Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C: ‘I want to play every snap’
|11.28.11 at 10:53 am ET|
Following Sunday’s 38-20 victory over the Eagles, Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning.
Brady threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns as the Patriots rallied from an early 10-0 deficit for the blowout win in Philadelphia. Brady pointed to the offensive balance (104 rushing yards) as a key.
“From the start of the game we were running the ball well,” Brady said. “We didn’t throw it well the first series or two. But after we got into the flow of the game, we were running it, we could play-action and then we used some spread-out formations and our uptempo offense that really put a lot of pressure on them. Coach [Bill] Belichick, one thing he said is we’ve just got to keep the pressure on this team. We’ve got to make them earn it. I thought we did a good job of doing that and not really giving them any easy plays.”
The Patriots pulled away in the second half, allowing backup quarterback Brian Hoyer a rare opportunity to get some game action.
“To see him get an opportunity to go out there and run the team is fun for me,” Brady said. “He’s a very good player, Brian. I have a lot of confidence when he goes in there. Obviously, I want to play every snap. You never want to see someone else do your job, because you may never get it back. But I’m glad we were really kind of putting the game away there, midway through the fourth quarter, especially on the road. It’s not easy to win, especially on the road. To have a really convincing win like that two of the last three weeks has been a lot of fun for this team.”
Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
You’re up early today — or did you not go to sleep yet?
I didn’t sleep a whole lot. After the games, it’s hard for me to sleep. I figured I’d get up and get rolling.
Win or loss it’s hard for you to sleep? I mean, you played pretty well.
I think when we lose, I get a lot less sleep. It’s either a little sleep or damn near no sleep. I’ll settle for little sleep.
You got hit or sacked on almost every passing play in the first several series. And then after that, something happened and for the most part you were pretty clean and upright for the rest of the game. What happened?
We settled into the game, as we seem to do as of late. I think when you play teams that have very good pass-rushers, sometimes it just takes a series or two to understand the speed that they’re playing at. Ultimately, we find the plays on the call sheet that we feel are protecting us the best.
We’ve played some very good pass-rushing teams, from the Giants, to the Jets in their on way, to the Cowboys. We’ve played some really good pass-rushers. This was a team that really could get after the quarterback. They’re up there, leading the league in sacks. Cullen Jenkins is a phenomenal player. Trent Cole is a hell of a pass-rusher, too. They were really into it early. I thought once we really settled into the game, we handled it really well.
Why would a defensive coordinator for the opposition see some of the success, although maybe limited, that teams have had against the New England Patriots passing offense — that is being physical, jamming the guys at the line, keeping them out of their routes, disrupting the timing — and choose to play off and soft, like Philadelphia did yesterday.
There were definitely times when they were up there in our face yesterday, too. And we did a very good job with our matchups on the inside. A lot of it has to do with matchups. And they do what they’ve been working on, what they feel is going to be successful for them. I know people have said it because I got the question yesterday, too. Like the Jets, they’re up in your face, too. And we moved the ball pretty well against them, too.
To me, it’s a matter of our execution. And that’s the way it’s really been all year for us. When we do things the way that we’re capable of doing, without causing issues for our own selves, we can move the ball against anybody. It’s just a matter of doing that on a very consistent basis. When we do that, we’re able to put points on the board.
Can you tell us what did [the Eagles] do wrong? What were you able to exploit in their secondary so effective after the first few series? It looked easy.
[Laughing] I wish it was easy. We work all week to try to make it seem that way. And sometimes it looks easier than others. We’ve got some pretty good experienced players on our offense. And I think we’ve grown over the course of the season, with Rob [Gronkowski] and Aaron [Hernandez], who are both young players that are out there a lot and have become very dependable, along with Wes [Welker] and Deion [Branch].
Still trying to find our way in the third receiver spot. Chad [Ochocinco] was out yesterday. Tiquan [Underwood] was in there a little bit, Taylor [Price] has has been in there a little bit, [Matthew] Slater has been in there a little bit, Julian [Edelman] has been in there a little bit. We’re trying to get those guys involved. And then obviously, the way that we balanced up the running game yesterday, to me was hugely important to the success of our offense, because it’s so much more challenging for a defense when you’re able to hand the ball off and then play-action pass. Once you get the running game going, everything else seems like it opens up.
And really, from the start of the game we were running the ball well. We didn’t throw it well the first series or two. But after we got into the flow of the game, we were running it, we could play-action and then we used some spread-out formations and our uptempo offense that really put a lot of pressure on them. Coach [Bill] Belichick, one thing he said is we’ve just got to keep the pressure on this team. We’ve got to make them earn it. I thought we did a good job of doing that and not really giving them any easy plays.
