Tom Brady on D&C: Logan Mankins ‘wants to maul people’
|12.27.10 at 1:02 pm ET|
Brady was speaking from Rochester, N.Y., where the Patriots were snowed in following Sunday’s 34-3 rout of the Bills in nearby Buffalo. He spoke about the victory that clinched the top seed in the AFC and reminisced about his favorite memories of playing with Brown.
Following are highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, check the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
On his NFL-record streak of 319 consecutive passes without an interception:
As much as everyone points to me for that, so much of that goes into what we’re doing offensively. With the protection that I get from the offensive line, I’m really never forced into rushing throws. Also, we’ve been ahead a lot of these games, so you really don’t need to jam the ball into those tight areas that you would if you were really desperate in the second half, trying to get back. The receivers have done a great job of securing the catches. There’s a lot that goes into it.
It’s been pretty great ‘ we were talking about it this morning ‘ for the last, I think, seven games or something like that, we’ve gotten the ball 22 times off turnovers and haven’t given it up once. I think that’s a pretty impressive stat just from an overall team basis. All the guys work pretty hard at it. As you know, Troy, that’s something that’s preached every day, is turnovers and securing the ball. I think that’s really why we’ve been winning these games. So, that’s going to need to continue.
On what Bill Belichick’s approach will be for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins:
I’m not sure, obviously, but I’ll tell you this: It’s not going to surprise me one bit for us to go out there and to do everything we can to win this game. I think that’s just the way [Belichick] has been approaching things all year. I would really expect nothing different from that.
On him wanting to play every minute of every game:
Of course. That’s the best part of the week, to be out there playing. To have a game where we don’t play this week or the following week ‘ you really won’t play a meaningful game for three weeks. I don’t think Bill thinks that’s good.
On people questioning whether the starters should play in a game with no playoff implications:
I think it’s also the point that there’s only 45 guys active for a game each week. It’s not like in college, where you have 95 kids on the roster. In a situation like this, you say oh, what, so and so’s important but this person’s not important? I mean,that’s not the way it is. We’re all a part of this team. Listen, we’ve all been playing hard for the entire season. To go out and play this week ‘ I think all the guys are excited about a 14-2 record, 14-2’s a hell of a record. That’s a great goal for us. That’s as good a record as we’ve had, other than 2007. We’ve played a lot of good football teams this year, and to finish it off the right way this week, against a team that really is always a tough opponent for us, would be a great way to finish the season.
On if he is always focused on the moment:
I don’t reflect very often, I’ll tell you that. Maybe at the end of the season, or in March. I don’t think it does you any good at this point. Our goals for this season are ahead of us. And then next year we’ll set different goals. And last year we set different goals, and those have rally come and gone. The only thing you really have to focus on is what you have ahead of you and what you’re trying to accomplish. I learned that from coach Belichick. And really, all of us players take the lead from him.
That’s where your satisfaction is. It’s in the trying to accomplish the things we set out for. I feel that we’re really not where we need to be, although we’re going in the right direction. We’ve got our toughest games ahead. I’d love for us to go out this week and play a great game against Miami and see who we play there in a coupe of weeks. We’ve got plenty of time to worry about the playoffs. And the playoffs don’t start next week. We have one more game before that. I think that’s where it lies for us.
On his demonstrative behavior with teammates this season and if he felt the need to be that way with a younger team:
Partly, yes. There’s definitely that element where I don’t have [Troy Brown] to look at and rely on like I did for so long, or David Givens. Certainly, Deion [Branch] I do and Wes [Welker] I do and Alge [Crumpler] I do. But at the running back position, at the receiver position, at the tight end position, we have a very young team.
On the defensive leadership:
Early on in this decade, we were very much of a defensive team. So, the defensive leadership was so important to the team. That’s where a lot of our veteran players were. That’s really who we listened to and took our cues from. But I think the other thing is, you just try to stress the importance of the kind of opportunity that we have, because it’s not every year you’re in this position. When you do have an opportunity ‘ for example, yesterday, to seize home-field advantage, a first-round bye. Those are hard to come by. that doesn’t happen. So, you’ve got to take advantage when you get it, because every year is not going to be like this. When you do have the opportunity, you have to make it count.
