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Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C: Bill Belichick ‘just the way he is’ in dealing with media

12.05.11 at 10:46 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning, following Sunday’s 31-24 victory over the Colts.

Bill Belichick was his typical curt self when speaking at his press conference after the game. Brady, who always is more talkative, was asked about the different approaches in dealing with the media.

“Well, there’s only one Bill Belichick,” Brady said with a laugh. “There’s no one that can be like him. It’s really his personality. He’s not trying to act a certain way. It’s just the way he is. Everybody is the way they are. What you hear from myself when I speak or Billy O’Brien when he speaks or Nick Caserio when he speaks, that’s everybody’s own personality. If you got me in some other situation, I’d probably speak the same way. And so would coach Belichick. It’s just a matter of your level of comfort and answering questions. But we do it so often. After a while your personality comes out.

“Coach Belichick has to talk to the media six days a week. I don’t have it that bad, where I have to talk six days a week. Three days a week for me. The only thing I really like doing during the week is getting ready to play the game.”

Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Up 31-3 in the fourth quarter, was that just human nature kicking in on all fronts for the New England Patriots, or was it something a little more nefarious at work here?

I don’t even know what nefarious means.

Evil, bad, something malignant.

OK. I just think we didn’t execute very well. Offensively, we didn’t get a first down in the fourth quarter. You can’t do that. You’re not going to do much in terms of helping your defense out, either. We were up 31-3 and I think everyone was obviously happy with that, but we’d like to close the game out a lot better than we did yesterday.

Some of your teammates described the victory as “unsatisfying,” somebody said “disappointing,” and one teammate actually call ditto “embarrassing.” What would you term it? What did that win feel like to you?

Well, it’s just our inconsistency that’s showed up from time to time this year. We’ve really yet to play a 60-minute game. I’d really love to see what the outcome is if we do play a 60-minute game. But there’s things that haven’t really allowed us to be able to do that. And hopefully, we can get those things straightened out here going into this week’s game. We’ve won four straight. We had two pretty tough losses back to back six weeks ago. And then we’ve won four straight. We’re in a good position. We’ve obviously got some huge games ahead. What more could you ask for in the middle of December to be leading your division by a couple of games and really could put a lot of pressure if we go out and win this week on the competition?

Based on Belichick’s mood at the podium after the game, I assume this is going to be used as a teaching moment for the coach?

Yeah, well, he’s always teaching. He was on us last week about finishing a game. I think that’s the disappointing part was there was a lot of emphasis that he put into that. And we didn’t really play to that. So, I think that was just the disappointing part. We’ve got to do a better job as players. We’re all accountable. Certainly, I am. I could have done a much better job on a couple of throws during the fourth quarter that I didn’t make very good throws on. If I do that, then it’s a whole different outcome to the game.

But isn’t it a while different approach when you’re up 31-3? Aren’t you at that point — I don’t want to say sitting on the lead — but calling different plays when you’re up 28 points?

Yeah, I think we were in a bit of a different mode. I think even though you changes modes, you don’t change your level of — you don’t go, “OK, well, let’s just go out and punt now.” You say, “OK, well, we may try to do a few different things just to control the tempo of the game.” But at the same time, we still need to go out and execute. And there’s no excuse for not executing. I thought we did a really good job of that for about five or six drives there in the second quarter and the third quarter, which is really good and really gave us control of the game. But no one’s going to walk away from a game like that and go, “Man, that was really a great performance by us.” That was good enough yesterday. When you play a good team, we’re going to need to play well for 60 minutes.

I heard a number of people say that the problem the Colts have is they’re designed to play with the lead when they have Manning. Does that make sense to you?

Well, they’ve done that over the years. For a long time they’ve gotten a lead. They have very good offensive skill players: Pierre Garcon and Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie along with the running backs and [Jacob] Tamme. They’ve got a really good group. And the way that the quarterback was throwing the ball yesterday, he was putting the ball right where it needed to be.

I think offensively we could have done a much better job there in the fourth quarter of gaining first downs and running the clock out and putting together a long drive to go up 38-3. We just didn’t do it. I think that going three-and-out like we did and just putting the pressure back on our defense, then going three-and-out again was really disappointing for our offense.