Do you feel like it was easy to deceive the Philadelphia defenders? Were you surprised at how they went for [the play-action fakes]?
Like I said, that comes off the running game. At some points, they’ve got to come up and start tackling the running backs. They play a particular style of defense where they rely heavily on the inside linebackers and the safeties to make plays on the inside part of the defense, because they line up their defensive ends very wide to contain the quarterback and contain the running game. So, when you fake the inside run, sometimes you get some opportunities in the play-action game.
[Welker's touchdown], that really wasn’t even the play that we designed going into the game. Wes just said, ‘Hey, if I see the safety low, I’m going to fake like I’m going to run the in-cut.’ That’s really what he was coming up for. He thought he was trying to cover Wes going across the field, and Wes stuttered him and ran by him. That’s just part of Wes being a veteran who’s leading the league in receptions, one of the best receivers in the league that sees something and we take advantage of it. All around, that was a great play, both in the route, recognition, in Wes thinking through that, and then obviously the protection that I got on that play was huge because that play takes a little bit of time, also.
In addition to that play, there was the one that you referred to, the big-gainer to Deion where the adjustment was made, where you signaled him to go deep and he went deep and you got it down to the 1. Can you speak to the value of trusting your wide receivers and them trusting you and the familiarity that you have with hundreds and hundreds of repetitions? That doesn’t just happen with any quarterback and any wide receiver, I would suspect.
No, certainly not. I think that playing with Wes and playing with Deion for as long as I have, there’s a lot of things that really go unsaid out there. Because we’ve gone through it so many times, we’re just able to do it and make adjustments very quickly. And that’s really our offense as a whole.
And I know sometimes this year we’ve struggled. But for the most part, we’ve come around as the game’s gone on. Because on our coaching staff — I think we have the best offensive coaches in the league. From the coaching staff down to the players, there’s a lot of continuity. When you do that, like I said before, you don’t need to wait ’til Monday morning after the game to say, “Man we should have got to this.” Or, “This is what we have to do the next time we play them.” That’s usually things that come up in the second quarter of the game, where we say, “OK, that’s not working, this is what we’re doing now.” It may not be plays that we’ve run in six weeks or a year. But there’s recall from previous games where situations were the same, where we made adjustments and we were able to move on relatively quickly so we could get to the things that were going to work much better.
Gronkowski was whining to the TV crew in the production meeting, saying that you were very tough on him and Aaron Hernandez. He said he thought it was “Dump on Gronk Week” this week.
[Laughing] I never think Gronk even knows when I’m getting on him. He looks at me with this blind stare, like, “What are you talking about?” I have a lot of respect for both of those guys. And I am tough on them, because I think there’s very high expectations for them both on the practice field, obviously in games, and then in the meeting rooms as well. Everybody has high expectations for those two, because they’ve proven they can handle it. So, when you see certain inconsistencies, you point it out to them. Sometimes they don’t want to hear it, but ultimately, I had a lot of players do that to me when I was a younger player. That’s part of being a veteran player, is pointing things out that you need corrected as a team. Because every year that goes on is one less opportunity that you’ll have to accomplish the goals that you set out. I always say I’ll be damned if I let some rookie or second-year player get in the way of our goals.
I don’t think I’ve seen you quite as angry as you were on the sideline after the missed field goal. What rubbed you the wrong way out what had just happened?
I think it was the missed opportunity. We had a first-down pass that I was trying to throw to Wes that we just didn’t connect on which we should have, because there was a play there to be made. The second-down play, I had Aaron Hernandez open and the ball got batted up in the air. And then the third-down play, I thought we had a chance to complete that one. I could have made a better audible, too. You look at three plays, on consecutive plays, where we really have an opportunity to go in at halftime with a good lead, with a lot of momentum, and we get no points. So, I think that was the frustrating part for me. Did we kick the field goal? We may have kicked a field goal on that drive. But situations like that where that does really frustrate me because I thought, man, we’ve got a chance to — Oh, I know what it was: I threw it to Wes on third-and-11 and we had a chance to complete it, and the ball got caught in the lights.
Really, it’s just overall execution. I feel like as a quarterback, I don’t care who we’re playing. I don’t care the situation we’re in. If we have a chance to make a play and we don’t, with me throwing the ball to Wes or me throwing the ball to Deion or Aaron or Rob, who I have a lot of familiarity with, it’s frustrating for me. And it’s frustrating for those guys, too. It’s frustrating for our offense. Because I don’t expect, and none of us do, those kinds of mistakes that we make. Those are the things that we need to continue to work on and clean up. And that only comes with solid execution in practice. And then it becomes really reality in the game. We have to continue to go out there in practice and work on those things.
