Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C: ‘I won’t ever say that again’ about drinking before games
|09.19.11 at 1:32 pm ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady checked in with Dennis & Callahan for his Monday morning conversation, following Sunday’s 35-21 victory over the Chargers.
Brady created a controversy last week when he encouraged fans in Foxboro to get “lubed up” before Sunday’s late-afternoon start so Gillette Stadium would be loud and rowdy. He said Monday that he regretted how his joke played out.
“I hope there was nobody that was drinking irresponsibly,” Brady said. “I was trying to just make a very subtle joke. But for a guy that doesn’t even drink — me — it gets a lot of attention. I think that I won’t joke like that anymore. That wasn’t the best thing for me to say. I won’t ever say that again.”
Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
In my humble opinion, the most significant play yesterday is a play where nothing happened. The hit to your knee early in the third quarter could have been devastating. It was not. What’s your recollection of that moment in the game?
I’m glad I had a knee brace on. Those are scary, man, when you’ve been through those ones before. He got me in a good spot, and I’m glad the knee brace took the brunt of the force. Why I never wore a knee brace before, I have no idea. Why every quarterback doesn’t wear one on their left knee, I have no idea. It’s just so unprotected.
But we were able to kind of withstand those literally and figuratively, the different blows from San Diego. We made some good plays out there in all three phases. That was really a great complementary game by all of us in a team win. It’s a very good San Diego team. And really, if you remember last year, that was a tough game that we played against them last year. Had we not gotten the turnovers last year in San Diego, we didn’t do anything offensively. So, to come out and play this way offensively against a very good defensive team was I think very encouraging for all of us.
In Tedy Bruschi’s most incisive piece of analysis that did not include [Chad] Ochocinco recently, Bruschi said he’d like to see the Patriots win a game when you, Tom Brady, don’t throw three or four touchdowns or three or four hundred yards but on the backs of a dominating New England defense. Would you like to see that, and would that ultimately be helpful to this team going forward.
I think there’s going to be days where the offense scores points and the defense shows up against a good offense. I think there’s going to be days where the offense doesn’t score a lot of points and the defense needs to shut them down. That’s team football. You never know when those games come up.
Last year we had so many turnovers from our defense. That was a huge reason why we were successful. This year, that’s going to be another reason. We’re going to get the ball from our opponents like we did yesterday. Turnovers are a huge key to the game. I don’t know if Tedy doesn’t think that four turnovers is pretty good defensively. But that’s a great performance by a defense. That’s two back-to-back weeks of goal-line stands. Look, it’s opportunistic. Are you going to shut every offense down to below 200 yards in productivity? No, certainly not. Not in the NFL. But when we get our chances, we’ve got to be able to take advantage of that. We did, we’ve been doing it, we’ve got to continue to do it.
One more question about the hit on the knee: Did you get an explanation of why that’s not a penalty, why does that not violate the Brady Rule?
I think that’s the Carson Palmer Rule. I’ve got another one that the Raiders like to remind me about — the Tuck Rule.
I don’t know. As a quarterback you’re looking downfield, so you never — obviously if they’re blocked into you or if they’re pushed into you by an offensive player then that’s not a penalty. I really couldn’t tell. You feel where you got hit, and I talked to the refs. I’m like, “Look, we’re just standing in the pocket. We’re in a defenseless position.” Hopefully they’re trying to protect all the defenseless players out there, whether it’s a defenseless receiver or someone that’s out of the play and gets a cheap shot or the punter or a quarterback standing in the pocket. You leave it up to the refs to make the call. Sometimes they get them right, sometimes they don’t.
The tight ends, both young guys, still learning, are they always where they’re supposed to be? A hundred percent of the time, are they where they are supposed to be?
A hundred percent of the time, that’s every time. There’s times when we all make mental errors — you think one thing, your instincts tell you another. They’ve been very productive this season, this training camp. Rob [Gronkowski] was very productive last year, so was Aaron [Hernandez] when he got his opportunities. Now they’re primarily on the field for almost all the game, which they weren’t necessarily that way last year.
They’ve been able to take advantage of their opportunities. When they get the chance to make the plays in the passing game, they’re doing it. When they’re called upon to get [BenJarvus Green-Ellis] yards and [Danny Woodhead] yards, they’re doing it. They’re consistent players for us, very dependable, tough, and they’re making plays. We’ve got to continue to find ways to get them the ball.
