Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C: ‘We could have scored more in the red area’
|10.10.11 at 11:36 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady joined the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning for his weekly discussion of Sunday’s game.
Brady and the Patriots topped the Jets 30-21 Sunday, but the quarterback did not seem satisfied with the game. While Brady completed 24-of-33 passes for 321 yards, a touchdown and an interception, he said he thought the offense could have played better.
“We could have scored more in the red area,” Brady said. “I thought we left a lot of points out there. That [Deion Branch‘s touchdown] was one situation where it was good, but at the same time, there were other situations . . . and we had quite a few penalties that really hurt us throughout the course of the game, too.”
Sunday was the first time this season that Brady has been limited to one touchdown pass in a game. The decreased number was due to an increase in running chances. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis put in a 136-yard, two-touchdown performance and enjoyed a season-high 27 carries. Brady said a balance between the running game and passing game will be essential as the team continues through the season.
“We’ve got to be able to run the ball,” Brady said. “We’ve got to be able to stay balanced. We’ve got to be able to take advantage of whatever we see. It gives everybody a lot of comfort in knowing that we are a team capable of running the ball effectively as we did yesterday. Even a game where it’s traditionally a game where we’re throwing the ball a lot. Well, yesterday we were pretty balanced and it was pretty effective. We threw the ball decently and we ran it decently, and we’re going to need to continue to do that.”
Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
How satisfying was it to impose your will on the Jets at the end with that 13-play, 69-yard drive that ate up six minutes?
Well those are good ways to finish the game and we talk about those every single week and when we get to those situations where, we call it our four-minute offense, where we can essentially run the clock out and then basically allow them no time to do anything with it at the end. They’re important situations in the games. Like yesterday, it was a six-point game. We made it a nine-point game and put it out of reach with a field goal. That’s a great way to end the game. There’s no doubt about it.
You seemed irritated at the end of the game. You ran off the field, didn’t shake any hands. At the press conference, you seemed a little terse. Why?
No I just, I don’t know, I expect a lot out of our team just like our coaches do and all the players do, but I thought we were capable of playing better than we did yesterday. Even though we won, yeah I feel great about that. Believe me, I know how tough it is to win and how much it sucks to lose. We played a good team yesterday that has been a tough opponent for us and is a tough opponent every single time we play them, but I thought that we made it a little tougher than we needed it to be.
Why are you not joking anymore, as you put it?
You know what guys, there’s a lot that goes into every week. There’s a lot of intensity that we bring to practice, to the games, and sometimes you’re just tired. Sometimes you don’t have the energy to put on a happy face every day. Sometimes, you’re just, it’s an important week. We were getting to work. There’s a lot of pressure from the time the Oakland game ended. It’s a six-hour flight home. You get to bed at four, five, six in the morning like we did. And then it’s a dead sprint until the next game, so sometimes you’re just a little out of gas and you have to conserve your energy and at the end of yesterday’s game, I was tired. I was tired. Look, it’s a big opponent. We put a lot into it. There’s a lot of emotional energy that’s expended. I’m glad we won. I’m glad the week’s over. Now we can move onto another opponent that creates and gives us a lot of different challenges also.
How often do you come to the line, see a nickel-and-dime package and still throw? Do you always check off to a run if you see six or seven DBs?
It definitely happens that you check the run or check the passes. There’s no doubt about it. Look, there are times where if there are a lot of DBs on the field, you still have to throw it just based on the situation. So ideally, you’d like to take advantage of them playing pass defense and run it. And when they’re in run defense, you have to take advantage to throw it. But there’s also times where, look, they know you’re going to throw, you know you’re going to throw, and you have to be able to complete the passes. It goes both ways. In our offense, we have the flexibility to do both. And I think we do make quite a few adjustments based on what we see on the sidelines, between series as well as in the series from the sideline as well as at the line of scrimmage. We’re always trying to take advantage of what we see.
Did you change the play twice on the Deion Branch touchdown and the protection once before the ball was snapped?
We were trying to get our line the right way and get the right play calling. So you know I have options out there. [Quarterbacks coach] Billy [O’Brien] gives me options every week to try to take advantage of what I see. That was an important play in the game. We could have scored more in the red area. I thought we left a lot of points out there. That was one situation where it was good, but at the same time, there were other situations . . . and we had quite a few penalties that really hurt us throughout the course of the game too. But I thought a lot of guys played really tough. Some guys were not feeling, you know pretty under the weather yesterday and really battled through that. Guys were definitely less than 100 percent as a lot of teams are. But I thought a lot of guys really sucked it up and made huge efforts in the game to get out there and make enough plays so we could beat those guys.