Who is Tiquan Underwood, and why is he out there running that pass pattern and not Taylor Price or Matthew Slater?
Ti is a, he was on our team late in the preseason, really picked up our offense very quickly, and he’s just always been on the radar for our scouting department. We had an opportunity to bring him back and we did. He’s proven that he’s very dependable in practice. I was bummed for him last night, because I know how badly he wanted to make that play. But he’ll have other opportunities. He’s a good young player that really works hard. He deserves an opportunity, and he got one yesterday. Like I said, I know he wishes that we would have executed better. But that’s part of football.
Have you heard the point spread for Sunday’s game?
No, I have no idea.
Twenty-one. This is the ultimate trap game, I’m guessing. What is your approach usually to trap games? Do you have a message that you deliver to your guys every time there’s a game it seems like there’s no way you can lose?
I don’t ever feel like we should lose against anybody, if we play the way that we’re capable. So, when we go into any game, whether it’s this game or last week’s game, it’s about what we’re doing and what we’re trying to accomplish and what we need to do with penalties and turnovers and scoring in the red area and converting on third down and playing smart situational football — all those things that allow for good execution and consistency which allow us to score touchdowns and get points on the board.
Look, we’re playing against Indy. I know they’re not having the kind of year they want to have or they expected to have. We’ve had some great games against those guys. Their defense looks the same to me. I know we’ve got our work cut out for us on offense. They have two of the best pass-rushers, another great pass-rushing group, some guys in the secondary that we’ve played before that are very good, that match up well against us. I don’t give a damn what their record is. We’re going out there and we’ve got to go out there and try to execute very well against a team that always gives us problems on defense.
How does the dynamic work on the sideline when [Brian] Hoyer comes in with 6:50 to go? Does Bill come up to you and say you’re done? Because I know you don’t want to come out of the game; you want to take the knee at the very end.
I know, I know. But I also love seeing Brian get in there, because Brian works hard. He’s worked hard for three years now. To see him get an opportunity to go out there and run the team is fun for me. He’s a very good player, Brian. I have a lot of confidence when he goes in there. Obviously, I want to play every snap. You never want to see someone else do your job, because you may never get it back. But I’m glad we were really kind of putting the game away there, midway through the fourth quarter, especially on the road. It’s not easy to win, especially on the road. To have a really convincing win like that two of the last three weeks has been a lot of fun for this team.
Do you know what running backs [Danny] Woodhead, [Shane] Vereen and [Stevan] Ridley have in common this morning?
They all rushed for fewer yards than you did yesterday.
[Laughing] I wonder if that was a career high for me. I don’t remember.
That’s not bad for me. That usually would eat up about half of our time of possession with me on the run.
I’m thinking Belichick’s looking at that [Tim] Tebow offense, saying maybe you can guys could steal some ideas, do the triple option.
There’s no chance, there’s no chance. I’d get my head beat in. I still don’t understand how you can wake up on Monday morning and feel after rushing the ball that many times.
You won your 133rd game. You tied Joe Montana for career wins, playoffs and regular season included, at 34. I know you’re not into individual accomplishments, but that’s kind of a team thing. You must be proud of that.
I’m proud to be a part of an organization that all we care about is winning. From the day I got in here, that’s what it’s always been about. There’s no greater feeling than celebrating with your teammates after a big win, a big win on the road. We’ve had some of those this year. Hopefully, we have some more of them.
I think one thing that this team has shown over the course of this season is that we’re mentally tough. We got down in the Bills game, we fought back. We got down in the Raider game, we fought back. We got down in the Steeler game, we fought back. Even those we lost those [Bills and Steelers] games, they were very competitive games at the end. So, I think if we can just continue to improve and play better, we’re going to be in these games. We’ve just got to find a way to close the deal when we get a chance. And we’ve done that, too.
I’m excited about what we have ahead of us. Coach said this is when the football season starts, after Thanksgiving. We’re 1-0. This is when football season starts for us.
You’ve often said you work on your mechanics every single day in practice. Do you ever work on sliding at the end of a quarterback run?
No, but I probably should. Because that was pretty pathetic.
That wasn’t very good.
No, it wasn’t. Maybe I should go over to Fenway and have those guys teach me how to slide. But I’ve got this big-ass knee brace on my left knee; when I slide on grass it just digs into the turf. There was a huge clump of grass that came up. Maybe I should slide on my right knee.
Do you replace your divots on a golf course?
I know, I do, I do. You look for the little sand in the back of the cart that [the caddie] brings alongs there But no, there’s none of that. Like, Logan [Mankins] would carry that in his right hip or something. There’s none of that.