On the play of offensive lineman Logan Mankins since he returned from his holdout:
He’s been phenomenal. He sets the tone for everybody. Logan is a different kind of guy. Logan is all business. He wants to go out there and he wants to maul people. It’s just his personality. He’s been like that since the first day he got here. Exactly what you see on the sideline is the kind of guy Logan is. He’s all about the team. He’s all about the team’s success. He’s a man of his word. He’s a hell of a teammate. He’s got obviously all the physical skills that you’re looking for. And his attitude and what he brings to the toughness of our group, is someone that’s really irreplaceable. That’s someone that is a huge asset to this offense.
On his favorite Troy Brown memories:
I think for Troy I have very vivid memories from being in the pocket and looking downfield and certain routes that he ran. Like, for example, in the Super Bowl when I was rolling out in ’03 against Carolina, rolling out to the left in the two-minute drill, and I fired the ball over the middle and Troy jumped up and made a hell of a catch in a situation we were backed up. I always can remember his eyes when I threw him the ball. His eyes would light up ‘ I mean, the biggest eyes you’ve ever seen. Just his concentration and focus whenever he saw the ball coming. Those are the things I think of with Troy. Troy’s the best. There’s only one Troy Brown, man. If you look up New England Patriot in the dictionary, there’s a picture of Troy’s smiling face right there.
On his biggest areas of concern on Sept. 5, when the season began:
I don’t think anyone really realized how it would go. We, as players, it was a totally new team, and it was going to be a different style than what we had. There still was a lot of transition over the course of the season with Laurence [Maroney] being gone, and Logan coming back, and Randy [Moss] being traded, having Deion, having Danny Woodhead ‘ all these critical pieces of the puzzle that happened over the course of the season.
So, on September 5th, I’m really not sure what I was thinking, other than just to try to figure out what kind of team we were going to be. But I’ll tell you, the way the team worked in training camp and worked in the minicamps, I thought we’d be a pretty good team. Everyone really loves to practice. Everyone loves to work hard. No one’s bitching or complaining about the things that our coach asks us to do. And I think that’s really the mark of a good team, a team that continues to make improvements over the course of the season.
And we’re not done making improvements. Guys are still finding roles for themselves and becoming more dependable each week. This is where you need to start playing error-free football. Because we’ve played now 15 regular-season games and four preseason games. That’s 19 games of football, over 100 practices. So, we’ve got to be really hitting out stride at this point. And this week would be a good week to finish it off.
On the transition after the Randy Moss trade:
I think what happens is, everybody has a different set of skills. And if we were to ask Deion to do all the things that Randy did, it wouldn’t work very well. If we were to ask Randy to do all the things Deion could do, that wouldn’t work very well. So, really, our offense has always catered to the strength of our players and what we’re able to do best.
You don’t see a lot of naked bootlegs from the quarterback position, because that’s not what I do well. That’s a news flash, I know. I’m not Michael Vick back there. What we do fits the way the quarterback plays, with the running backs the way they play, the way the line blocks, the way the receivers are able to run routes and get open. Really, what happens for us in our offense is our offense evolves to the strength of what our guys can do. If you do that, you can still be extremely efficient and score a lot of points. You may not have certain types of plays in your offense anymore, but you will also add other types of plays in your offense that you didn’t have before. Guys come and go over the course of the season, whether it be injury or trade or being released. That’s why the train keeps rolling.
On the MVP race:
My feeling as always is most valuable player in a team sport, to me, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. I can understand the most valuable golfer or something like that. Michael Vick, he’s a great player. He’s the best player for that team. He fits what they do well. And Peyton Manning fits what his team does well. Unfortunately, it’s really a quarterback award. Not a lot of other great players get that recognition, which they probably should. There’s so many great players in the league. I guess it’s something that they have to do. The only award I ever care about is a Super Bowl ring. That’s the only one that’s important to me.
On the production in the run game:
That’s something that we were talking about a little bit earlier on how your offense evolves. With Danny and with Benny [Green-Ellis], with those guys running the ball ‘ both almost had 100 yards yesterday ‘ it takes so much pressure off the run game. Any football team will always tell you that the first thing you have to do is establish the run or stop the run. Because if you don’t, you lose total control of the game.
We’ve been able to run the football great this year, very efficiently with what we’re doing. If we run it 10 times, we’re efficient. If we run it 30 times, we’re efficient. Which means we’re gaining yards and we’re not losing yards. I think that has set up really our two-tight end offense and our play-action passing game, because we’re able to run the ball. We really took control of the game yesterday because we were running the ball. That’s really what has carried us all season long, is the running game setting up our play-action passes.