Other teams as you go through the season will try to figure out ways to stop them, to slow them down. Then we’ve got to use other guys. We’ve got to get other guys opportunities. It’s a complementary game. If they’re covering the tight ends, we’ve got to throw it outside. If they’re covering outside, we’ve got to throw it inside. If they’re playing the pass, we’ve got to run it. If they’re rushing the passer, we’ve got to screen it. It’s a chess game. It’s constantly trying to take advantage of something that they’re not aware of.
When you look at the stats, if you indeed look at the stats, which ones do you think are most accurately reflective of how a quarterback has played, the most telling stat?
I’m not a big stat guy. I’m really not. I don’t think that it really is indicative of how a quarterback’s playing. You could throw for 700 yards, but if you have a gazillion attempts and you turn the ball over — there’s a lot of things that a quarterback position can do to help win the game, and that’s every position. So look, you’re a quarterback and you take a sack on third down and you own their 32-yard line going in, and now you’re sacked back to the 38-yard line, it doesn’t reflect on the stat sheet as a stat, but really it’s a terrible play by a quarterback to take you out of field goal range.
So, all those little things over the course of a game, to me, that you just have to watch and understand what the quarterback’s decision-making process is. Because every play, every time you have the ball in your hands you have an opportunity to make a decision. If it’s a good decision, no matter what it may be — there might be two good options on the play, but you can make a better decision, whether it’s to throw the ball away or take a sack. You never want to turn the ball over.
Touchdowns, whether you throw it in from the 1 or run it in from the 1, it doesn’t matter. You throw a screen pass from 50 yards out, yeah, it looks great for a quarterback rating and yards, but everyone else did the work. That’s why offensive football is totally complementary. As a quarterback, you’re only able to be as good as every single guy around you. From the offensive line protecting you like they did yesterday, to the running backs running the ball, to the receivers and tight ends being in the right position to catch the ball and making great catches. So, all the credit, believe me, is spread to every single guy on offense. That’s where it goes, that’s where it belongs and that’s where it always will be, especially around here.
Based on your reluctance last Monday to discuss with us that historical passing performance, I know you’d much rather prefer discussing things that didn’t go well for the team, because you’d like to improve on them. So, I’ll ask about a bad play yesterday. Fourth quarter, [third]-and-4 at midfield, incomplete to [Wes] Welker after [Shaun] Phillips tipped it. Not what you had in mind on that play, I’m assuming.
I thought I had a chance to get Wes the ball. Big third-and-4. And [Phillips] made a good play. He’s athletic. He actually intercepted a ball last week against Donovan McNabb to start the season on a similar type of pass. He nipped it. It put us in fourth down and we didn’t convert on the next one. If I had it back, I’d obviously do something very different.
Why were you upset at the officials?
On the one to Deion [Branch], I thought it was illegal contact or pass interference. He got the facemask as he was trying to catch the ball.
We made a list of mistakes we can talk to you about. The throw to Deion in the end zone, what happened on that? Do you share the blame with Deion? Was it miscommunication?
Deion was trying to work his way open, and I was trying to throw him open. There was someone standing between the two of us. I saw one thing, Deion saw another. What I really should have done was held on to the ball longer, because I wasn’t really rushed and we would have been able to sort it out with another half-second. I kind of forced it and ended up throwing it out of bounds. We had a pretty good scoring opportunity there.
I think the thing that’s frustrating about that early in the game is you know that San Diego, with their offense and what they’re capable of, that those times when you get the ball inside the 5-yard line, you got to be able to capitalize. We didn’t do that last year against them. We were 2-of-5 in the red area against them last year. So, it was really a big point of emphasis of getting the ball in the end zone when we’re inside the 5. We came away from that with just a field goal, which was frustrating for all of us. Certainly, we want to be able to punch the ball in when we have guys open and we have the opportunity. Now, if they make a good play, they make a good play. But to me, I could have held on to the ball a little bit longer and got the ball in the end zone on that one.
Where you and Deion were on the same page was at the end of the first half, after the Vince [Wilfork] interception. How does that’s situational football get translated to the field? Is it something said, is it a play called, is it just looking at each other?
Coach [Bill] Belichick, I mean, we’ve gone over that situation since the start of training camp probably six or seven times. Then it’s just a matter of execution. I thought that the guys up front, all the receivers and Aaron who was in there had a great understanding of what we were trying to do. And we took advantage of them giving up some soft coverage out there, and getting it — I don’t know how many yards we needed. We were on the 40, just past midfield, to start the drive. We gained 16-17 yards to get into [Stephen Gostkowski‘s] field goal range.
