 12:44 pm ET|
It’s no secret that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is on the top of his game as of late. In his past three contests, Brady has completed well over 70 percent of his passes for 877 yards and a 9:0 touchdown to interception ratio, further legitimizing his claim for the NFL MVP award. Most recently, Brady carved up the Lions on Thanksgiving afternoon for a perfect passer rating of 158.3 — the second time he’s done so in his career.
The star player made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to discuss his performance as well as the huge upcoming contest with the co-division leaders, the Jets.
Following is a transcription of the interview, in which Brady also discusses what he’s been up to in his extended time off, what he does to motivate teammates, the potential of the wildcat offense in New England, and more. To listen, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
How was your vacation?
It’s not over?
Today’s kind of a check-in day. So we have to be back at the stadium to kind of see our coach. But it’s been great to have some time to spend with family.
When you watch games yesterday, I assume you watched some football, correct?
Yesterday I didn’t watch any.
You watched none?
Yeah, yesterday I didn’t watch any.
It’s good to get some time off I guess, but you missed some good games. You weren’t curious about the scores of, say, Falcons and Packers?
Yeah, I was checking my phone all day. But I just didn’t have a chance to sit down in front of the TV.
Is the short week getting ready for Detroit worth it because A) you won the game and B) you now have 10 days until you play again?
Yeah, well, I think that’s the whole — if you win that game there’s a huge benefit to it. For us to be able to have quite a bit of time to recover, it’s really kind like another bye week. A lot of guys are getting some rest, and it comes at really a good time. We had a bye week relatively early, but then this kind of feels like a second one so it’s been a great couple of days for us.
Are you able to turn it off and not be the quarterback of the New England Patriots between now and whenever you have to get back in the facility?
No. I spend a lot of time watching and seeing a lot of games. I haven’t been watching the games on TV, I’ve been watching all the games on the computer breaking down the opponents. So I’ve been trying to get ahead. Basically I tried to get ahead on Chicago because we play them on a short week so I watched a lot of their stuff and made my notes on them and then I started on the Jets yesterday. From here until the Jets game it’s all Jets. But I feel like we’ve got a nice little break to really get ahead on the remaining games on the schedule. So it’s actually been very helpful.
To say you’re on a roll in your last three games would be an understatement. I know you’ll say it can always be better, but are you playing about as well as you have played ever in your career?
Well, I could play better, there’s no doubt about that. And I really think this would be a great week for it. Playing quarterback, there’s so many things that go into having success as a quarterback. And I rely so much on what the receivers are doing, the tight ends, the offensive line, the running game. I’d say offensively we’re definitely executing better than we had been. That just really makes my job easier when everyone is doing their job as well as their doing theirs.
It’s really, it discredits what everyone else is doing if you just talk about the quarterback because the quarterback is, you rely on everybody else and fortunately for me I play with a great group of guys who work their butt off and really love to get out there and practice and get better. And I think that’s what we’ve really shown.
That alone with, I said after the game, some resiliency, definitely a mentally tough team. Whatever coach [Bill] Belichick asks of us, guys are willing to do. I think that’s really been something that’s really been talked about all offseason, all during training camp. I’m really proud to be a part of a team that’s really showed up when it matters most.
Are you aware that you and Deion Branch are solely responsible for Lions defensive back Alphonso Smith not having slept or eaten since Thursday?
[Laughs]. Well listen, everybody has games where it doesn’t go like they want. Alphonso, he’s a young player. He’s got some good skills, so he’s had a good season for them. He’s had five interception this year, played well. Maybe he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. That little out was all Deion Branch. Deion’s going to get open on anybody with that route. The long touchdown that Deion caught, that was just a great play by Deion. That was just a total ad-lib play by him. He wasn’t even supposed to do that. That’s his awareness as a player, you just can’t coach those things. That was just an incredible play.
Is it fair to say you’ve gotten on the same page as everybody else on offense? Are you happy with the symmetry and synergy of the guys around you right now?
