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Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C: Patriots ‘don’t make excuses for losing games’

08.29.11 at 10:20 am ET
By

Tom Brady

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had his weekly phone conversation with Dennis & Callahan Monday morning, on the heels of Saturday’s 34-10 preseason loss to the Lions. Brady said the Patriots would not downplay the disappointing performance.

“You don’t make excuses for losing games,” Brady said. “We’ve never done that around here. Look, when you lose, you get outplayed. We had a bad night, we had a bad day, and I think in some ways we all create expectations through winning: ‘Man, we had one bad play in the game. Man, why did I make a bad play?’ Ultimately, we have to do a better job overcoming bad plays so that we can make better plays moving forward.”

Brady also said his goal as a quarterback is to always make the best play available, even if that doesn’t always lead to success.

“There’s no excuse for not going out there and playing well in the game, because no matter what play is called, you can still do what’s best for the play,” Brady said. “It may not be a successful play, but maybe the best thing is to throw the ball away, or take a sack of the quarterback, or throw the ball only where your offensive player can catch it. … That’s more what you’re evaluated on, that’s how we evaluate ourselves more-so than the points on the scoreboard.”

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

Can a loss like Detroit’s have the same kind of effect that the Cleveland loss did last year?

Who knows at this point? You hate losing any time you take the field in competition. I’m sure there’s a lot to be learned, a lot to be understood by our entire team of the things that we need to do on a consistent basis so we can win games. We’re getting back to work today, we had yesterday off, and I think everyone’s excited to go in there and see what the issues were and see the positives that we can take from the game so we can move on and hopefully play better this week.

Is that human nature to look and respond to one small sample and say, “This football team is great,” leak into the locker room a little bit when you play that well [against the Buccaneers the previous week]?

We really try to make a concerted effort not to do that. Probably one of the great characteristics of playing for a Bill Belichick-coached team is that we don’t really listen to what anyone else says. We pretty much stick to what our coach is telling us, and he wasn’t as overly enthusiastic about the Tampa game. He thought there were plenty of things we could have done better, as there will be plenty of things we could have done better this weekend.

I think it’s all part of our maturation as a team. It’s all part of the learning process. Part of the training camp process is, How do we respond to things when they don’t go so well? How do we play on the road? How do we rebound from a tough loss? We got off to a pretty fast start last week. How do we respond when we don’t get off to a fast start? Those are all things that need to be conditioned into a team.

I think that we’re going out there, we’re working hard in process, and God, you wish it would show up perfect every time you take the field. Part of a high level of competition is that it doesn’t. In order to be at our best in a couple of weeks, we have to play significantly better than we played last week, but also understand that if we don’t get off to a fast start the things that we need to do so we can respond and ultimately play well enough to win the game, which is the goal.

How does a team like Detroit put so much pressure on you?

A lot of it is technique, and it’s not all protection. Look, if you’re an offensive lineman, you get beat at times. If you’re a quarterback, you throw interceptions. If you’re a receiver, you drop passes. That’s part of playing the position, and part of being very good at that is overcoming those things.

There’s times in the games where you get beat; there are times when you make a bad play. That’s part of it. When the quarterback gets sacked, a lot of times people blame the offensive line. Well, some of the times it’s the quarterback, some of the time it’s them having really tight coverage on the receivers. A lot of it is just us as a team collectively making sure we’re all on the same page so that you don’t get sacked, you don’t throw an interception, you don’t have plays that are negative offensively, like penalties or lost yardage in the run game. Those are all things we’re working on, those are things we need to do a better job of on a consistent basis, and hopefully they will a lot better here in a couple of weeks.

Did you look at the film already?

No, we got back pretty late yesterday morning, and with the hurricane. I’m heading in there now and going to watch the film. I’ve been thinking about it since obviously the game was over. We always do that. I think about all the things that I screwed up and that I need to do better. That’s why I’m anxious to get on the practice field and start to try to make improvements.

Do you know how close you were to getting hit real hard by [Ndamukong] Suh?

I heard him, probably. He’s a big man, he’s a very good player. We played them last year. One of the strengths of that team obviously is their pass rush. That’s truly what they rely on. When they do rush the passer well, they play well. When they don’t rush the passer, they don’t play well. So, that’s part of their strength,. And we have to understand the strengths of the teams that we play so that we can not play to those strengths and play more into what they don’t do well so that we can be successful on a consistent basis.

How much is there a team-specific game plan in preseason games vs. regular-season games? How much of the preseason is about just running your own stuff?

That’s the majority of preseason football. Most of the time in practice, we’re practicing against each other, the Patriots offense vs. the Patriots defense. That’s part of training camp.

How do you respond to Tedy Bruschi’s comments that the Patriots need to learn how to win when Brady doesn’t play well?

I love Tedy. He’s a great friend and was one of the greatest teammates we’ve ever had. Look, if a quarterback plays bad, it’s for hard any team to win. If the quarterback plays mediocre, of course you can win games. I mean, there’s not many times a quarterback can throw three interceptions and you win the game. The quarterback needs to play good.

