Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C: Chad Ochocinco ‘going to be a big part of this offense’
|09.14.11 at 9:49 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning to analyze Monday’s 38-24 victory over the Dolphins.
Asked if he was going to downplay his 517-yard passing performance, Brady said: “Well, yeah. That was obviously a huge win for us. To start the year like that, from a team standpoint, was great. Miami’s always a tough place for us to play, and we’ve had some pretty miserable performances down there over the years. Due to the Dolphins defense, due to the different conditions, it’s always a tough place to play. For us to come out of there with the win, and to play pretty well on offense. Honestly, there are plenty of things that we can do better and we’ll need to do better, but to get that win under our belt was great for us.”
Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Was there even just a little bit of surprise that it clicked as well as it did in the hurry-up? After all, it was just Week 1.
That’s the thing about it, it is Week 1. One thing we talked about before the game was fighting through the adversities of the game. I think we have very high expectations for our offense. When we have negative plays, in some ways it’s demoralizing because we don’t think we should make negative plays. So, one thing that I thought we did a good job of was we kind of fought through those adversities when things didn’t go well, when we had three-and-outs. Or when they had scored and we responded to their score on two different occasions. I thought we showed a little bit of mental toughness, playing in a pretty hostile environment with the crowd noise, on “Monday Night Football” with all the different distractions. I thought as a veteran team, we played through some of those. That was another positive to take away from the night.
How often have you gone to the no-huddle, spread, shotgun from the one-half-yard line? And can you tell us what you saw when you came out and looked around and obviously liked the matchup with Wes Welker 1-on-1 with the DB?
I think sometimes we’re still trying to keep pressure on the defense. So, rather than sub personnel, we’re just trying to go fast and see if we can take advantage of them being a little tired. I thought Wes just had a good matchup. Whenever Wes has a good matchup, he’s usually the one that gets the ball. He and I have thrown a lot of passes, there’s been a lot of connections over the years. Same with Deion [Branch]. I have such a comfort level with those two players. Whenever they’re 1-on-1, they seem to find a way to get open.
Do you think you will get to that kind of comfort level with Chad Ochocinco at some point?
I certainly hope so. We’re going to need him. He does have my confidence, he has my trust. When he’s out there, I’m definitely looking for him. He’s going to be a big part of this offense. Whether it plays out in Week 1 or Week 3 or Week 5 — every player that’s on the roster is going to be counted on at some point.
The other good thing about the other night was there were a lot of guys that played a role in the game, from [Danny Woodhead] and [BenJarvus Green-Ellis] to all the tight ends to all the receivers, all the skill position players had plays that they made that helped us win that game. That should give us a little bit more confidence heading into this week against a damn good football team. That’s one of the best defenses that we faced all of last year. Like I said, we’re going to need to make some improvements from last week, because we’ve got a pretty damn good defense that we’re going to see.
A lot of guys — fans, media — were in awe of what you did. But when Chad Ochocinco says he’s in awe, you kind of roll your eyes. Tedy Bruschi yesterday on this station took him to task for that. He thinks that’s one of the problems Ochocinco has right now, is that he’s kind of just amazed at how good you are and this offense is. Do you get the sense that he’s got to keep his feet on the ground and just play and not be so impressed with the whole operation here in New England?
Chad, from the day that he got here, he’s worked really hard to be a part of this offense and be involved. I don’t know when he said that or what he said, but I know that we’re counting on him to be a huge contributor. And he expects that, too. He expects to be out there making plays. When I’m in the huddle with him, he’s very excited about being out there and making catches and doing the right thing and being in the right spot. He’s definitely done that over the course of training camp. So, anyone who’s come to see us in training camp knows that he’s been a part of what we’ve been trying to do since the day we got him.
I’m excited for him. I’m excited for our offense. Like I said, we need to clean some things up. When we do, I think we can be very efficient out there. There are some things the other night that I thought we definitely could have done better job of. And I don’t mean to say that in an egotistical way. That’s just a fact. We didn’t certainly play a perfect game. We definitely made big plays which contributed to getting the ball in the end zone. But we didn’t make a lot of — for example, we had three three-and-outs. As an offense, you never want to have three-and-outs. And we had three of them. Those are things we’re going to need to find ways to improve on. It’s early in the year. I’m glad when we make mistakes that we can still win the game. We’ve got to continue to do those things.