I would say that it’s a week-to-week thing. Yeah, last week, sure it was pretty good.
But he last three weeks it looks pretty good.
Yeah. Well, I think we’ve been doing better. I wouldn’t think we’ve got it all figured out. I think there’s definitely things that we’ve got to continue to find ways to do better. There’s still a lot of young players that need to contribute. Obviously Wes [Welker] and Deion are a big part of what we do. Rob Gronkowski‘s really proven himself. Aaron [Hernandez] has got to get more in the mix and Julian [Edelman] does and Brandon Tate does.
Guys we really rely on and count on, maybe not Deion and Wes’ level because they have so much more experience, but guys who we depend on to make certain plays when their number’s called. We’re going to keep those guys in those positions to make those plays. We really do need those guys because it can’t always be, as we’ve said before, just one or two guys.
We’re running the ball well, that’s huge. The way the offensive line is performing, their doing a magnificent job as usual. But to open up those holes in the running game to get Benny [Green-Ellis] going downhill and get [Danny] Woodhead in there, Woody’s had such a great year for us. And then hopefully we get Fred Taylor back too. I think that balance on offense has really shown up in the past three weeks too in that we’ve really proven that we can do what we need to do running the ball.
As well as the offense has played, you’ve still found things to scream about. Do you have to make those up and invent them sometime to motivate these guys, because there doesn’t seem to be much to yell about?
I don’t. I’m pretty what I feel, what I say. There’s always an effort to bring energy out there. I love being out there at practice. I’m always pretty much on edge. I’ve been around a little while. Look, we’re 9-2. We haven’t accomplished anything. I’ve been a part of a team that won 16 games in the regular season. And I’ve been to five AFC championship games. These games that we’re playing, yeah, they’re important. But a lot of the guys on our team have played in a hell of a lot bigger games than regular-season games. So, to me, what we’ve accomplished really is nothing to this point.
There’s always a part of me that knows that, “Man, you can lose. You can have a really bad game and lose.” I’m not trying to have any of those games. And I’m trying to express to my teammates — who maybe it’s their first year or second year, they haven’t been a part of it — “Man, listen, we haven’t done anything. Literally nothing. Zero. Nine wins? Nine wins is nothing.”
And coach always says — and I said this last week — “Football season starts after Thanksgiving.” It’s after Thanksgiving. Now we’re going to see what kind of football team we have. We’re going to see what other good football teams are, and what it takes to be a good football team. It’s not easy this time of year. There’s a lot of guys banged up. Depth for each team now has really become an issue. Mental toughness has really become an issue. The weather’s getting colder. The games are getting bigger. This is really when you find out kind of what the heart of each team is.
Is there a particular defensive scheme or defensive approach that you’d prefer not to see that might be more effective against you?
The best defensive scheme to me, I would say those old Miami Dolphins teams. Those were the best schemes to me. They lined up and played the same thing on every play. It was basically a four-man rush with Jason Taylor and they had some big guys inside so you couldn’t run the ball inside. They had two incredibly great pass rushing ends. And then they just basically double covered the receivers with Zach Thomas one-on-one with the back. If all those guys can come out of retirement and go back to their youth I wouldn’t want to face them again. I had my worst performances as a Patriot against those teams.
Fortunately, I think I’ve moved on from that. But those were some incredible teams. Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain playing corner they were great. Any team that can get to the passer with four guys on a consistent basis, you’re going to have a great defense.
Well the Jets have Jason Taylor and they have some good corners. Do you look at a team like the Jets, I know you hate them, you’ve told us you hate them.
But does the familiarity make it easier this week? Do you know what’s coming from the Jets?
Well you never really know what’s coming from the Jets. I think they have their style, and their style is they’re going to spin the dial. Things are going to continue to change. They’ve got a great defensive system and they have a lot of great players within that system. They’re really able to take some chances up front because of how comfortable they feel with their cover guys. You think they’re going to blitz all the time, and then they don’t blitz, and now they’re all in coverage. And then, OK, you think they’re going to be in coverage and now they run this overload blitz that overloads your protection and you’ve got to throw the ball quick.
