Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C: ‘I really let the team down’
|01.17.11 at 10:48 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning for his final weekly Patriots Monday appearance of the season. Brady completed 29-of-45 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in Sunday’s 28-21 loss to the Jets that ended New England’s season.
“Believe me, every Patriot player that was in uniform yesterday didn’t sleep well last night knowing that we didn’t do what we needed to do to win the game,” Brady said. “And certainly, I’m right at the top of the list in my disappointment in myself, that I really let the team down and didn’t play the way I was capable.”
Brady was asked about the trash-talking the Jets did last week, specifically Antonio Cromartie‘s comments that he hated the Patriots quarterback. “Honestly, I don’t care,” Brady said. “I’ve never met the guy. I don’t know why people say those things. I don’t really care why they say those things. It doesn’t affect me in my life. The guys that are most important to me are my teammates and my coaches, Mr. [Robert] Kraft, Jonathan [Kraft]. I’m very proud to be the quarterback of this team, and I take that very seriously and I take that responsibility very seriously.”
Added Brady: “They’ve had a good year. When you have a good year, you can say whatever you want to say. I wish we’d won just to be able to shut them up. But we didn’t. So, you know what? It just validates what they think it takes to win. That’s where they gain their confidence from.”
Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
How many hours of sleep did you get last night?
It was futile at about 2. I’m sure a lot of guys were pretty restless. I was certainly one of them. It was just a rough night, a rough day. Certainly, we had much higher expectations. We just didn’t get the job done. Obviously, it was a great regular season, but we didn’t win the game that mattered most.
Was that as good a defensive game plan as you’ve seen all year from an opponent? Were your guys as covered as they have ever been this year?
I think the Jets did a good job. They got beat up pretty good by us on the Monday night game. And then watching them play the Colts, and they played a lot more zone coverage against the Colts as well, and really kept it a close game and won it in the fourth quarter. That definitely crossed our minds that they’d be doing similar-type things. I still felt like they were going to try to match up with our receivers, and they did some of that. I thought what they did a good job of was they really mixed what they were doing between playing a more conservative three-man rush and four-man rush. It certainly wasn’t a very big blitz game for them. It was a very big blitz game for them in the second game, and in the first game.
I thought they made some adjustments. I thought we did some good things at times and were able to move the ball, we just didn’t do it very consistently. Scoring points ultimately — if you’re not making big plays — comes down to consistent plays. And we didn’t do that as an offensive unit.
The first two drives by the Patriots were nothing short of impressive other than with how they ended. Did those two efficient drives that ended with nothing take some wind out of the sails?
Those hurt. I think when you look at them, when you’re playing a very good defense, you’ve got to take advantage of the opportunities that you have. Certainly, as the first drive ended on an interception on a screen pass — you never imagine that will happen. The other one, we drop balls, that’s part of playing receiver. We had a third-down play there we could have executed better as well.
You’re right, we had two pretty efficient drives to start the game. To really only come out of it with three points was really — I think gave them a lot of fuel: ‘Man, OK, well, this game plan’s working, we can really play with these guys.’ I would have loved for us to be up 14-0 at that point, with them going, ‘Well, this game plan isn’t working.’ We certainly added fuel to their fire, and they played very well.
Believe me, I was wracking my brain all night last night realizing all the different things that I wish I would have done better. That’s why they won. That’s why they’re moving on. And that’s why all those teams that have won this weekend, because they pretty much played without any errors. We made our fair share.
What changed yesterday [from the Monday night rout]? It seems impossible for the same two teams to take the same field and have things changes so dramatically.
I think the difference was they didn’t make any mistakes. They didn’t have any penalties, they didn’t have any turnovers, they played well in field position, they didn’t give up any big plays on defense. In the last game, they gave up some big plays against us — some 50-yard gains, a couple of 20-yard gains for touchdowns.
I think they really came into this game saying we’re not going to give up those plays when we blitz. We understand there’s going to be times when they play man coverage. But I thought they mixed their zones in. And there was some pretty tight coverage in the zones. that was the game plan. They wanted to say to you, here’s what we’re going to do — very similar to the way they played the Colts. Like I said, we had our opportunities. But we’re not going to win games if we turn the ball over, if we can’t make critical plays in critical situations. You’re not going to win those games.
