Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C
|12.07.10 at 10:53 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show for his weekly conversation Tuesday morning, following Monday night’s 45-3 rout of the Jets.
Considering his past comments about his distaste for the Jets, Brady was asked if he now felt sorry for New York following the Monday night embarrassment.
“I would never, never feel sorry for the Jets. There’s no chance,” Brady said with a laugh. “I have a lot of old players, Patriot players and Patriot coaches, that texted me after the game last night and expressed their views on the Jets as well. There’s no love lost between the current Patriots and the current Jets, or the former Patriots and the former Jets. It’s such a great rivalry, and I think we bring out the best out of each other.”
Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
How long does it take the adrenaline flow to calm down after a win like last night? What time did you drift off this morning?
Probably 2, 2:30.
Over the years, you’ve had your share of fun playing football. Super Bowl wins aside, was that about the most enjoyable four quarters of football you can remember?
[Laughs] You know what, I don’t really enjoy it until it’s over. Because the whole game you’re so into it. We’ve got a six-touchdown lead with six minutes left and I’m still going, “God, is there a way for them to come back?” You just never really let off the gas pedal until the game’s over. But the problem is, once the game’s over, we’ve already moved on to Chicago. So, you don’t get a chance to enjoy them too often. That’s not the nature of it. And we’re caught up in this marathon of the season. You’ve just got to keep plugging away.
There’s no doubt, it was a great night. It’s a big win for us. I will say it means that we put ourselves in a pretty good position. But that really doesn’t guarantee us anything. All it means is that, hey, OK, we’ve got a good opportunity now, let’s see what we do with an opportunity. The guys were real excited after the game. Playing a very good team on Monday night, at home, the crowd was rocking. It was a great win for us.
I was told that privately, some key members of the New England Patriots knew that the 11 days, the rest and the game plan convinced quite a few people in that facility that you were going to dismantle the Jets last night. How high was the confidence level in that locker room going out for that game?
Well, I would say we always have a high level of confidence for every game. I don’t think there’s a play on the call sheet that we don’t feel comfortable with, or it wouldn’t be on the call sheet. Look, both teams had 11 days to prepare. I just think it was really our night. There were some critical plays that we made that if we don’t make, as with every football game, it could go the other way. The fourth-and-2 to Deion [Branch] where we actually scored the touchdown. We had a couple of other fourth downs that we converted. We talked about, over the course of the week, really executing what we talked about.
Like I said, I know everyone’s very excited around here. But at the same time, there’s still a lot of football left. I think we’ve all got to continue to find ways to do better out there. We face a very different challenge going to Chicago this week. That’s a damn good team that we’re facing this week, too. As great as last night’s win was, we’re way behind on Chicago. And that game is just as important as the one we just played.
Is it safe to say that as much as ever, everybody around you is on the same page? All your skill position guys are where they’re supposed to be when you drop back to throw?
Well, that’s the idea. I would say that at some times it looks better than others. I have so much confidence in everybody that we have out there. There’s guys that are playing a bunch of different roles for us. We have Wes [Welker] and Deion, who are out there pretty much all the time. And everyone else plays their role, and they do a great job of it. When we throw the ball the them, they make the play. When we run it, we’re running the ball in. To keep that balance with running and throwing and throwing to different guys and running at different guys and really just forcing the defense to cover everybody, that’s really what our approach has been, and it’s been pretty successful.
We saw two very different conversations ‘ it appeared at least on television ‘ that you and [Aaron] Hernandez had. At one point, I believe he did the wrong thing, he went the wrong way, and you had some words with him. And later on, you were pretty pleased with him. I’m guessing he corrected his mistake.
Yeah, and I love Aaron as a player, as a person. He’s really made a lot of strides this year as a player. And I think any young player, there’s ups and downs. He’ll have a point in his career when we’re always on the same page. And that’s really what we’re working to try to accomplish. Because he plays such a big role in our offense, you try to get him up to speed as fast as you can. He does so many grew things out there, but there’s also a lot of things that we’re trying to all do better. And that includes Aaron and that includes myself. And he’s working hard at it. He practices hard. It really shows out there, the kind of plays he can make when he’s out there.