The discussion and the speculation is starting to grow, that the 0-12 Colts don’t think being in a position to draft [Andrew] Luck is really a bad thing. Did you see any sign out there that they weren’t giving 100 percent?

No, not at all. Not at all. They play very hard and they don’t back off anything. They haven’t all season. I think what you see from them is they play extremely hard. They scored 21 points in the fourth quarter. There was no quit in them, certainly.

The third touchdown for [Rob] Gronkowski, in practice is that a lateral or a forward pass?

Forward pass.

Obviously, it doesn’t matter. You don’t care that he didn’t break the record yesterday, do you?

No, I don’t. The only thing, in terms of execution of that play, is you want it to be a forward pass in case it drops on the ground. But it wasn’t. It ends up being a lateral, which, if you don’t execute it right then the ball’s loose on the ground with them having the opportunity to recover it.

I’m guessing you knew right away that it was a lateral?

No, I thought it was a forward pass.

Oh, you did.

I did. I don’t know if it was or not. It was close either way. It didn’t feel like it was backward to me.

Gronk found the silver lining. He said that was his first rushing touchdown. He said in fact it was his first rush.

[Laughing] That’s pretty good. That’s pretty good. Gronk always finds the silver lining in life.

Any thought to saving a play like that?

We never lack for plays on the call sheet that we like. I think one thing about it that’s challenging for offenses is there’s always plays we like. So, it’s probably more of a problem narrowing down our game plan to get to really a core group of plays that we feel like we can call rather than saving plays. There’s probably 40 or 50 plays on the call sheet yesterday that I wish we would have called. We’ll go into next week’s game also with just as many plays that we like. You just can’t get them all called.

How many different plays are available? How many plays are in existence in this playbook?

We have a ton. And we’re a game-plan team, so there’s things that probably we’ve never run that could be on the call sheet next week against Washington. And then there’s plays in a different formation or look that you may have in every week. It all comes down to getting the ball to the guys that are the most dependable guys. You’re always finding ways to get the ball to Rob and Aaron [Hernandez] and Wes [Welker] and Deion [Branch] and Chad [Ochocinco]. To get the ball to those guys with some space so they can do something with it. And you can see from week to week, they’re doing good things with it. So, any play where Gronk is the first read on the play, I like. Same with Wes. How can you not like those plays?

It all starts with the center snap. And maybe we take for granted the fact that Nick McDonald steps in there off the practice squad a couple of weeks ago. As far as I can tell, there were no big mistakes and no fumbled exchanges.

No, there was none of those. We did a lot of things yesterday, too, in terms of changing the cadence and the tempo of the game and so forth. One thing that we really did a good job and have improved on the last four weeks — which we talked about after the Giant game — was turnovers. So, the things that are real positive about that, we just haven’t turned it over, which is great. And the defense is getting us the ball. That was really a huge key to what we did down the stretch last year in terms of getting the ball from the opposing offense and us not turning the ball over. That continues to be a huge factor in every game.

The role of the center stepping in like that and having it all go fairly well is not just a given thing, is it not? That’s unusual to have it go that well for somebody who’s that new.

Of course, of course. It’s really a credit to Nick and the work that he put in last week. Taking care of the football starts with the center-quarterback exchange. You’ve got to execute the most basic play in football, getting the ball from the center to the quarterback. We spent a lot of time last week trying to be able to do that. To be forced into that situation, where basically Nick’s been on the practice squad and then to elevate him the roster and have him step in was really a great job by him.

Can you tell us what Taylor Price did wrong?

It’s really not right for me to comment on any of that. I don’t get into that. I don’t make any of the decisions. I really don’t. I enjoyed Taylor. I enjoyed working with him. And I obviously wish him the best of luck.

It’s hard to figure why a third-round pick with such promise is now out of a job and gets beaten out by guys off the practice squad or guys off the street.

It happens. It happens every year, every team. There’s guys that for one reason or another just don’t fit on a certain team. And other guys really do step in and fit. Wes was undrafted and got cut by the Chargers, and look at him now. You look at guys like that and you go, man, obviously he didn’t fit for the Chargers or the Dolphins, but he sure as hell fits for us.