It’s really tough to get over. We will get over it, but not for some time.
When [Deion] Branch and [Wes] Welker said they played more zone, kind of surprised you by playing more zone. Does that include the corners? Were [Darrelle] Revis and Cromartie playing man and the guys playing zone behind them? Or was everyone in a zone?
There was just a lot of coverage on the inside part of the field. And I think they really expected Cromartie and Revis to cover the outside parts of the field, which I thought, those two corners, that’s probably what their strengths are. Not a lot of teams are making yards on them on the outside part of the field. I thought we ran the ball well at times. We really tried to stay balanced. When they had their little guys on the field, we were running the ball a little bit. When they put their big guys on the field, we were trying to take advantage of throwing it. We weren’t effective enough in our play-action pass, making big gains out there to take them out of what they were doing. I think more so than anything, that’s what it came down to.
Driving home last night, I said, ‘God, we just never put any pressure on them.’ When you’re playing at home and you have a great advantage of playing at time, you’ve really got to take advantage of those situations. And we didn’t do a very good job of that.
Some have wondered where the sense of urgency was late in the game. Why weren’t you in the hurry-up?
It was a two-score game, but it wasn’t a two-touchdown game. We had the drive there in the fourth quarter where we had the opportunity to score the touchdown. Instead, we kicked the field goal. But had we scored the touchdown it would have been a three-point game with four minutes left.
They had a lot of dime groupings out there with six defensive backs. It’s hard to think we’re going to throw the ball all day with that grouping. I thought we said, alright, we’re going to take advantage of this matchup, still move the ball down the field, which we did, but when we got down to the 15-yard line we just sputtered. We didn’t execute the plays we needed to execute, which didn’t allow us to score the touchdown which then led to the field goal, and then making it a seven-point game and we tried to kick the onsides kick. They scored again to make it a 14-point game.
If we were down 15 points, it’s a different story, but being down 10 points, I thought we felt we could score a touchdown and then with two timeouts left and four minutes, we felt we had plenty of time to get down the field and hopefully kick the field goal to send it to overtime.
Did the Wes Welker benching sit well with everyone or create a pregame distraction?
That had no bearing on the way that we played as a team. I think that’s just, I don’t know, I don’t think it had any effect on the game. What has the most effect on the game is the way that we played.
Believe me, every Patriots player who was in uniform didn’t sleep well last night knowing that we didn’t do what we needed to do to win the game. Certainly, I’m right at the top of the list in my disappointment in myself, that I really let the team down and didn’t play the way I was capable. That’s really what my thoughts are.
What one mistake kept you up?
It always comes down to the interception. That’s the one. It’s a play that’s probably the most conservative play in the playbook. Those are the ones that bother me the most.
How do you change your approach to season when it seems like the regular season means nothing, top seed and home field means nothing?
None of that does mean anything. You play all season to put yourself in a position, like we did, to have the bye and get guys healthy and to play at home. But it’s going to come down to who plays the best game that day.
It takes a lot of work to get back to the point we were at. But that’s part of what our job is. There’s resiliency and mental toughness by the group of guys that were put together on this team. We said the same thing after last season. No one really thought, ‘We’ve got to get all these new guys and players, and the Patriots are going to not have a very good team.’ We really came together and put the work in, finished off with a great regular season.
It’s hard to win the Super Bowl. Every year that you go through it, it’s disappointing when you lose, whether it’s the Super Bowl, whether that’s the AFC championship games — we’ve lost both of those — or this game. Those are all hard to get over. There’s 32 teams that are playing. There’s one team that’s going to win. Anytime you lose, it’s extremely disappointing. There’s going to be 31 teams disappointed this year, and we’re one of those 31.
You now have lost three straight playoff games. Is that a disturbing trend?
There’s only one Super Bowl winner. If we win this game and win the next game and lose the Super Bowl, it’s the same feeling. If we win this week and lose next week, it’s the same feeling. Any time you don’t win the Super Bowl, it’s a disappointing end to the season. There’s only one reason why we’re playing, one reason why we prepare and work and coach [Bill] Belichick coaches and Mr. Kraft puts together a team, and that’s to win a Super Bowl, especially with the expectations that our team has had, for our fans and all the states that support out team, and that’s to win a Super Bowl.