That was a big play. We were up 17-7, to go to 20-7 it feels pretty good. There was a lot of energy from our entire team going into halftime. Because we basically stole three points. They were going in, they had a two-minute drive, they were moving the ball. Vince makes a hell of a play, and then we’re able to take advantage by playing good situational football and then special teams coming through. , So that’s the defense making the play, offense making two plays and special teams making a play. That’s complementary football, and that’s what we’re trying to do every single time that we take the field.
You always point out how dumb you have to be to play defense. I think the Chargers made your point for you there.
Actually, that’s one of the smarter teams that we play. I have a lot of respect for those guys. We’ve had some battles against them. They’ve got great coaching, great players. We just made some good plays, to tell you the truth. They don’t know if you’re going for the end zone, they don’t know what you’re doing. We could have run a touchdown-scoring play. So, they’re protecting one thing, we take advantage of something else. You can’t cover everything out there.
You don’t have to cover the middle of the field, though, when [the Patriots] don’t have any timeouts, do you?
No, they don’t. I mean, you never know. If I throw it 45 yards in the middle of the field for a touchdown, you’d say, “God, why didn’t you cover the middle of the field?” Which, we’ve done that in practice. So, wherever they’re not, that’s where we’re going to try to throw the ball.
I know you probably don’t want to revisit the Bruschi brouhaha, Bruschi’s comments on Chad Ochocinco. But it struck me when I heard from all your former teammates — it was Rodney Harrison, Damien Woody, Troy Brown — they all kind of backed up Bruschi. It just seems like the point they’re making is what Ochocinco did was violate a simple rule you guys have: You can’t be in awe, you can’t be a spectator, you can’t be blown away by anything you guys do. It’s just business. You’re just doing your jobs. And Belichick said the same thing after the game. Is that just kind of a rule you have to live by if you’re going to play for the Patriots?
We all just are trying to do our jobs. That’s the thing about it. As a quarterback, that’s why it’s so fun playing for the Patriots. Because all I have to do is play quarterback. I don’t have to worry about coaching. I don’t have to worry about personnel. I don’t have to worry about the running backs. I just have to play quarterback. And that’s what I’m trying to do.
And I will say this about all those guys, whether it’s Tedy making a comment — and I love Tedy, he’s one of my great friends, and all those guys that have played for us — but honestly, none of those guys have any clue what they’re talking about. They’re outside of the locker room. They don’t know what were trying to accomplish. So, with all due respect to all of them and what they’ve accomplished — and like I said, I love them — but they don’t know.
Everybody can really think what they want to think and say what they want to say, whether that’s about a receiver, a quarterback, a coach, but nobody knows. The only people that it really matters to is the guys that are inside the locker room. And we support each other. Because we rely on each other. And we count each other. And every single player that’s on the team is counted on to help us win. And anybody who was watching that game knew that — Chad, for example, he helped us win yesterday. He made two huge plays in the game, led the scoring drive.
So, every single week, it’s going to be different guys. Matthew Slater, how many catches did he have yesterday? None. But he had the first catch in last week’s game for a 50-yard completion to get us going down in a tough environment in Miami. Hopefully, it’s someone different every week, whether it’s the tight ends, the running backs, the receivers. On defense, different guys are making plays. Sergio [Brown] made a huge play yesterday, Vince had an interception, Jerod [Mayo] had a fumble, Kyle Love had a strip sack. That’s what it takes — all 53 guys.
If coach Belichick didn’t feel confident that you could help us win, then you wouldn’t be here. He’s going to do what’s always in the best interest of the team, and that’s what he always does. And that’s who we count on, that’s who we trust. The guys in the locker room, we believe that. We’re trying to take the field every day trying to get better and listen to what he’s saying, listen to his coaching.
Are you ready for the dreaded hypothetical question? If you were just some quarterback in the National Football League, would you prefer to have Jerry Rice and a bunch of JAGs (just another guy) or the combination of Branch and Welker and Hernandez and Gronkowski and Ochocinco and Woodhead and Green-Ellis as your options across the field? The best in the world, or this assemblage that that the Patriots have?
I think it’s always quantity over just one guy. You’ve got to have multiple guys. You’ve got to have a bunch of different players. In basketball, you can try to stop Kobe Bryant all day long, but he’s going to score points no matter what you do. In football, if you want to take a guy out of a game, you can take a guy out of a game. That’s really not hard to do. But at what extent?
If you have Jerry Rice — I mean, I love Jerry Rice. There’s no better receiver in the history of the NFL over the course of his career — productivity, all of his incredible stats. But he had a lot of good players around him, too, and that helps him. And he made those other guys better, too. That’s part of playing on a team. It’s a team sport.