Are you at liberty to tell us what the original play call was before your audible to Wes Welker? What were you going to do?
Wes had a good matchup on the play. Like I said, when he has good matchups, he gets opportunities. That was a great play that he made, to run the route, to be aware of the defense, to see what the defense was doing, how they were trying to play him. I said after the game, It’s a pretty simple read for me. I’ve just got to throw the ball with him running straight up the field. He caught it, stiff-armed a defensive back and took it to the house.
It was a great play by Wes, great communication up front by the offensive line. We put a lot of pressure on those guys, because things change quickly in our offense. Not only with no-huddle, but at the line of scrimmage the play that’s called in the huddle isn’t necessarily the play that we’re going to run when the ball’s snapped. So, everyone is always on high alert. For someone like Nate Solder, and for Dan Connolly, who was in there [at center] for half the night, and for Brian Waters — we just got him a few weeks ago — they did a hell of a job up front.
There was no no-huddle on the Patriots’ first offensive series, and the next four series it was no-huddle. How does that decision get made? Who makes that decision?
Coach [Bill] Belichick and Billy [O’Brien] handle all that. They have a pretty good feel for what we’re seeing. It’s something that we’ve worked on. It’s a part of everybody’s offense. Everybody has different no-huddle packages, and we have two-minute packages. In a way, you’re just trying to change the tempo of the game. If you feel like you can go fast and put some pressure on the defense, that’s what you do. If you don’t, then you slow it down and you can be more methodical.
All of it is what our team perceives as what we think will work. Sometimes it works, sometimes it didn’t. I think that’s the frustrating part, is we do it really well on a few series, and then on other series we don’t do it as well. We’re going to need to improve all aspects of the offense, including our communication, including our execution. There were a lot of penalties and so forth that we’re going to need to improve on. That’s why we’re heading back in today to practice, to see if we can make some of these improvements before San Diego comes in, because this will be a big test for us.
Late in the third quarter, did you notice that corner Sean Smith was cramping up and thus targeted him and went to [Aaron] Hernandez with him sort of limping down the field behind Hernandez?
I see different things from time to time. Sometimes you see a good matchup. I don’t necessarily see everything. My reads take me to different players on different routes. I try to throw the ball where they’re not. I think that’s the idea of playing quarterback — to scan the field, to see your matchups, to know the routes you have called, to see the defense, to make sure the protection is the way you need it, and then ultimately to execute the throw. That’s a lot of trust I have on the part of every player out there that they’re going to be doing what they need to do to get open, to catch the ball so that we can communicate up front that the offensive line’s in the right protection scheme, and then to go out there and execute.
Like I said, with Aaron Hernandez and [Rob Gronkowski], those two guys have really worked hard over the course of training camp to understand — at a much higher level than what they were doing last year, because sat year they were still trying to get a feel for the offense. Now I think after a year under their belt, they have a better understanding of where they need to be and the route techniques so that when they do have a good matchup, they can make the play. That goes for everybody that was out there the other night. They all played their you-know-what off.
When did you find out you had 500 yards? And what does that mean to you?
I didn’t realize until late in the fourth quarter. And in reality, that’s part of our job. Some days you don’t have the opportunity to throw for that many yards. Some days you throw for 200 yards and it’s a great day. And some days you throw for 100 yards. The reason is you’re trying to take what the defense is giving you.
There’s other days where we run the ball great, there’s other days where it’s more of a ball-possession game, and there’s other nights where you have an opportunity, the matchups you get, the coverages you get and the way that the players are playing around me, really, it’s my job to do that. I’ve got to be able to make the throws to open guys. I’ve got to be able to see the field. That’s part of my job. Whether I throw for 200 yards or 20 yards, as long as we’re winning.
Especially at this point. I’ve been on a team that’s won 18 straight games, or 21 straight games over the course of two years. And I’ve won Super Bowls. So, yardage and touchdowns, none of that really means anything to me anymore. Really, it’s about winning the game and moving on to the next week and trying to make improvements. The margin of error next week may be smaller. We may need to play better. That’s what we’ve got to be prepared to do.
You’ve been on great teams, Super Bowl champion teams, 18-0 teams. I know it’s Week 1, or Week 2 now, but do you look around and say that you have the weapons, you have the guys around you that you need to have a big year?
