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Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C

01.10.11 at 12:14 pm ET
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Tom Brady is the first to admit how important Billl Belichick has been to his success with the Patriots. (AP)

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning after spending the weekend in New York, watching the Broadway play “Lombardi” on Saturday night.

Brady addressed Jets coach Rex Ryan‘s comments that Peyton Manning is the best-prepared quarterback in the NFL and Brady gets more help from Bill Belichick than he lets on. He also talked about what the Patriots have to do to beat the Jets in Sunday’s playoff matchup.

Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Was Rex right? Peyton Manning studies film like a bookworm, and you go see the “Lombardi” play on Saturday night with the Jets on TV. Where is your commitment to winning football games, Brady?

Oh, man. I think everybody’s obviously entitled to their opinion. And maybe he’s right. He’s a good coach. I’ll just keep getting ready like we’ve done all year, and hopefully we’ll go out and play well on Sunday night. It’s going to be an exciting week for us. I think everyone is already in the game-week mode, getting ready, getting prepared. It’s going to be a hell of a game, it’s going to be a tough game. I’m excited to play the Jets again.

When you hear Rex say that, does it anger you, amuse you or motivate you?

I don’t think any of the above. I don’t think anything that people really say has bothered me good, bad or indifferent over the years. Everybody has their opinion of people and things and places. All I know is that I feel really confident with our team and the way our team prepares each week. I’m sure we’ll be prepared going into this game on Sunday.

The only thing that I really care about is us being ready to play each week. What someone may say about it — I have a lot of respect for him as a coach and his ability to get his team ready. He does what he needs to do and I think we’re going to what we need to do.

So you’re telling me that Anthony Smith back in the day didn’t piss you off a little bit? Because you not only targeted him, you tortured him in that Pittsburgh game [in 2007].

You’re motivated by different things. We’re all at the point this year where we’re motivated by much more than what people may say to us, or about us. We’re motivated by the fact that we’ve got a great opportunity to be playing a division rival at home for the most important game of the year. That’s plenty of motivation for us. We’re going to let our play do the talking as we always do.

There’s going to be a lot of hype and buildup and people saying things. And the reality is none of it matters. What matters is that whistle’s going to blow at 4:30 on Sunday night, and the team that executes the best and is the most prepared is going to be the team that wins.

You cut right to it, there’s going to be a lot of things said this week, but none of it’s going to matter. What’s going to matter is how well we’re prepared and how well we execute on Sunday.

One thing he did say that I’m not sure you’d dispute is he said you get a lot of help from Belichick, or you have over the years, and Peyton, I guess, doesn’t even look for help from the coach, just tries to do it himself. Would you disagree with that?

I get a ton of help from our coach. Of course we do. I think we have the best coach in the history of football. I think we’ve got a great offensive staff, a great defensive staff, ones that get all the players prepared. Coach talks about being a smart, tough, physical football team that plays well under pressure. Part of us being smart and prepared and ready to play is our coaches doing their homework. We use whatever we can to get ready to play, and the guys that are on this team certainly buy into what our coaches teach us.

Coach comes in every Wednesday morning — it will be Tuesday morning this week — and says, “These are the things we need to do to win,” and he’s right damn near 100 percent of the time. If we can go out there and play that way this Sunday, then I think we’re all pretty confident that we’re going to play a great game. And if we play a great game, we’re going to be tough to beat.

That subject comes up on occasion: What if Manning and Brady had switched places? If Manning had played his career for Bill Belichick, do you have any doubt that he’d have more than one ring?

There’s so many hypotheticals. There’s 25,000 different scenarios you can come up with. He’s a hell of a player and I’ve always admired the way he plays. His preparation is second to none. I know him very well. We’ve talked over the years about different ways to prepare. He loves the game and he thinks about the game day in and day out, like all the great players do. Just like the Vince Wilforks do and the Deion Branches do and the Wes Welkers. When you come home at night after practice, you’re thinking about practice, you’re thinking about what you’re going to do the next day.

It’s pretty interesting, I did see that show on Saturday night, the “Lombardi” show. It’s pretty interesting when you look from the outside in at the perspective of a coach. I know coach Belichick, they constantly are thinking about the game. One game ends — “Yeah, it’s great, we won” — and then immediately you start thinking about the next opponent and going, “God, this game’s going to be tough, and, “How are we going to beat these guys?” I think all of us think that way. It’s not something that you check out of your job at 5, 6 o’clock and you say, “OK, we’ll pick this up tomorrow morning.” It’s always on your mind.

Do you think other [NFL] coaches get up and say stuff and guys in the meeting room go, “I’m not so sure this is going to work.” That doesn’t happen with Bill Belichick, right?

