Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C: Bill Belichick ‘never lost faith in us’
|11.14.11 at 10:45 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady checked in with Dennis & Callahan Monday morning for his weekly discussion. Brady led the Patriots to a 37-16 victory over the Jets Sunday night, snapping a two-game losing streak.
With the win, Brady and Bill Belichick set the NFL record for most wins by a coach-quarterback combination, and Brady credited Belichick for showing his value as a leader once again.
“The last two weeks have been rough, but you know what? He never lost faith in us or confidence in what we’re doing,” Brady said. “He just said, ‘Look, we’ve just got to do better.’ He doesn’t ride those highs and lows. He comes in every week with a goal in mind. I think all the guys who played for him really appreciate that, appreciate his consistency, and appreciate the way that he listens to the team as well. Ultimately, he’s the one that makes the decisions, but at the same time, he takes a lot of input from a lot of people, too. Everyone feels like they’re a part of it. It’s very special for it to be like that.”
Following is a transcript from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
I guess you’re in a little better mood than the last couple of Mondays.
It’s definitely a different feeling when you win. We got off the field last night, and just to walk into the locker room and celebrate with the guys after a tough couple of weeks for us. Even battling a very good team last night under some tough conditions, with their home stadium. It was pretty sweet.
Does your uniform need to be washed? I don’t think you got roughed up very much last night.
We had great protection. We’ve had great protection all year. The strength of our offense is our offensive line. The way those guys battle, with [Matt] Light and Logan [Mankins], and Danny Connolly stepped in for [Dan Koppen] when he got hurt, and Brian Waters has played phenomenal, and Sea-Bass [Sebastian Vollmer] and Nate Solder. Those guys, they put a lot in every week. And their coach, they’ve got a great coach, Dante Scarnecchia, that works those guys every day. They work their tail off. And it really shows up every week, because we rely on those guys for so many things. And the communication between myself and them on a down-by-down basis, and their ability to perform with the entire gamut of the playbook, whether it’s run, play-action, screens, draws, traps, flip screens — we really ask those guys to do everything. They’ve done a great job all year.
When you get around to watching the film and you take a look at that scramble where you bought the time and you threw it to [Rob] Gronkowski and it was eventually overruled, you’re going to want to buy Matt Light a nice steak dinner or something. He saved your [butt] on two separate occasions on that scramble.
[Laughing] He’s saved my [butt] many times over the years. I’m going to add those to a very long list of moments that have been just like that. He’s a great player. It’s so great having him out there. He’s dependable and he’s tough. He’s everything you look for in a left tackle.
Any of those [offensive linemen] surprise you?
I think the way that Brian has stepped in to that role, he’s just a true professional. You see why the guy’s been around for — I think this is his 12th year or 11th year — and played really at a high level. He studies his playbook constantly and goes over his blocking sheets. Every time you see him in from of his locker or in the cafeteria, he’s studying, he’s preparing. You want to try to show the young guys, “Look guys, just look at him. Look what he’s doing.” Some guys get it and some guys don’t.
Brian’s a great example for all the young players of what it takes to be a professional. He was undrafted out of a very small college, North Texas, and has really made the most of every opportunity that he’s every gotten. But it’s because he’s been prepared for it. It’s really a credit to him.
I know you’ve toned down the rhetoric since you told us you hated the Jets. But is it fair to say that you really don’t like them, that there’s a little extra satisfaction going on the road and just tearing them apart the way you did last night?
We’ve played them five times now in the last 14 months, basically, 14 1/2 months. So, we know them pretty much better than any team that we play. And it’s been some very meaningful games. It’s like, before you even get the scouting report last week, I’m like, “OK, I know what we’re doing.” This is the Jets, this is what they are, these are their strengths, these are the things that we can’t play into. They’re very good. They make you earn every yard, I’ll tell you that. They don’t give you anything.
We found some ways to make some very good plays in the passing game and the run game. And we kept them off-balance with our tempo there in the second half. We got some defensive turnovers, which was huge for us. When Rob [Ninkovich] intercepted that pass and jogged into the end zone, that was icing on the cake. That was pretty sweet.
What was it like before the game? Did you play the disrespect card?
Everyone kind of rides the wave, both good and bad. And you have to. But I’d say this: The players in our locker room don’t do that. And it happens every week in the NFL. You look up at the scoreboard during the game — or for us, because we played on Sunday night, we saw a lot of those games. And it’s like: “God, how did they lose?” Or, “Wow, they beat so-and-so.” One team one week looks great, and then they play another team. Other than the Packers this year and the 49ers, you really don’t know what you’re getting every week.