What can you do better?
Well, I think there were a couple of throws last night that I wish I would have made some better throws. One thing that’s been good this year is the turnovers. We haven’t really had many of those. For example, a game like last night, it’s a pretty close game, and then we start getting turnovers, and now it turns into not a very close game. I think what that shows us on offense, on our offense, is that if we don’t turn the ball over, the game’s going to be close. It may not be a 20-point blowout, but we’re going to have an opportunity to win in the fourth quarter.
So, guys have really been taking care of the ball. Every skill guy that handles the ball has been doing a good job of doing that. We turned the ball over a couple of times in Cleveland; that hurt us. We turned the ball over in the first Jet game; that hurt us. But we don’t have many negative plays, we don’t have many penalties. We get out there and we play a pretty efficient brand of football. And I think that’s what it’s going to take. As the weather gets colder, as the snow comes, we’ve got to continue to work at that. But that’s one thing that our team has shown that we’ve been pretty good at is taking care of the ball. That doesn’t mean anything this week, going forward. It means that that’s what we’ve done, Now we’ve got to go out and continue to prove it.
What was the gist of what you were saying to Hernandez when your guys’ grills were kind of locked together there?
I was just excited for him that he made a play for us like that in that critical situation. We called his number, he’s the first read on the play, he knows he’s the first read on the play. It’s a play we’ve been practicing. He goes out there and makes a huge play. We got the ball I think on our 5-yard line that drive, or 10-yard line, and then got it out to maybe the 30, 35, 40, and then I hit Aaron and he ran it down to the 20 or 25. It was just a huge play in the game.
I’m pretty tough on Aaron. I think that’s more so than anything, I’m always pretty tough on him. It’s because I really love having him out there that I am tough on him. And I want him to do really well. And then when he does well, I just, I don’t know, I guess I was pretty excited for him.
Can you estimate how many times you come to the line of scrimmage with a particular play in mind, and called, and you see something that doesn’t sit right or see something that you can take advantage of, and you completely change the coverage and you completely change the play? And was the best example of that the fourth-and-3 at the 35 that ended up being the touchdown pass to Branch to make it 17-0?
I’ve played a lot of football games. So, there’s not a lot that surprises me out there. And I think one thing I’ve been really fortunate over the years is to be in the same offensive system, with a lot of the same calls. I know certain quarterbacks have had many different coordinators over the course of their career. I’ve been in the same offensive system that has really allowed me to understand where the strengths of the plays are and the weaknesses of the plays, and the strengths of the runs, the strengths of the protections.
It’s impossible for an offensive coordinator on the sideline to call plays that think, OK, well, this can beat everything that they’re going to do. We call our plays kind of with the best intentions. And then I get up to the line of scrimmage. If it doesn’t look like a clean look for us, then we make changes. A lot of teams do that. I’m not the only quarterback in the league who does that. A lot teams do that. I would say that’s a significant part of our offense.
I think the first play of the second quarter for you guys, you hit [Danny] Woodhead for that 35-yarder. He had him matched up with [Mike] DeVito, a 300-pound defensive lineman. Do you know coming to the line that you’re going to get that mismatch, or do you read that as the play is unfolding? And can you believe that’s what the defense is doing, expecting someone like that to run with Woodhead?
No, I would say no, we don’t know that that’s the matchup before the ball’s snapped. And I think there’s risk-reward to all those defenses. There’s some tricky defenses that the Jets play, tricky defenses that the Ravens have played, that a lot of defenses play. They just don’t want to line up and always show you what they’re going to do. Whenever they assign a nose guard to a running back, the intention is really to keep the running back in with the pressure. So, they’re blitzing, expecting the running back to have to pick up the blitz. and then the nose tackle is really no issue covering the running back. On that particular play, we were able to get Woody out. I saw him and I threw it, and then I saw DeVito chasing him.