I’ve never been in those other rooms. I don’t know what they talk about. I don’t know what they say. I do know that coach Belichick, when he speaks to us, he just speaks the truth. That’s all he does. He doesn’t lie to us. If we’re not playing good, he tells us. If we’re playing good, he’ll tell us we played good. But he’s not going to sugarcoat things. If there’s a bunch of BS going around, he doesn’t buy into that.

And the only people that can really change the fate of what we are able to do each week are the guys sitting in the room. He doesn’t buy into all the other stuff, the buildup, the reporters, to make their jobs easy by giving them a bunch of stories. He’s committed to doing what’s best for our football team. And the players respect that, more than anything. And you respect that he does tell the truth. And he coaches everybody the same way. He coaches an 11-year veteran like myself that’s been here this whole time the same way he coaches a rookie tight end. And I think the players respect that.

It takes a certain kind of football player to play for the Patriots. Those are always the kind of guys that he’s looking for. It’s worked out well for us this year. We’ve got a great opportunity. Like I’ve said, we’ve had a good season, but really, none of it means anything at this point. Now we’re all in the same boat. I think it’s up to us to go out and earn it this week. It starts with a great day of practice tomorrow. Obviously, everyone’s been preparing since that game ended on Saturday night. Everyone’s going to be ready to go, I promise you that.

Everybody understands the value of an extra week to heal up and get right physically and all of that. But specifically, what advantage does the extra week provide for your coaching staff and you in terms of cerebrally getting ready for this football game? Why is that bye week extra that Belichick and you have such a good record afterward so helpful?

Well, I think you can sit back and really look at the things that — you can really get a jump start on the opponents. I think we all — the coaches and some of the other players in particular — got a good jump on any of the three teams that we could potentially have faced. As well as look at some of the things that we’ve done and evaluate those and see what hasn’t worked so well and see what’s worked well and see how we can incorporate those into these games.

I think everyone’s trying to get to the stuff that they do best this time of the season. We’ve got to continue to be balanced on offense. I think that’s one thing that’s really shown up with our running game, to be able to run the football in crucial situations. Our execution in the passing game can always be better, there’s no doubt about that. I think we spent two days of practice out there, on Wednesday and Thursday, in very, I would say, intense training camp-like practices, getting ready for this week’s opponent. Because whoever this opponent was going to be was going to definitely improve from the previous weeks. And I’d say the Jets definitely have done that. They’re a better team this Monday than they were last Monday. I think we were committed to making sure we felt the same way about our team.

I’m just trying to get my mind around this, Tom. I was in front of the TV like most New Englanders, watching every play, every snap of this game, it was a great game. You were in a theater watching the “Lombardi” play, correct?

Yeah.

How’d you find out who won?

I saw the second half of the game. I got home and watched the second half. You know what happens to me is I get very anxious watching those games. I was watching the second half and I was actually kind of pissed that I watched it because I didn’t go to sleep ’til 3 in the morning. You just get riled up as I watch them, and then I start rooting for a team to win, and that’s not really what I want to be doing. I figure I’ll get enough, I’ll see the game. I’ve seen that game [on tape]. You know, it’s just something I wanted to do with my wife.

Did people leave you alone, or were they all saying, “Hey, the Jets just scored,” or “the Colts just scored.”

I was checking my Blackberry from time to time. I wanted to see what the score of the game was. It was something that we knew we were going to be there [in New York]. I actually didn’t know who’d be playing on Saturday night. You get those tickets pretty far in advance. I still probably wouldn’t have been watching it. I got suckered into watching the second half by my two best friends. I probably wouldn’t have watched it. They said, “Let’s just sit down and watch.” They like watching football with me because they can learn a little bit.

I used to watch all the Monday night games and then I get a little riled up watching those. I love watching. I just don’t like getting all fired up on a Monday night at 11:30. Or in this case, on a Saturday night at 11:30.

In your estimation, what’s the one element that separates winning from losing in the postseason?

I don’t think you’re ever going to find one stat that tells the story. I think each of those things, I wouldn’t say individually this team’s got a better coach, or this team’s got a better quarterback, this team’s got a better nose guard. I don’t think any of those really matter. I think what matters is decision-making. I think that’s the key to being a good football team. Everybody making good decisions. And that’s good decisions during the week of practice, and getting your rest, being prepared for the week. Ultimately, it comes down to decision-making on game day. And everybody collectively has to do that — the guys who handle the ball, the defensive players reading their keys and playing disciplined.