It takes a good game to win in the playoffs. We didn’t play our best game yesterday and the Jets did. The truth is they did. They played a great game against the Colts, and that’s what it took to beat them. They played a great game against us. If they play a great game next week, they’re going to be tough to beat also. That’s how playoff football goes.
You looked like you had red, watery eyes, dressed to the max, and you were seen sniffing an ammonia capsule. If you had the flu, would you say?
I didn’t have the flu. I felt fine. I’ve been dressing warmer as the season’s gone on. I felt fine.
What about the ammonia?
We all do it. It’s kind of a receiver and quarterback thing.
Did you think the Jets were classless after game?
I didn’t pay much attention to them. I didn’t pay much attention all week. I knew they were a tough opponent. They’re always tough when we play them. They have good offense, good defense, good special teams. They played really well. We didn’t put enough pressure in them. However they chose and choose and will continue to act, that represents their organization. We represent our organization our way. I really don’t care the way they act. I really don’t. I’m really proud of the way our guys conduct ourselves. I think we’re going to continue to go out there and work our butts off to be back next year with as much focus and determination as we had this year.
You didn’t pay attention to what Antonio Cromartie said?
Honestly, I don’t care. I’ve never met the guy. I’m sure he’s just, I don’t know why people say those things. I don’t choose to, I don’t really care why they say those things. It doesn’t affect me in my life. The guys who are most important to me are my teammates and my coaches, Mr. Kraft, Jonathan [Kraft]. I’m very proud to be the quarterback of this team. I take that very seriously. I take that responsibility very seriously. I think it’s going to take a lot of veteran leadership to get us back to the spot where we need to be next year.
You’ve never met Cromartie?
No, I’ve never met him.
You have something in common with most of his eight kids, then.
The Jets, look, they’ve had a good year. When you’ve had a good year, you can say whatever you want to say. I wish we’d won just to be able to shut them up. But we didn’t, so it just validates what they think it takes to win. That’s where they get their confidence from. Like I said, I certainly wish we’d went out and executed a lot better. But we didn’t. That’s something we’re all going to have to deal with and work through. Like I said, every year that we’ve lost in the playoffs has been really disappointing. This year is no different.
What’s the feeling today now that you have nothing to do and nowhere to go after going 100 mph all season?
It’s very strange. It just ends very abruptly. I think you’re always hoping that you’re in that final game of the year. I haven’t put any thought into anything really.
Are you excited about the Pro Bowl?
Pro Bowl? I believe the exit physical is today.
That might not go well.
Yeah, I don’t think it’s going to go well.
The strip sack to the arm did not look pain-free.
Yeah, they got me pretty good. I’m fine. It’s just a bruise. It’ll be fine, though. The one positive I thought about on my way home after the game was the guys who come out of the game healthy can really have a good offseason. A lot of guys over the course of the season, like Wes last year, you have to get all that surgery and rehab. Fortunately, I won’t have any of that. I’ll be able to get working right away and work on becoming a better quarterback for our team next year.
A lot of people thought you were going to be targeting Cromartie because of his comments and torturing him like you did Anthony Smith of Pittsburgh, but that didn’t happen. Were those erroneous expectations?
There’s no personal vendetta out there. You’re trying to do the things you need to do to win a game. I thought we had a great game plan. If we would’ve executed better early on, we could’ve really created some space between us and taken them out of their game plan. The way we played, they just kind of hung around, hung around and they made a few plays — the scramble play that [Mark] Sanchez made, the great catch by Santonio Holmes. That really enabled them to take a significant lead in the game. We battled back, and I’m proud that we fought to the end, but our lack of execution at critical points in the game limited our ability to score points.
Would you call the sacks yesterday coverage sacks? Is it fair to say your offensive line did a pretty good for the most part, but you just had to hold the ball longer than you wanted?
I haven’t watched the film yet. I thought the offensive line had played incredible all year. Those guys work their [butts] off every week to protect us, obviously me as a quarterback and protect our running backs in the run blocking. And they did a hell of a job of that. I thought last night they were great. I was looking around for guys and maybe I missed some of them out there. I’ll have to look at the film and evaluate the things that I need to do better when we play the Jets the next time.
There were a lot of misleading stats in this game. Time of possession and number of plays run and first downs really don’t mean a lot if things aren’t clicking when it’s time to score the football.