Can you explain technically or schematically or in any way you possibly can why you thought the running game wasn’t nearly as effective yesterday against a team that I believe is 31st or 32nd against the run, and you had been running it pretty well.

Yeah, we had been running it pretty well. We got into a game yesterday where we had one possession in the first quarter. In the second and third quarter, we really scored a lot of points and we were really kind of on the run. There weren’t many rushing opportunities. And then in the [fourth] quarter, we had three three-and-outs. There’s not a lot of opportunity in the running game when we’re three-and-out, which we did that there in the fourth quarter.

I thought we did a real good job in the second and third quarter of taking advantage of what we thought we could — we put a lot of pressure on them with our uptempo offense. Guys were making a lot of plays in the passing game. I don’t even know how many rushing attempts we had yesterday, but there probably weren’t too many.

No running back likes to fumble the ball, obviously, but I’ve never seen such a sour look as there was on Kevin Faulk’s face when he thought he fumbled, or wasn’t sure he did, and it got overturned.

Kev’s a perfectionist. He wants to contribute. He wants to be out there. And when he gets his opportunities, he wants to do really well with them. Any time where it’s questionable, where you may think you fumbled the ball, he was disappointed. But he’s a hell of a player. He has been since the day he walked in the door here. He made some real good plays there in the two-minute drill before halftime to get us down the field, which was huge getting that touchdown before halftime.

You know better than anyone what it’s like to go undefeated in a regular season. The Packers are 12-0. I know you don’t care what’s going on; you’re focused on your own game. But do you like their chances to go 16 — or should I say 18-0?

You’re always watching all the good teams around the league. I always try to watch the Packers and the Saints to see what they’re doing offensively. They’re having a hell of a year. They’re tough to beat, I’ll tell you that. I remember when we were going through that. In order to beat our team, and we had a lot of depth that year in ’07, there was a lot of margin for error that we had. When you play really good teams, you’re not going to be able to make mistakes. They’ve been in some close games, they’ve found ways to win close games, and they’ve blown out a lot of teams.

We played them last year later in the year and they were really good last year. And they didn’t even have Aaron [Rodgers] in there last year as their quarterback. With the way that he’s playing football right now, it’s going to be tough for any team.

What’s the hardest thing — just the questions every week or that pressure that builds as you get closer to the end of the season?

There’s no one thing. Like I said, winning an NFL game is hard to do. It really is. There’s good players and there’s fluky things that can happen on any single day. It’s just the consistency of playing good football day in and day out. That’s the biggest challenge, more so than dealing with questions on a Wednesday afternoon. It’s lining up on Sunday afternoon and playing your best game. That’s obviously the most challenging part.

Did Peyton Manning tell you what he plans to do? Everyone’s wondering here. What did he tell you? Is he coming back next year? Is he playing somewhere else? Is he going to stay with the Colts? What do you think?

He said he felt better. He’s a tough guy. He’s as tough as anybody. Obviously, with him never missing a game up until to this point. Even going into training camp, he thought he was going to play. He’s a hell of a player, man. He’s a hell of a player. Watching him over the years, he’s someone that I’ve always watched and tried to learn from, and a lot of aspects of his game that he does better than anybody else. I would never count against a guy like that.

Does the pregame conversation take on a different tone since you’re not going to be competing that day? In fact, would you even have that conversation pregame if he were suiting up?

No, no, probably not. Probably not ’til after the game.

Have you ever had a philosophical discussion with Bill Belichick about what your role and responsibility is in terms of answering questions to the media, because your styles are obviously different?

[Laughing] Well, there’s only one Bill Belichick. There’s no one that can be like him. It’s really his personality. He’s not trying to act a certain way. It’s just the way he is. Everybody is the way they are. What you hear from myself when I speak or Billy O’Brien when he speaks or Nick Caserio when he speaks, that’s everybody’s own personality. If you got me in some other situation, I’d probably speak the same way. And so would coach Belichick. It’s just a matter of your level of comfort and answering questions. But we do it so often. After a while your personality comes out.

Coach Belichick has to talk to the media six days a week. I don’t have it that bad, where I have to talk six days a week. Three days a week for me. The only thing I really like doing during the week is getting ready to play the game.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Peyton Manning, Rob Gronkowski, Taylor Price
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