The touchdown pass to Deion [Branch] probably in the conversation of the easiest touchdown throws you’ve ever made. Is it ever a case where a guy can be too wide open where you look at it and you go, ‘Don’t short-arm this. Don’t do anything stupid.’
Yeah. I took a little off of that one when I threw it yesterday. I saw him break back to the corner and I was like, ‘Oh, God, here we go.’ I just put it up in the air. It’s the same thing for the catch. I mean, he knows he’s open. The ball is floating toward him. And then he’s able to make the catch. Yes, sometimes those are the ones where maybe you lose a little concentration or, but Deion never really lets that happen. He doesn’t drop too many of the them. That was great play, great effort by Deion, and that was a huge play in the game.
I know you say you want to be balanced as an offense. In Week 1, 68 percent of your offensive plays were passes; Week 2, 61.5 percent; Week 3 63 percent then against Oakland 50-50, 30 rushes, 30 passes, and then yesterday 48.5 percent were passes, 51.5 runs. Why is that?
Well, I think we have to, the Jets are focused on stopping the pass. I think a lot of what they do is coverage-related. A lot of it is you know we’ll stop the run. And they did a decent job stopping the run at times yesterday too. I mean they stopped us for one-yard gains. It wasn’t like it was seven yards a carry out there. There were one-yard gains. They’re a tough physical front. They’ve got some good linebackers, good run-stopping linebackers. I think there’s a lot of movement on the defense, too, so you don’t always get great angles. They’re slippery up there up front. We got to be able to run the ball. We got to be able to stay balanced. We got to be able to take advantage of whatever we see. It gives everybody a lot of comfort in knowing that we are a team capable of running the ball effectively as we did yesterday. Even a game where it’s traditionally a game where we’re throwing the ball a lot. Well, yesterday we were pretty balanced and it was pretty effective. We threw the ball decently and we ran it decently, and we’re going to need to continue to do that.
Why doesn’t every team put their best cover corner on Wes Welker? Yesterday, what kind of problems did that pose for you with Darelle Revis on Welker? Phil Simms pointed out that when you looked at that, it tipped some things off. You knew they were in man when you saw Revis on Welker.
Yeah, sometimes you can tip it off. You know, sometimes they don’t care. They play so much man coverage. Pretty much all their zone coverage, after the route’s declared, they don’t match the receivers anyway. So it’s a man-coverage defense. When they put Revis on Wes, Revis, he’s a good corner. He’s got a lot of good skill. He’s quick. He’s smart. He’s got great instincts. He’s got very good speed — deceptively good speed. I mean he can pretty much run with anybody. So he’s tough. Wes fought hard to get open. He was very reliable for us as he always is, Wes is. And you know, the other guys made some plays too. So Deion had a bunch of catches. Aaron [Hernandez] had some catches. Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] had some catches. Chad [Ochocinco] had some catches. So all those guys ended up contributing.
Was the long completion to Welker a function of play-action?
You’re never quite sure how those plays are going to turn out, play-action. We gave it a run fake. It looked like the safety was a little bit in-between. They were flying up there to stop the run all day from the safety position. Wes got behind them and made a great catch and a great run. That was a huge play in the game to start the second half. We ended up scoring a touchdown.
But Revis is a good player. Wes made some plays on the safeties. He made some plays on the other corners. Wherever we find out matchups, that’s what we’re going to do. Sometimes it’s Wes on Revis. Wes had a few catches. Every week, we’ve got to try to find those matchups and try to take advantage for them.
Is Welker going to take heat for getting caught from behind?
Hell, yeah, he’ll take heat for getting caught. Are you kidding me? 73-yard-catch?That should have been an 80-yard touchdown. Believe me ‘ that will motivate Wes. He’ll be out there doing sprint work, making sure he won’t get run down again.
What constitutes a good week of practice and does it translate on Sunday?
It helps. We’ve had great weeks of practice and lost and we’ve had terrible weeks of practice and won. I think for the most part, when you practice well, that carries over to the game. A lot of that is communication. Not having blown assignments, missing guys in protections, the offense not communicating properly with each other and the defense, vice-versa.
