Tom Brady on D&C: Brian Hoyer is ‘going to be a great player in this league’
|01.03.11 at 9:09 am ET|
The Patriots closed out the regular season Sunday with a 38-7 win over the Dolphins, allowing several backups to get playing time in the rout. “I think we got what we wanted out of it,” Brady said. “A bunch of guys got opportunities to play. … It was really a great win.”
Brady noted the play of quarterback Brian Hoyer and receiver Taylor Price, who made big plays in the first games of the season, as well as receiver/punt returner Julian Edelman. “That’s what this team is made of,” Brady said. “It’s a bunch of guys who are trying to go out there and give everything they’ve got. And I think that’s what we’ve done, that’s what worked, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”
Brady said he’s confident Hoyer could step in at any time for him. “He’s everything you’re looking for in a player,” Brady said. “He’s a perfect Patriot. He works his tail off, loves the game, is a student of the game. And he really performed well when he gets the opportunity, since the day that he’s gotten here. And I think he’s earned it. He’s going to be a great player in this league.”
Brady got his chance due to an injury to Drew Bledsoe, and Brady’s injury in 2008 opened the door for Matt Cassel to make a name for himself. This is not lost on Brady and Hoyer. “[Hoyer] could be the quarterback in the first quarter two weeks from now. You just never know,” Brady said. “And knock on wood as I say that, but that’s the way this game is. You never know when you’re going to get your opportunity. I certainly didn’t know when I was going to get my opportunity. And neither does Brian. But I know that I know that he’s prepared. And when he gets it, he’s going to do a great job with it.”
Responding to a joke about his car accident earlier this season, Brady said: “I still haven’t been through that intersection. I haven’t gone through. I’m avoiding it. Never again.”
Brady went on to discuss in more detail how players such as Edelman and Hoyer have been great students this season. “Both Julian and Brian, there’s a reason why they can go out like they did yesterday and play so well, because they’re prepared for the opportunity,” he said. “They practice so hard and they play hard and they work hard and they make a huge commitment to the team.
“I love the fact that I can be a mentor, I’ll you that. Because I learned from Drew, I learned from John Friesz. I learned from Jim Miller. I learned from Vinny Testaverde and Doug Flutie and Damon Huard and Matt Cassel. All those guys that I learned from, things that they do well and reasons why they’re successful, I take from all those guys. And I’m glad that Brian can look at me and say, ‘Man, these are some of the things that I want to do to be successful.’ Because that’s how you learn. You look around and you say, ‘Yup, these are the examples, and these are good examples and these are bad exempts.’ Julian’s got a great one to look up to in Wes Welker. Wes is such a great leader for that team.”
The Patriots were routed by the Ravens in the opening round of the playoff last year. Brady was asked what is different about this year’s team. “I think we’ve really bought into what our coach has been really preaching all year,” he said. “Last year was tough, losing the way we did. At the same time, we didn’t deserve it, we didn’t earn it. This team is really ‘ everything that we set for earlier in the year, we’ve earned.
“A lot of guys have come during the course of the offseason, even during the season, with Deion [Branch] and Danny Woodhead. But if you look at the additions, like Alge [Crumpler] and Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, the way that BenJarvus [Green-Ellis] has played this year.
“Just really the attitude of all the guys. I know earlier in the year everyone said, ‘How can you guys be better? You guys really didn’t add anybody.’ Well, we did. Coach [Bill] Belichick, he knows what he’s looking for. And he certainly found it. It’s been a hell of a year. Now, as he said after the game, we’re 0-0. Now, we’ve got to really see what we’re made of.”
Brady said the Pats won’t be victims of overconfidence or complacency. “Look, we’re playing the best teams in the NFL now,” he said. “There’s very little margin for error. Teams aren’t going to come in here and turn the ball over seven times like Buffalo did. … These are the best teams in the league. We’re going to have to play to that level.”
Added Brady: “The Super Bowl is a motivator for all of us. The reason why we play this game is to win a championship. There’s a lot of steps long the way. We had a lot of success here earlier, in ’01 and ’03 and ’04. That was really the last time we accomplished a goal. We had a great year in ’07, but you know what? When it came down to it, we couldn’t close the deal. So, I think I realize when you have a really good team and you have a great opportunity, you’ve got to seize it and you’ve got to take advantage of it, because you know what? It’s really hard to come by every year.”
Brady pointed to Woodhead’s play as one of the keys to the Patriots’ success this season, as things looked bleak when Kevin Faulk was lost for the season with an injury suffered in Week 2. Said Brady, “To lose Kevin, who’s been the most consistent, durable player on our team over the course of the entire decade, who has been a leader and captain, one of the most clutch players I’ve ever played with, to lose him for the season and then to have someone who really no one would have thought that Danny could step in and play the way that he has played this year, that’s been a huge boost to the offense.
“Because when you lose Kevin, you think, ‘Oh, man, this is going to be a long, long year.’ At that position, it’s really a specialty-type position. Danny has stepped in and has done a hell of a job. That’s a real credit to his work ethic and what he’s been capable of and what he’s overcome in his career.”