Yeah. You look at the first two drives of the game. We moved the ball great, we got first downs, there’s execution. There’s three points. When you have those opportunities, you have to make them. We got back to the red area in the fourth quarter and you have to score a touchdown. We can’t kick a field goal. We kick a field goal, it puts us in a tough situation. Once again, we didn’t do it. I think that you’re right. Stats are very misleading. Stats are always very misleading. You’ve got to really understand what we’re trying to do and how we try to do it. I don’t think you can look at a stat sheet and say, ‘OK, this is how it always goes.’ That’s very, very rare.
Did you find Wes Welker’s press conference funny when you first heard it?
I didn’t hear much about it until that night when people were texting me. I think Wes, that’s just Wes’ personality. Wes is a very fun, positive, energetic person. I think that with all the things that were coming out of New York, Wes just though it would be funny to combat it in his own way.
I don’t think that’s any reason why we lost the game. I don’t think that would’ve been any reason why we won the game had we won the game. I think all that stuff that happened over the course of the week really didn’t have any influence on the game. What had the most influence on the game was an interception in the red area, not scoring the ball when we get to the red area, settling for field goals, not converting on third down, not making the critical fourth-down plays we needed to make. That had the most influence on the game.
What happens to the hair now that the season is over?
I don’t know. I haven’t put much thought into anything other than what I need to do to be a better quarterback. That’s probably where my thoughts have been since the game ended last night.
If you’d like to raise a lot of money for the Jimmy Fund or something when it’s time to cut it, we can probably make a charity event.
That’s a great idea. That’s a hell of an idea.
Do you feel like you guys are set up to do it again next year and the year after? You have a lot of young guys and a lot of draft picks. Do you think you’re going to have a few more shots at this?
I sure as hell hope so. I’m not going anywhere any time soon. Coach Belichick, what he allows us to do as a team and the coaching that he gives us, is the best. There’s no one better. When you have the best coach and the best owner, you’re set up to be successful year after year playing for the Patriots. As long as we have a group of guys that are tough and resilient and work hard, that love the game of football like the guys we have this year, we’re always going to win games.
Sounds like Logan Mankins you’re describing.
Logan’s the ultimate guy. There’s nobody better than Logan. Logan’s the best at his position, everything you look for. He’s a phenomenal person. He’s a phenomenal player. I hope we get him back.
How long will it take you to get over the loss?
You never get over losses. I’ve never gotten over one loss I’ve had in my career. They always stick with me. Some teams play and they only make the playoffs and that’s a hell of a year. That’s not what the Patriots are all about. I don’t think that’s the standard that guys like Tedy [Bruschi] and Willie [McGinest] and Ty [Law] set for us. Our expectations every year are to win the Super Bowl. When you don’t do that, there’s disappointment that lingers for a long time. Fortunately during the regular season, you always have a game the following week. In the postseason, you don’t.
Everyone will go their separate ways for the time being. Hopefully the labor situation will get itself sorted out. Everyone will come back to the mini-camps. It’s a new season. The one thing with the Super Bowl and the end of that Super Bowl game that I’ve always felt is that’s the start of a new year. Until that Super Bowl ends, you always feel unlucky. You know how you feel. And then when that game ends, you’re like, ‘Man, I’m so happy the season’s over.’ Because your goal is to win it all. It takes a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of great play at critical times. We did that over the course of the season at really critical times. We just didn’t do it yesterday. So it’s going to last for a long time.
Since this is your last appearance with us, we just want to thank you for answering the bell every Monday morning. I’m sure there were some Mondays you didn’t want to get up and talk to us.
I appreciate you guys. You guys are always so sensitive when things don’t go so well. As competitors, we want to do the best for all of our fans and we want to do the best for our teammates, for our coaches and for everybody that supports us. Believe me, it’s very disappointing for all of us to not live up to the expectations that we all set, whether it’s our fans or Mr. Kraft. That’s the disappointment that we feel. Hopefully that continues to motivate us going forward. I’m sure it will. I know it will for all the guys that were a part of this team. We’re going to move forward. We’re aware of what we need to do to be better. I look forward to seeing what that all means.
I think that’s the first time anyone’s called us sensitive.
You guys are, I’m telling you. You are to me, at least.
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