It’s only the ninth week of the year — ninth game for us, 10th game for some others — but there’s still a lot of football left to be played. Every team is still going to make improvements. And some teams are just going to continue to ride out the season and they can start thinking about next year. We want to be one of those teams that really starts building and getting better every week. I thought last night was a good step in the second half of the year. But obviously, the week starts again today. We’ve got to move on to the next game and start getting prepared for a team that we haven’t played in a few years [the Chiefs].
Why not run the hurry-up more often, or all the time?
Well, we do do it. We do it in every game, at some point. We tried it against Pittsburgh and we got our butt kicked. That didn’t work too well. We tried it against Dallas and it worked a little bit. It didn’t work some other times. Against the Giants, we used it a little bit. It didn’t work very well. So, there’s weeks when we use it. Obviously, when it works, you go, “Wow, that was good, let’s stay with it.” When it doesn’t you go, “What the hell are we doing that for?” So, a lot of it is just a feel for the game and what we’re doing. Last night, it paid off for us.
Is it physically possible to do it for an entire game?
Yeah, you could. The run-and-shoot, they did that. The Colts do pretty much no-huddle the whole game. Some teams it works better against than others. Some teams it’s more successful huddling up. We always are going to do what we think is best. Every week we try to set up a game plan that takes advantage of the things that we don’t think they do very well. Last night, honestly, we didn’t go into the game saying, “Man, we’re going to do a whole lot of this no-huddle.” It just happened that we got into the game, in the second half we changed the tempo a little bit and it seemed to help us. We stayed with it on occasion. Other times we huddled up. We made some pretty important plays huddling up, too.
We spent the previous segment of the program before you called in trying to determine the four stars of the Patriots game in order. Try not to be your diplomatic self here and say it was a team effort. Here are the four nominations: Ninkovich, [Andre] Carter, Gronkowski or Tom Brady. Who would you name the star of the game, and in what order?
[Laughing] I can’t pick one. You guys know me better than that. Football is the ultimate team sport. In order to win every week, you need every single guy. And I’m sure there’s guys that played last night that a lot of our fans had never even heard of — guys that were making tackles and plays, and they go, “Who’s that guy?”
I’d say every single guy that suited up for the game last night was a big part of the win. Andre can’t do what he does without the work of Vince [Wilfork] and without Rob on the other side rushing, the inside guy, Shaun Ellis. Gronkowski can’s do what he did without all those guys blocking for him and other guys running routes that in some ways get Rob open. Andre was phenomenal. I mean, 4 1/2 sacks, that’s awesome. But it’s a team effort. It’s a team game. I think that’s the reason why it’s so fun to play the game is because every week, when you win you celebrate with 52 other guys and coaches that are just as happy as you are. That’s a pretty cool experience.
Believe me, I appreciate every day showing up to work and having him as our head coach. There’s no coach I’d ever want to play for. He gets us prepared every week. As a player, when you go in and you show up and he says these are the things we need to do and and just do your job. There’s so many things I learned from him over the years about mental toughness. And his ability to stay really even-keeled through the wins and the losses. I remember the year that we went undefeated, you would never have thought we were undefeated. You would have thought we were 0-16 the way that he coached us.
The last two weeks have been rough, but you know what? He never lost faith in us or confidence in what we’re doing. He just said, “Look, we’ve just got to do better.” He doesn’t ride those highs and lows. He comes in every week with a goal in mind. I think all the guys who played for him really appreciate that, appreciate his consistency, and appreciate the way that he listens to the team as well. Ultimately, he’s the one that makes the decisions, but at the same time, he takes a lot of input from a lot of people, too. Everyone feels like they’re a part of it. It’s very special for it to be like that.
Second quarter, what happened on the premature snap that backed you up to the end zone and eventually led to the safety?
We had a miscommunication with when the ball was being snapped. I wasn’t ready for it. It was just one of those things that happened. I’m glad we got on the ball, saved them from getting on the ball.
Will Gronkowski hear it from the coach or somebody about the in-the-face spike that cost 15 yards?
Yeah, I’m sure he will. I didn’t see it. I mean, he spikes it every time he scores, so I don’t know if that’s flagrant or what.
Don’t you spike it every time you score?