If I knew of that matchup, believe me, I’d be going to that all night. Woodhead on a nose tackle ‘ great linebackers have a hard time with Woody because of his quickness and his playmaking ability. So, that was definitely a matchup in our favor.
Let me nominate two BPNTDs, best plays not touchdowns, and you choose the one you think, or maybe a different one. First quarter, third-and-22, you hit Branch for a 19-yard gain, and eventually led to the Branch touchdown. Or third quarter, the one we were just talking about, Hernandez 35 yards to the 24 and then the congratulations. Or another one. Or the Woody on DeVito.
I would say the one to Aaron. Just in that, look, we’re trying to come out and really establish ourselves in the second half. We took the wind in the third quarter. It was a pretty windy night out there. We took the wind in the third quarter and really wanted to really build on our lead so the fourth quarter was really no issue. That’s what we ended up doing. That play to Aaron was really a catalyst for that third quarter. Him making those plays, that was huge. I would definitely say that one.
What does it say when the Patriots are leading 31-3 late in the third quarter and you unveil some stuff out of the playbook that we have yet to see ‘ the shovel pass to Woodhead and some other variations on themes that we haven’t seen before ‘ that you’re still dusting off new and fresh things and maybe exposing them to teams that you’re going to see down the road when you’re already up 31-3?
Well, I think 31-3, I don’t feel like the game’s over, 31-3. I know probably on TV it looks like, OK, this game’s over. We’re trying to play 60 minutes of football. We’ve been talking about that all season. OK, so what if it’s 31-3 and then they score a touchdown. And OK, we just run three plays and punt. They score again, 31-17. Then they get an onside kick, 31-24, now it’s a seven-point game. So, I think we’re trying to execute all the way throughout the game. And I don’t think there’s any time when we’re out there that we’re not expected to go out there and execute really well.
Is there any negotiation with the coach at the end? We know you don’t ever want to come out, but sometimes I’m assuming the coach would like you to come out to keep you upright and healthy. Do you have to talk your way back into the game?
No, at that point, whatever he wants to do, I’m fine with. But I expect to play the whole game. I don’t ever go out there thinking that I’m not going to. I love being out there. There’s nothing more fun to me than Sunday afternoon or Monday night. I’d love to see Brian [Hoyer] get in there and make some plays, because he’s a hell of a quarterback. I just remember how important that was for me as a young quarterback. When Brian does get a chance to play, here’s no one cheering him on more than me.
Well, you know, both guys have been huge contributors to our success here over the years, and those two guys are both really great friends of mine. Josh is a great coach, all the experiences I’ve ever had with him, he’s a tremendous coach and I’m sure he will have plenty of great opportunities. And obviously Randy, I’ve spoken at length about him. Both those guys, they’re fighters, they’re competitors, and they’ll be fine. In all reality, my main concern is Chicago right now, and I’m sure those guys will take care of things.
Have you heard from Randy? Did he congratulate you at all on your recent success?
He and I touch base from time to time. You know, these weeks are flying by, so it wasn’t like it was when our lockers were right next to each other, but yeah, we still keep in touch.
I assume we look at things differently than you. Most of us look at players when they’re drafted and their 40 times, the height, the weight, the bench press. I assume you don’t look at them that way because you’re having great success with a bunch of little guys and castoffs and guys who were fourth on the depth chart not long ago. The things that we think are important in players aren’t at the top of your list?
We’ve seen that for a long time with the Patriots. Guys like Teddy [Bruschi] or guys like Troy [Brown], or Rodney [Harrison], who was a castoff, and Roman Phifer, who was a castoff. All these guys over the years who have been great players for us, they bring a lot more than just athletic ability. That’s kind of a prerequisite for being a Patriot. You have to have the ability, there’s no doubt, there’s nobody on the team that doesn’t have ability, but it takes a lot more than that to play for coach [Bill] Belichick.