The better Wes Welker does, the better it’s going to be for Deion and Chad and the tight ends. The better the tight ends do, the better it’s going to be for the receivers. The better the passing game is, the better it will be for the run game. The better the run game is, the better it will be for the fullbacks and passers. Everything feeds off one another.
It’s great when all those guys contribute because it’s great to have everybody involved. And that feeling in the locker room that everyone contributed from the players to the coaches, there’s no better feeling in the world. You drive home last night so satisfied that what you did that week was good enough. Who knows if it will be good enough this week? We’ll have to put the week of work in. But it was good enough last week and that’s a really satisfying feeling.
Do you ever worry about overuse of your guys? Your guys, particularly your tight ends, they have guts. They don’t know how to avoid contact, at least not yet. Can they do that? Can you allow that for 16 games?
There’s going to be guys that are counted on differently. In different games, different guys will have their opportunities. Whoever’s out there, we have to — if you’re out on the field, you’re going to have to be able to make plays. If you’re not able to make plays, you’re not going to be out there. The tight ends, Aaron and Rob, and what they’ve done — you’re right, Rob is such a big guy. There’s a lot of tight ends in the league that I couldn’t throw either of those touchdown passes that he caught. You can’t throw the ball to them because they’d get killed.
But with Rob, you throw it and the guys that hit him get the worst of it because he’s so big and strong and he’s able to take that contact. That’s what makes him dangerous, because there doesn’t need to be a very big opening for him to get the ball, because he’s able to take the contact, absorb it and hold on to the ball. You don’t want to get him hit, I’ll tell you that. But in the red area, you try to squeeze that ball into pretty tight spaces. Sometimes they are going to get hit. He’s really done an incredible job being able to withstand that, being on the field, and he’s a huge contributor for our offense.
I’m wondering what you thought of the Belichick documentary, episode No. 1. The second part of that question is does anybody in the locker room have the cache to mock him for wearing jeans at Sankaty Head Golf Course?
I watched it on Saturday. I had a little time and my friends were over. And I actually really enjoyed it. It’s honestly, it’s nothing surprising to me. It’s the same guy I see every day. It’s also nice to see that he does take some time to enjoy his bye week or whatever it was and to get away from football. That’s important for all of us to keep our mind clear so that we can have that drive and focus every day to come to work. I’m sure the fans really enjoyed that. My best friend was telling me that it was the highest watched or most watched program ever on the NFL Network? Is that true? That’s pretty awesome. It was awesome television. It was great.
Was the Gillette Stadium crowd hydrated enough for you Sunday?
Yeah. I hope so. I hope there was nobody that was drinking irresponsibly. I was trying to just make a very subtle joke. But for a guy that doesn’t even drink — me — it gets a lot of attention. I think that I won’t joke like that anymore. That wasn’t the best thing for me to say. I won’t ever say that again.
Were they loud enough for you?
They were great. We’ve had great home crowds. When we’re playing good, there’s no better crowd in America. They’re loud. They scream. They’re tough on opposing offenses. That’s a great advantage when the offense can’t communicate. We face that on the road in certain environments. When the crowd really gets going at Gillette, it’s a huge advantage for us. We have to give them reasons to cheer, give them reasons to be excited, and they’re going to do their part.
Was the pooch punt in the playbook and a possibility at fourth-and-4 at midfield?
Steve Gostkowski is the backup punter, so whatever play is called — there’s a lot of different ways that we can punt the ball.
Can you punt it?
I haven’t punted since ’03. So probably not. I don’t think they want me punting the ball. For good reason, too. I was a decent punter in high school. But those days are long gone.
I’ve figured out why you didn’t wear a brace early in your career. You didn’t want it to diminish your 4.3 speed is what the problem was. The brace slows you down.
What, my 4.3 30?
Why did you keep a ball at the end there? It seemed like you were taking one home for yourself.
I wanted to give it to my son so he had something to play with on the ride home.
That’s always important.
It is important. Very, very important.
I did some TV scouting on you. I’m not sure you’ll address this. “Gold eagle, gold eagle,” the call in the first quarter, and it went to BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Is Green-Ellis “gold eagle”?
We may have to change that audible. That’s the problem. They want it to be great television, but for an offense that communicates, you can hear damn near everything. If it were up to me, I’d break that microphone in about 50 pieces before the game. We’ll have to figure out a way to combat that, which I’m sure we’ll find a way.
You always point out how dumb the defenders are. They won’t figure it out.
Yeah, you’re right. You’re probably right. If they were smart, they’d be on offense.