There’s a lot of reasons why teams win or lose. You can look at each of these games and the key, critical plays in these games. It certainly doesn’t matter home-field advantage or any of that. That makes no difference. We’ve won plenty of big games on the road against great coaches and great quarterbacks over the years. What it comes down to is the guys collectively being prepared, being ready to play, being so prepared that you can go out there and play with anticipation and confidence on game day. And then ultimately, it comes down to when the whistle blows, everybody on the field making great decisions and executing well. When you watch these games, that’s what I’m looking for — the guys who are prepared and not buying into all the distractions and all the hype, the guys who are ready to play. I think that’s more so than anything.

On Sunday at 4:30, does 45-3 have any effect? Does it matter at all? That’s the theme in New York right now: The fact that you guys just kicked the crap out of them a month ago gives them a chance for revenge. In fact, Dustin Keller said, “It’s payback time.”

No, I don’t think it’s going to have any bearing on what happens this weekend. Not in any situation. But like I said, you can have the whole team talking — “We’re going to get them back,” and, “We’re going to do this,” and “We’re going to do that,” and, “We’re going to play this,” and, “We’re going to play that” — that doesn’t mean anything, either. To me, it’s just a lot more hype than it is substance. What really matters is what you do when the game starts.

We could sit here and make a bunch of predictions, and, “These are all the things we’re going to do.” That’s just not the way we go about our business. We let our play do our talking. We handled it the same way, it was the same thing going into the last [Pats-Jets] game. There was all this hype and buildup and talk and, “This is what we’re going to do.” Then the whistle blows and then you’ve got to go play. That’s the same way it’s going to be this week. We’re going to see who’s ready to play. We’re not going to buy into all that. We’re going to go out and prepare hard like we always do and get ready to play the game.

Did you take psychology 101 at Michigan?

Yes, I did.

But he cheated off of Charles Woodson.

I did get a 2.0 my first semester, so I wouldn’t say I — I think did pass my psych class, though.

From a psychological standpoint, does a 45-3 win help your confidence more or motivate them not to get embarrassed and humiliated again? There’s got to be a little tweak of the needle one way or the other.

The only thing you look at is, you say, “OK, we played them, this is how we match up. If we play well, we can beat them.” It doesn’t need to be by 42 points. That’s not what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to beat them by one point. It’s going to take a lot of great execution. There’s a lot of reasons why that game ended up the way it ended up.

It doesn’t mean to say that — they’re not going to come in here going, “Wow, let’s try to repeat that and let’s do all the same things that we did in that game.” I’m sure they’re going to look at that film and say, “OK, these are all the things we’ve got to do to make adjustments to the things that the Patriots are doing.” We’re going to evaluate that game film, too, and so are they. And they’re going to put together what they think is best for this week’s game, and so are we.

They’re very much the same team that they’ve been all season long. After that game, they didn’t change at all. They look like the same team. For example, the Colts game. They went out and played a great game against the Colts. They deserved to win that game They made some big plays when it mattered. Like they’ve done all year, they’ve really come back in a bunch of games — the Houston game, the Cleveland game, the Detroit game. They showed a lot of resilience and mental toughness. And that’s why they’re in the position that they’re in.

We’ve got to understand the strengths of their team and hopefully not play into those strengths like we did in Week 2. We’ve got to go out there and play a great game of football. It’s the biggest game of the year. I think everyone by the end of the week is going to get tired of talking about it. We know these guys so well. The preparation is going to be what it is. Because we know them so well, it’s not going to be a big trick game. It’s not like they’re going to surprise us with anything or we’re going to surprise them. It’s the team that comes out and blocks better and tackles better, makes better decisions, doesn’t turn the ball over, gets the ball in the red area, converts on third downs, plays well in situational football — that’s the team that’s going to win the game.

So, you don’t think you’re going to see any wrinkles from them, just a little here and there, and you guys aren’t going to dust off the Statue of Liberty play that’s on Page 900 of your playbook?

No, I think that’s the point, is that the team is what it is at this point. They just beat the Colts. It’s not like they’re going, “OK, well, we’ve sure got to re-invent everything now.” The die’s been cast on both sides of the ball. They’re going to do the things that they think they do best, and that works well against us. That’s what game-planning is all about. You’re not trying to go in there and say, “OK, they’re not going to be working on this stuff.” You’re going to go in there and say, “OK, these are the things that we need to do to beat these guys based on what we have perceived weaknesses in their defense or perceived weaknesses in their offense, and we’re going to try to use those to our advantage.” That’s what game-planning is all about.

They lost Jim Leonhard a day or two before that Monday Night Football game. In your estimation, how big of a loss would that be? Would that be like [Jerod] Mayo going down, your defensive glue that kind of holds it all together, the day before a game?