He always has his foot on the accelerator, he takes nothing for granted, he expects us to go out there and perform every day in practice, and I think that takes a certain kind of person. A very mentally tough person that plays through the conditions, plays through situations, and that’s how the organization’s been built.
So, guys like Danny and guys like Deion that come back, I think they really appreciate it, too. I know Deion has just really enjoyed being back, and believe me, I love having him here. When certain guys come and other guys go, you just kind of maybe find a different style for your offense or style for your defense. You really play to the strengths of your players. And things that were good for Randy Moss and Donte’ Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney are maybe different things for Brandon Tate and for Deion Branch. It’s not a better or worse, it’s just how we utilize them within the offense.
So, we’ll just continue to find ways to do that for as long as coach Belichick is coaching. I’m sure that’s what he’s going to do. He’s going to use the strength of his players and get the best out of them and go out and fight as hard as we can each week.
Look at what’s happened since the loss to Cleveland ‘ 39 against Pitt, 31 against the Colts, 45 against the Lions and 45 last night against the Jets. Can you see some sort of silver lining?
Well, I hope we don’t have to learn lessons through losses. I think you are very critical on yourself when you do lose games, and you’re very critical on everything about your team at that point. So, whatever changes you make usually come up after losses. But look, we lost that game and I think that’s a great lesson for us in that we didn’t play the way we needed to play. When everything we talked about before the game and during the week in practice, we didn’t do. And when, a game like last night, where the things that we talk about during the week, and every practice and night before the game and day of the game, we’re saying these are the keys, this is how we have to play these guys. When you do it, it turns out pretty well.
So, we’re going to have a whole set of those new ones against Chicago, and in order to be a good team, we’ve got to play really well and we’ve got to play to our strengths and find the matchups that we have to find. You can’t go in there and play right into a team’s strengths and think you’re going to beat them.
Do you still have doubts about your team or questions unanswered?
Well, I’d say this, I said this a bunch last week and coach Belichick said it to us again, he said, “All right, the football season started at the beginning this week.” Look, everything we’ve done over the offseason and everything we’ve done over the course of this season has been to put us in a position that we’re in right now. Which is, we have an opportunity, and it doesn’t guarantee us anything. It just means we’ve got a chance. Basically, we’ve got a chance to win our division. There are some teams that are totally out of it, but we’ve got a damn good chance to win our division if we can continue to play Patriot football.
But look, if we don’t play Patriot football we could lose four straight games and be out of the playoffs. And that has to be thought of on a daily basis for practice, because our goal is to come in there each day and to get better as a team. But we can’t sit here and think about, well, we’ve got 12 different scenarios, but what we can focus on just winning this week. That’s what I can promise you, when the media comes in tomorrow to practice, that’s all the guys are going to be talking about is Chicago. Because that’s the way we’ve been successful and that’s the way we’re going to continue to be successful, taking care of ourselves each day, with each opponent.
This morning after a 45-3 loss, can you say you feel sorry for the Jets?
I would never, never feel sorry for the Jets. There’s no chance,. I have a lot of old players, Patriot players and Patriot coaches, that texted me after the game last night and expressed their views on the Jets as well. There’s no love lost between the current Patriots and the current Jets, or the former Patriots and the former Jets. It’s such a great rivalry, and I think we bring out the best out of each other.
What did Bill say to everybody in the sideline group huddle that got a laugh and a smile out of everybody?
He said, “Listen, this game isn’t over. We’re playing for 60 minutes. I don’t give a [expletive] what the score is. We’re playing for 60 minutes.”
That’s something that we’ve been talking about all season. We played ‘ like the Steelers, for example, we had a great three quarters and then didn’t play well in the fourth quarter. The Colts ‘ we had a great three quarters, didn’t play well in the fourth quarter. So, even though we’re playing well through three quarters in this game, it’s like, “OK, guys, this is what we’ve been talking about. We’re not playing a great 48 minutes, 52 minutes, 59 minutes. We’re playing a great 60 minutes.” That’s what he was talking about.