Yeah, which happens like once every three years. But when Gronk scores — it was like his eighth touchdown of the year — he spikes the ball and he deflates the ball. I love that, because I like the deflated ball. But I feel bad for that football, because he puts everything he can into those spikes.
Were you paying attention when your counterpart [Mark Sanchez] called a timeout with 1:24 left, giving you a chance to have that end-of-the-first-half scoring drive?
I knew the clock was running, and he called it pretty quickly. So, I thought we were fortunate there. I didn’t know if we called it, because with 24 seconds left on the play clock or whatever it was … I thought we called it. When I heard he called it, that was good news.
That last drive that took you down for the touchdown before Ninkovich’s interception, [Danny] Woodhead came up big with a little ground-and-pound of his own.
Yeah three or four very good runs. He had a great game for us. He’s been doing it since he got here last year, taking over when Kevin [Faulk] got injured. He’s a big part of our offense. He’s very dynamic back there for us. He does stuff in the run game and the pass game. Then, having the luxury of having Kevin back there, too, is awesome. Because Kevin is one of the probably two or three most dependable players I’ve ever played with, along with probably Troy [Brown] and Wes [Welker]. Everything that Kevin says is important to us as a team, as an offense. He’s the longest-tenured player on the roster. And he takes that role very seriously. He’s always got words of encouragement for the younger guys. Then when he gets his opportunity, he steps in there and does what he always does, and what he’s done for this team for his 13th year. It’s great having him back, too.
If you’re walking through the locker room today or Wednesday and you see Jeff Tarpinian and Sterling Moore, do you know them? Do you know their names?
[Laughing] I do. I do. I’m not sure you guys do.
OK, how about number 90, the linebacker?
Niko Koutouvides? I like Niko. Niko’s a pal. Niko played for the Bucs, and in Seattle. He was with us in training camp. He’s a good player and I’m glad he’s back. When I saw him walking in the door last week, I was pretty excited to see him back.
Does it get confusing?
It does. It happens every year. I remember last year toward the end of the season we had some injuries and we were bringing some guys in. I saw a guy get a sack. It was Eric Moore. I looked over and I was like, “Who’s that?” It happens, because on defense, too, you’re not paying attention to those guys. Because pretty much the only time I see those guys during the day is our 8 o’clock squad meeting and then at practice. If they sign a guy or someone’s hurt, I don’t pay attention to that. When there’s a new player that’s in there, you’ll see them at practice, but there’s no names on the backs of the jerseys at practice. You see them out there for the game, you hear their name called and you’re going, “Who the hell was that?” That’s just part of the NFL. Every team deals with injuries. We had a lot of guys that stepped in last night and filled some pretty important roles. That was good to see.
I know you’re not going to shed any sympathy tears for the New York Jets, but while you have seven days to prepare to play Kansas City at home Monday night, they have three days to fly to Denver and play the Broncos Thursday night. Does that make you grimace when you think about suiting up and strapping it on again on a Thursday after playing Sunday?
That’s a tough turnaround, obviously, but both teams are doing it. And the thing about that I’d say is that if you do win that game, it’s a great advantage going forward. I love those Thursday games when we’ve had a chance to play in them, because we have won. You’ve got basically like a second bye week moving forward. Sometimes you’re off Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and it gives everyone a chance to kind of get refocused. If you lose, it’s a different story. But if you win, it’s a positive for your team.
What’s the reaction in the locker room and the value when Bill says after last night’s game, “See you guys on Wednesday”?
It’s pretty exciting. It doesn’t happen very often. Some teams, you watch like the NFL channel in Week 1 I saw the Eagles won, and Andy Reid‘s like, “All right, see you Wednesday.” I shook my head, like, “Really?” But for us, it just gives you a few extra hours on a Monday or a Tuesday. It’s nice for the players. For the quarterback, I head in on Monday and Tuesday. But it’s more my schedule than on the team’s schedule. It’s nice for everybody to get refreshed for a little bit.
How many other guys head in on days off?
Quite a few. Most of the guys will at some point. I’d say everybody at some point goes in to work out or get treatment or start getting prepared for next week. It’s not like literally guys show up on Wednesday morning. Not on this team, at least. Maybe some other teams. But our team, it’s never been like that.
Do you want to address the Tom Brady’s arm-is-sore rumors and speculation?
No, I’m feeling good. I’m feeling good. It’s football season. One week you feel good, the next week you’re a little banged up. But I’m feeling good.