We have expectations for a big year. But at the same time with those expectations, what we’ve learned is it’s a very short-term focus team. I think we have veterans on the team that when coach Belichick comes in and says, “Listen, we’ve got to have a good day of practice.” Everybody says, “One day” and all that. But with the New England Patriots, that’s how it is.
We’re focused on San Diego. If anyone doesn’t have San Diego on their mind today, they’re not going to be sitting in that meeting room. And coach Belichick is going to make sure that we’re ignoring all the BS that’s out there. One week, like I said, we’re great. Two weeks ago in Detroit we sucked, we couldn’t win eight games this year.
I think the important part is for us to come to work today and understand what we need to do to beat San Diego. If we don’t do that, then we’ll get beat by San Diego. Then all of our goals are going to go right out the door. So, each week is a different week. Each team presents different problems. Miami presented a set of problems that we did enough things in that game to overcome, and we won the game.
San Diego is going to present a whole different slew of problems. Over the course of the next five days, we’re going to figure out what we think we need to do to win the game. And that’s what we’re going to try to go out and do on Sunday.
There were a couple of throws you had Monday night where you seemed to have almost unlimited time. Does it ever start to feel unnatural? Is there such thing as too much time, where it’s gone on so long where you almost get out of a comfort zone?
For me, I love when plays work as you draw them up. Because when the play breaks down and you scramble and move around in the pocket, the timing’s off. Things happen pretty fast for me. When you’re the slowest guy on the field and every single person is tracking you down on defense, you realize you’ve got to get the ball out of your hands.
When I’m holding it for a long time, I realize at some point someone’s getting close to me. I know the other night, I’m just looking and looking and looking for a guy to throw it to. Eventually I lobbed one up there to Wes, hoping that we can make a great play.
I love it when the ball comes out quick and we can get the ball out to the guys who can do actually something with it. Because the reality is I can’t do anything with it, other than throw it. I need other guys around me. There’s a lot of quarterback that can make plays on their own, scrambling around, buying time, making throws on the run. That’s not the strength of my game. It never has been. For me to stand back there and find open guys, that’s what I think I need to do to help our team win.
Over the weekend, I believe it was ESPN ran this piece about Joe Flacco working on his footwork. Are those kind of technique things you have time to practice or feel a need to practice getting ready for a game? Do you work on footwork and ball-handling skills?
I work every day. Every day I work on it. Technique, to me, is what separates quarterbacks. Guys that have good technique I always feel will withstand the test of a season, will withstand the test of great teams with great coverage. Because technique allows you to throw the ball accurately, whether that’s footwork, ball-handling and throwing mechanics. Some guys get away with it from time to time with bad throwing mechanics, bad footwork. But in the end, I’m not a believer that that really lasts over time and under pressure.
If you can’t throw technically sound, then to me everything is lost. It’s like a golfer with a bad swing. At some point, it’s not going to work. The guys who play the best have the best technique. When you have the best technique, even if you make a little mistake, it will still look pretty good, because you’re so on plane. If you’re on plane throwing the ball, you’re on the plane hitting a golf ball, you’re on plane swinging a baseball bat, all those things are technique-driven. As a quarterback, to me you’re always trying to focus on your technique, your throwing mechanics so that you can throw the ball accurately.
There was a lot of talk the last few days about the window closing on you and this team, how many more chances you’ll get. Do you ever wonder how many more chances you will get and how much longer you can do this?
I’ve always said I want to play a long time. That’s been a goal of mine for a long time. I think I’m really committed to that. I just love this game. I love football. I don’t really imagine myself ever doing anything else. I really do appreciate it. I understand the sacrifices I make, and that we all make for doing something that we love to do, and I think I’m very blessed to play a game that love to do.
It’s the competitive nature of the quarterback position and the challenges that you have mentally and physically each week. Those are things that you’ll always miss. And I really missed those when I was out a few years ago. Not that I wanted to realize it that way, but when you miss a year, you realize how important a part of your life it is.
Everything that I do is to make sure that I’m out there playing every week. A lot of the nutrition and sleep and bodywork that I get and preparation that it takes to be out there every week, that’s another part that I really enjoy. I’ve always enjoyed that. Hopefully, that takes me a long way. Sometimes it’s out of your control. But there’s nothing more that I love to do than running out onto the Gillette Stadium field like I will be doing this Sunday, to lead our team. That’s really what I love to do.
Tom, I know you’re going to say Connolly will do just fine replacing [Dan] Koppen, but is there a difference?