I don’t know the role that he really [plays]. Just [through] film study. They know the kind of leader that he is. He obviously was that. He’s been starting for them since the day he got there. Rex obviously has a lot of confidence in him. But they have a lot of confidence in all their guys. They lost Kris Jenkins and they still had a hell of a year. [Darrelle] Revis was out for some time during this season and they played very well. There’s no really one player or one scheme that makes a team or a defense or an offense. It’s collectively that group that plays well together.

He was a hell of a player for them. We’ve had a lot of players go down with injury, too. The guys who go out there this week, they’re expected to go out and play their best, whoever that may be, for our offense. We’re going to play to the strengths of our players, just like I’m sure the Jets will do the same.

Would you recommend the play? Did you like the play? Do you think 20-30 years from now, there’ll be a hit on Broadway called “Belichick”?

[Laughs] It was good. I haven’t been to many of those shows. One of my best friends knew the guy who was producing the show. So, he said, “You’re in New York, maybe you want to go see this play.” And I had heard a bunch about it. Tedy Bruschi had gone and seen it and really liked it. I asked my wife if she wanted to do it and she said, “Sure.”

It was actually, it was really good. I think there’s a lot of history that coach Belichick talks about with us, and the history of the game, why it is the way it is, with Curly Lambeau and George Halas and Vince Lombardi and some of these really iconic figures of the NFL. To see the different ways that the players really interacted with their coach, then [I] reflected on my relationship with coach. There’s a lot of similarities between the two coaches. They demand the best of their players. And they don’t give a damn who you are or what you’ve done. They care about what you’re going to do this week.

I think that’s why coach Belichick has been so successful. He never takes his foot off the gas pedal. There’s no sugarcoating anything. It’s, “This is what we need to do, and this is how we’re going to do it. And if we don’t do it, we’re going to lose.” That’s how he coaches us.

What do you think he’ll do when he’s done coaching here? Do you think we’ll we ever get to know him? Will he open up? Will we get a look behind the curtain at the wizard some day?

I don’t know. I don’t know. He’s so much fun to be around. He’s got such a great memory, he’s got so many great stories, so many experiences with players and coaches in games. And he just loves football. More so than anything. That’s what he wants to do. That’s why I enjoy being around him. I heard Brett Favre, they said something about life after football, and his comment was, “Is there?” Unfortunately, in some ways I feel the same way.

Coach Belichick, he loves coaching, he loves this team, he loves this organization, he loves winning. There’s not much more you can say about a coach than that.

When you watch an opponent’s game film, what’s the first thing you try to look for with the opposing defense?

That’s a great question. I like to watch — of course, with the Jets, I’ve seen every game that they’ve played this year. I try to watch every game that the team plays. And what you do is you try to — you’re obviously looking for tendencies, and things that they like to do and things that they’re successful at. But you’re also looking for your matchups. You’re looking on how your tight end will get open on their safeties. How their cornerbacks will play against your receivers. We have a pretty extensive playbook. The nice part about our offense is we’re a bit diverse. We use multiple personnel groupings and multiple formations to try to explode the defense’s weakness.

You’re trying to search for the things that they don’t do well. You’re not saying, “OK, well, let’s see how many times we can throw it at Darrelle Revis this weekend.” I don’t think you go into a game finding their best player and saying, “Let’s really make sure this guy can stop us.” I think you’re trying to take advantage of the things that they don’t do well and not really do the things that play into their strengths. It’s a long process. It lasts all week. You make changes all the way up until game time. By the time the ball’s kicked off, you feel real confident with everything that you have on the call sheet. All the players are confident in the things that we’re running. And then you get to go out and see how well it works.

Has the University of Michigan called asking your advice on a new head coach, and are you a Les Miles guy?

That’s a great question. I love Michigan. I wish we were playing the national championship game tonight. I know that the people making those decisions, it’s always tough firing coaches and hiring coaches and finding the right fit. I don’t know those coaching candidates too well. The man that they get needs to understand how special of a place Michigan is, I’ll tell you that.

Did Michigan call you at all for any advice?

On occasion, but just more generically. I think they’re smart enough to figure out what they need to do to get the program back in the right direction.

We said earlier that we think tonight’s national championship game, in terms of a rooting interest, people not from Oregon or not from Auburn, look at this and say, “Am I rooting for Cam Newton or against him?” Do you have a feeling about that?

I root for the quarterbacks. I don’t know his whole situation. I know there was a lot of controversy surrounded by what had happened. But I don’t get into that a whole lot. I just like watching good football. That’s what I like doing. I’ll probably be in bed by 9:30 because we have practice tomorrow morning, so I’ll see about the first quarter and a half. But I’m sure it will be a great game. It’s two great offenses, I know that. It’s going to be a high-scoring game.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Peyton Manning, playoffs, Rex Ryan
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