I think they do a good job of really changing things up on each offense from week to week. Having played them, this is the third time we’ve played them, going on our fourth time playing them, I definitely have a lot more confidence the fourth time playing them than I did the first time playing them. But at the same time, we’ve got to go play well. I think at the Meadowlands earlier this season we had a decent first half, and then we just came out the second half as a team and really played poorly. They took advantage, as good teams do. And then we had nothing to show for it at the end of the day.
It’s going to be a hell of a test. They’re one of the best teams in the league, and they’ve got some great players that are playing well. They’ve shown they can win close games. They’ve blown teams out. It’s going to be a hell of a game. I’m excited for it.
Tom I’m sure there are weeks when Bill Belichick has to issue some words of warning about taking teams lightly. Will any of that be required getting ready for the Jets?
No. Really, I’ve never been part of a Bill Belichick coached team that does do that. There’s never been a team that he’s felt, “Man, OK, we’ve just got to go out there and play average.” That’s not his style. He wouldn’t be the best coach ever if he did that. And we’d lose a hell of a lot more games doing that if that was our approach. I mean the Jets, we know that they present a different series and set of problems that a team like Detroit did. But Detroit can still create problems, as you saw. They’ve got some damn good players on that team.
You’ve got to play to your strengths. You’ve got to figure out ways to attack what they do both offensively and defensively. A team like the Jets, you don’t have a lot of margin for error. You don’t have a lot of margin for error on offense, I’ll tell you that. When you have an opportunity to complete the third down pass and you miss it, the next one you might not have an opportunity to complete. You’ve got to take advantage of the opportunities when you get them.
There’s a lot riding on this Monday night — perhaps a division championship, a bye, home field advantage. Will you talk about that among your teammates?
No. I think this is always a big game. A division rival, a division game at home, especially the second time you play them. The playoffs are a long way away. I think you can’t really expect to win your division if you can’t beat a particular team in your division. I mean, you can’t go, “Man we’re the best team in our division, we’re division champs,” and then lose to the same team twice. That’s pretty telling.
How about the Monday Night atmosphere? Does it feel like a playoff game? Do you know that certain guys are up for the challenge and wonder about others?
I’m pretty confident we’re going to be ready to play this week. I think we’ve played some really big night games. I thought Miami at Miami earlier in the year on a Monday night against a damn good team, and really proud of the way our team responded to that. Then we played Pittsburgh in a night game on the road. I thought we responded pretty well to that. So I think we’ve shown we can respond pretty well in big games. Indy was a big game, there’s a Thanksgiving day game. So I don’t the event is too big for any of us. I think we’re all going to be pretty fired up and ready to go play when that game’s kicked off.
Would you be open to a wildcat-type of play or two or three in the offense with Edelman or Woodhead running the show?
Would I be open to the wildcat?
Yeah, a little bit of it.
Sure. I’m open for anything that gains yards. I don’t think I would ever turn anything down that I saw Brad Smith running the ball in for those touchdowns. Boy, if you can gain 50-yard touchdowns I’ll do it any time. I’ll do it all game if that’s what we needed to do to win. There’s no positive plays from a quarterback standpoint, moving the chains, those are good. So I’m all for it if it works.
Is there wildcat in the playbook?
We’ve messed around with it. In order to be good at it, I think you have to invest quite a bit of time in it. As with anything. I’m not sure we’d want to invest a whole lot of time in it.
Sometimes the QB stays in and splits out. Is there a wildcat play where they throw to No. 12?
No. The play a few years ago where coach Belichick says the only person I want you catching a pass from is No. 12. That was kind of one of his many commandments.
So he’s not using your burning speed on the outside then, huh?
No, I don’t think the defense is worried about my burning speed, either.
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