Yeah, there’s always adjustments. [Koppen] and I, we’ve been together for a long time and he knows me very well. I think there’s a great relationship between quarterback and center. But the nice part is [Connolly’s] been here for a while and he’s been a reserve center for a long time. It’s not his natural position, but at the same time, the way he stepped in and performed the other night was huge for us. We’ll have a week of practice with him. It’s always more challenging when a guy’s just a thrown into the game, especially at the center position. But he’s performed great and we’re going to have a week of practice to get on the same page and he’s going to be in there as long as he needs to be. He’s been a veteran for us and a damn good player and we’ll adjust and move on.
Have you had a chance to look at what the San Diego defense offers?
Yeah, I’ve seen a lot. I got started on them a while ago. Even with the short week, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on these guys. We’ll start a game plan today. It’s a very aggressive team, a very aggressive defense and I think that’s something they’re doing a bit more this year. Pressuring the quarterback, playing a more aggressive style. They have some very aggressive players in the secondary and at linebacker. They have a lot of strengths.
We played them last year in San Diego and offensively, it was our least productive day of the season. I’m sure they’re feeling like they have a lot of confidence coming here. They’ve always played us well, it’s always been tight. We’ve had a lot of good games with them over the years. So it’s going to be a great game. It’s our home opener and I’m looking forward to it. We’ve always had some great battles and I think this is going to be another one.
Were you worried about the Nate Solder-Cameron Wake matchup on Monday?
No, I’ve never had a concern, in all the years I’ve been here, about protection, about whether they’re doing their jobs. Those guys have one of the best coaches in the National Football League coaching them every day. So I never have any worries about what we’re doing up front. Those guys work their butts off, they practice harder than anybody on the team.
Coach Dante Scarnecchia, our line coach, demands a lot out of those guys. In order to play that position, you’ve got to be selfless, you’ve got to be tough, you’ve got to be smart, you’ve got to be disciplined, and all those guys in there are just that. I love the group that’s protecting me; they’ve been doing it for a long time. I never go into a game worrying about protection.
What did you think about Jason Taylor‘s postgame comments to the media where he said, ‘Yeah, Brady hung 500 yards on us, who gives a damn? There’s next week. If you want to write a story about Tom throwing 500 yards, feel free. Congrats, he did a great job, we lost the game, we play again Sunday.’ He seemed nicer to you on the field than the reporters in the locker room.
(Laughs) He’s my buddy, I never worry about Jason. He’s an emotional guy. He and I have had many great conversations over the years, I’ve always enjoyed playing against him, so I don’t think he meant anything offensive to me or the team. He’s always been very respectful to the players. I’m sure he’s just trying to move on from the game. If you lose, you move on. If you win, you move on.
There’s no time to enjoy a win in the NFL. And there’s no time to sit and think about the losses or lose confidence from one game. You’ve got to move on, you’ve got to move forward, because you’re on a time clock. Once the game ends, you’re on to the next week. That’s what happens with us. We didn’t sit there and talk about the win, we moved on. We’re moving on today and we’re moving on to a damn good team for the weekend that’s prepared as they can be when they come in on Sunday.
Was Benny Sapp your buddy, too? Because he’s out of a job thanks to you.
We had a lot for Benny going into the game. He’s got a tough matchup with Wes, and Wes is a damn good player. Wes is a Pro Bowler multiple times and he’s had more receptions over the last few years than anybody else. Wes presents a lot of problems for a lot of defensive backs and he’s a damn good player that puts a lot of pressure on the first guy on his side. But I thought Benny was a damn good player, so that’s Miami’s decision.
Did you realize how many cameras were around when they were filming ‘A Football Life: Bill Belichick‘?
I didn’t realize it was extensive as it was and I don’t think coach Belichick wanted to let anybody know to be a distraction with cameras around and so forth. I remember the one meeting where they were in the room, and it’s pretty cool. I’m glad everybody gets to have a little bit of insight into the team. [Belichick] doesn’t let on very much. Like I said the other day last time we talked about it, you never want to give the other team any inside information, any insight into what we’re doing.
But I think it’s going to be pretty cool for a lot of fans. He’s coached a long time, he’s coached a lot of games and he’s a great coach and I’m sure everyone will see why in more detail in that sense than most people have ever seen. It’ll be fun for the players to watch and recall some of the things he talked about over the course of that season.