I certainly try to go out there and expect to perform at a very high level in every single game. When I don’t, it’s extremely frustrating for me. That’s why for a day and a half all I do is think about the game, whether it’s a preseason game or not. When you don’t play to the level that you think you’re capable, you rack your brain play after play of, “Why did I do that? What am I doing? What do I have to do better?” There is an awareness created by a team to go out and play better.

It’s not a regular-season loss, it doesn’t count in the standings, but it identifies a long things we need to do better. The game is certainly important, the preseason game, but we’re glad that game didn’t count toward the regular-season standing. We’re going to go out there and have a good week this week and go certainly play a lot better this weekend.

Was there a miscommunication with [Chad] Ochocinco on the interception?

No, no — other than a terrible play by me. That was a bad play. I thought they were blitzing, and I checked it. I was trying to fool them, and they fooled me. They got me on that one.

Do Ochocinco and Deion [Branch] both have no receptions in the preseason for the same reason or different reasons?

I’m not sure. That’s the quarterback’s fault for not getting those guys the ball. I have to do a better job getting those guys the football, because they are very consistent playmakers for us, and I have to really make sure they are getting the football. That’s the point of playing quarterback — to get the ball to the guys who can do things with it. They are great players, they’ve been great players for a long time, and we’re going to find ways to get those guys the ball.

Is Ochocinco coming along?

He is. He’s been a great player for a long time also. Just in talking to him, he gets frustrated when things don’t go well for him either. He’s racking his brain, Why do I feel this way, why do I feel that way. He and I, we’re always in communication. I have a lot of confidence in Chad as a competitor. In the short time that I’ve been with him, he’s really fun to be around. He really loves playing the game. He’s going to be an exciting player, I’ve got no doubt about that.

Is he living with you know? Because he was looking for a place to sleep.

I don’t have enough room in my apartment for him. He’s makes a few bucks. I’m sure he can find a place to stay.

They say when coaches are really dedicated, devoted to their job, they sleep in the office. Ochocinco had no power, he was tweeting that he needed to find a place to sleep so he went to the stadium. When you go to the stadium to sleep do you just go in the trainers room? Have you ever had to do that? Do you think he’s right now in there curled up in the corner sleeping?

He may be. He maybe. There’s plenty of places. That big, old stadium, yeah, we can find places to sleep in there. … Most of the guys will sleep in the training room on one of those training room tables. I’ve done that plenty of times. Sometimes we’ve gotten home from West Coast trips really early in the morning and you lay down for 3-4 hours and then get up and you’re already at the stadium to start your day.

It seems like you can’t question his dedication. He might not be catching on so quickly, like a lot of guys don’t with your offense, but he’s putting in the hours, is he not?

Yeah, he sure does. He puts them in. He works hard at it. He’s fun to be around. He’s a guy that really loves football. And I think you can tell by his attitude out there. I think that he’s been frustrated, he doesn’t feel like he’s been himself because he’s still thinking a lot about what he needs to do rather than react. And we all do that. We’re all doing that at this time of the year.

Coming off a long layoff from football, we’re all trying to probably overthink on ourselves a little bit instead of going out there and being instinctive and reacting. That’s one thing I’ve been thinking about a lot and I need to do a better job is just going out there and letting my instincts take over instead of sometimes you overthink things and then you play hesitant and that gets you into problems.

Not that this is something you have to worry about, but with cutdowns coming over the next week and a half of or so, does the tone and tenor of the locker room this time of year get a little more tense, a little more serious for guys that are on the bubble?

Well, it’s always like that. There’s cutdown days, but you can be released at any point. It doesn’t really necessarily lead to this day. It’s a tough time of the year for guys that you’ve played with. It’s tough on the coaches. At the same time, your building on the excitement toward the regular season. In one way it’s hard to see some guys going, and another way you’re getting excited that you’re going to be playing in a meaningful game in a couple of weeks.

I can’t imagine what it would have been like if Matt Light had gone elsewhere, if [Logan] Mankins had gone elsewhere. Right now, are you comfortable? Saturday night aside, do you feel like the offensive line is going to be OK when the real games start?

I have no question about that. Our offensive line, those guys, I’ve played behind those guys for a long time and nobody has more confidence in those guys than me. Matt Light, him being on my left side, Logan and Kope [Dan Koppen] and [Dan] Connolly and Sea Bass [Sebastian Vollmer], those guys have been great players for us. Standing back there in the pocket, holding the football, I have so much confidence in those guys and what they’re able to do, the way they work together, the way they communicate, their mental toughness. They’re a bunch of tough guys and they take a lot of pride in what they do. There’s nobody more confident than me in that group.

Based on the performance and the play on Saturday night, will we see a repeat of last year’s Game 3 to Game 4 where the starters will play a little bit more than maybe anybody thought in Game 4? Do you have any idea what’s going to happen with the Giants game?

I’m not sure. I said after the game, I hope to go out there and play, and play as much as they’ll let me. I want to get through there and for us to really start stringing some good plays together, good drives together before the games do start counting. So, if it’s up to me, I’m playing a lot. It’s always up to coach Belichick, and no one really questions what he does because he’s been coaching for a long time. But I’m certainly going to put my two cents worth in.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Chad Ochocinco, New England Patriots, Tom Brady
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