A lot of a great week of practice is mentally being into it, being focused, making sure we’re all on the same page with what we’re doing, because execution, you’re not going to hit every pass in practice, you’re not going to hit every pass in the game. If we miss a throw in practice, you miss a throw. But if you miss a communication and don’t even give yourself a chance based on a protection call or someone runs the wrong route or we go the wrong way on a run play, those are things you can’t overcome, because no matter what you do, it’s going to be a bad play. As long as you get those things right, the execution will ultimately take care of itself because there’s such a heightened sense of concentration in the game. I think that’s what showed yesterday.
The defense produced seven three-and-outs, including a number of them to open the game. As a quarterback, what’s it like to be shut down like that?
It’s tough. It’s tough. I think our defense really rose to the challenge yesterday. They were challenged all week by their coaches. It was great to see them get off the field like that. I wish offensively we could have taken better advantage of that. We really didn’t. We only had, like, one touchdown and kicked a field goal. We could have done a lot better to help them out. When we get those three-and-outs, we’ve got to take better advantage of those, especially when we get good field position.
How do you divide the season — four-game increments, before and after the bye week, or something else?
The bye week, that’s an important kind of landmark in the season ‘ not that it’s really the halfway point. We’re way past the halfway point for practices. We’re on the downside with the practices we’re going to have. We’ve played nine games this year. We’ve got 11 more to go. This bye week actually comes right at the midpoint. I don’t think we sit here and say, ‘That’s going to be a win; that’s going to be a loss; that’s going to be a win.’ I think you get to the bye week, you’re really able to evaluate where you’re at, see what you’re doing right, see what you’re doing wrong, see what you need to make improvements on.
You really have a great chance to evaluate your offense. If we get to the bye week with a win this week, that’s huge for us to sit there at 5-1. It’s going to need to be a huge effort to get to 5-1. That Dallas team, it’s a great team. They’ve got great skill guys at every position. The linemen are tough. We talked about them briefly after the game last night. It’s a huge effort. We’re going to put a lot into it. We’re going to put everything we’ve got into it. We’re going to get to rest after this game. This will go a long way for what we’re trying to accomplish.
What’s it like going into the bye week off a loss?
It’s tough. A lot of guys, for the bye week, you get a chance to relax. A lot of guys are really trying to get their bodies to recover a little bit, because after that, there’s no break.
We’ve got everything to put into this week. Once that game ended last night, the clock’s ticking on this week. They’ve had an extra week to prepare with their bye week, the Cowboys. They’re probably going to get some guys back who haven’t been healthy. We’re going into work today to try to get up to speed on those guys, because we haven’t played them in a while. They’re very talented. It’s going to be fun. Any time you play the Cowboys, it’s fun.
Why is BenJarvus Green-Ellis so effective in this system?
He’s a very decisive runner. He runs with a great pad level. He’s low, he’s powerful, he runs through tacklers, he runs through arm tackles. He really knows how to set his linemen up. The linemen always tell the running backs, ‘Listen, linemen don’t have eyes in the back of their heads.’
You can set these blocks up, basically, by stretching the ball out to the edge. The whole defense goes running, then cut it back inside the block. Benny does a great job of that. He sees the whole field back there at running back. Talk about a guy who really takes advantage of his opportunities: Undrafted free agent, sits behind other guys on our roster for a few years, then he gets his opportunity, he becomes a damn good starting running back in the NFL. He’s running the ball hard for us. The line did a great job blocking for him yesterday. It was great to see, great to be balanced like we were yesterday.
Has he ever fumbled in practice?
He’s very reliable. There’s not much to hit. He’s so strong physically. He’s a specimen.
Yes, but has he ever fumbled in practice?
I think so. There’s not a lot to hit. He’s so strong. He’s a tough runner. When he ends up with his pad level down or running through tacklers, I know those tacklers are not too excited about trying to come up into the hole and tackle him.
Given how well you ran on Sunday, will it be difficult for the Cowboys to game plan for you while looking at that film?
They know we’re going to run the ball. A lot of what they’re doing will have to focus on the run game. It’s hard to come up with a lot of exotic coverages on defense when we can hand the ball off for eight yards. If you go first-and-10, then second-and-4, another first-and-10, then second-and-2, it’s kind of hard for them. But if you go first-and-10, second-and-9, third-and-8, that’s a tough way to play offense. The way we were running the ball yesterday, that doesn’t happen too often.