Everyone knows you’re the highest-rated quarterback in the NFL, but do you know the highest rated combination of quarterback to receiver in the NFL?
No. What is that?
Tom Brady to Ron Gronkowski, first in the NFL, Brady to Aaron Hernandez is seventh in the NFL.
Is that right? Well, I mean, if you get it in his area, he’s going to catch it. He’s so tall, he’s got long arms, he’s got huge hands. Wherever you put it with him, he’s able to come down with it. So, he’s got a great what they call catch radius. That is, he’s got a huge wingspan, he’s able to snatch that ball wherever you put it. So, really, every guy that’s on him is smaller than him. So, if you put the ball in a particular area, where maybe the DB can’t reach for it, then he’s going to be able to make the catch. He’s really shown incredible consistency this year, both as a blocker and as a receiver. He’s a huge reason why I think we’ve been successful this season. Not only him, but the play of Alge [Crumpler], and the play of Aaron. That group has been a huge lift for us.
Your touchdown passes last night take you to 252 on your career, putting you into 13th place on the all time list. Do you know who you past last night?
I don’t know who I passed.
Is that right?
So, finally we can say Brady is better than Bledsoe after all these years.
Well, I love Drew. I wouldn’t say that. I would say I played for a great coach. He’s a hell of a player, Drew. I’ve got nothing but great things to say about Drew. He’s been a great mentor for me and continues to be.
Have you bought any of his wine?
Yeah, I have, as a matter of fact, I was on his mailing list. Unfortunately, you can’t ship to Massachusetts, so it went to my parents’ house in California and they drank it all.
Was that head gear you were wearing the latest head gear made from Uggs? Is that why you had it on there? Do they make head gear?
They do, go on the website, check out the stuff. Maybe I’ll get you guys some stuff.
I thought your hair was supposed to keep you warm, not that silly-looking hat.
I know, I know. But it’s warm, I started wearing them last year in practice and it’s pretty amazing how well that thing keeps you warm. Look, we’re not playing in San Diego anymore midseason.
Do you take any crap from the offensive linemen when you put that on?
No, those guys do the same thing in practice, they just want to think they’re tough in the game. Look what happens before we run out for every drive, and who are all the guys standing over by the heater? It’s all offensive linemen. They’re not wearing sleeves, but believe me, that little headgear that I’m wearing, that’s OK with them.
It seems that every week the offense has a different playmaker or target. Does this make practices tougher or easier?
Well, I’d say it makes it easier in that you never really know who the playmakers are going to be. I mean, you have certain plays where guys are designated as the first read, second read based on the coverage. So, whatever the coverage ends up being, that’s the guy you end up going to.
But, I think about our offense and everybody has opportunities. Wes has had plenty of plays where he’s the first read, plenty of plays where he’s the second. Deion is the same thing. Gronkowski is the same thing. So, if they’re open, they get it. If you’re the second read on a play, and you’re wide open but the first read was open, you know, you’re not going to get the ball as the second read.
Everybody understands that, and I think that’s what’s been so fun about playing with this group of guys. Everybody is really honest to our offense and what we’re trying to do. It’s a very unselfish group of players that are really committed to winning more so than any stat they may put up. Because in the end, the stats mean nothing, the only thing that matters is a Super Bowl championship. That’s why every team starts the season with the hope of that. You know, that’s what guys dream about. There’s no touchdown or rushing yard or interception mark or sacks that are going to make up for team success, and that’s what the Patriots have been built on.
Have you broken the news to the offensive lineman that two years ago they got Audis, last year they got Movados, but it’s Uggs this Christmas? Do they know that yet?
They should be happy with whatever they get. I’m the best Santa Clause they’ve ever had. Believe me, they love when I’m the one bringing the gifts in for them because I think they get pretty well taken care of.
I want to see [Logan] Mankins in size 18 Uggs.
I don’t think they have a shoe mold that would fit their feet, so, I’d send the order and they’d send it back if that was the case.