Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C: ‘I love that [Bill O’Brien] feels that he can coach me’
|12.12.11 at 9:20 am ET|
Following Sunday’s 34-27 victory over the Redskins, the Patriots prepare for Tim Tebow and the Broncos next Sunday in Denver. During his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning, Tom Brady talked about watching Tebow’s latest heroics in a 13-10 overtime victory over the Bears.
“All of us were watching the game last night on the airplane,” Brady said. “Just as we were taking off was when they came back and won the game. It was an exciting game. They obviously have a very good team. They play for 60 minutes. They’ve obviously closed a lot of games and finished very well. We’ve got a huge test. We’ll all be excited and hopefully have a good week of preparation and be ready to go on Sunday.”
Added Brady: “They’re winning a ton of games and he’s playing very well. Everyone says he struggles throwing the ball. What I saw last night, he had no problems throwing the ball. He threw the ball extremely well when I was watching. Hopefully, we can force him into some bad throws and turnovers. But they’ve got a good defense, I know that. That’s what I’ll be preparing for all week.”
Following is a transcript of the conversation, starting with Brady’s explanation of his sideline argument with offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.
Who was madder, you or Billy?
Here’s my take: You were mad early on, and then he got mad late.
When things don’t go so well — we’re both very emotional people, believe me — when things don’t go so well, everyone gets frustrated. There’s different ways that we express our frustration. When I make a play like that at the end of the game, it’s not what he expects or any player/coach expects.
That’s just part of the game. He and I have a great relationship. Actually, I love that he feels that he can coach me. I think that’s something as a veteran player you maybe don’t get a lot from coaches. Because you’re a veteran, you don’t think, “Aw man, I can’t be yelled at.” But yeah, you can. And you should. We’re all held accountable. I’m glad our defense really made the play to win the game at the end, because I’d have been feeling pretty crappy if we’d somehow not pulled that game out with that interception there at the end.
You said during the postgame that you left some points out there on the field. Might part of that frustration that got you revved up even before the interception was thrown [be related to that]?
We had a lot of opportunities in the red area. When you play on the road against a team where — look, we had some opportunities, and we just didn’t take advantage of them. So, it’s pretty uncharacteristic for all those plays, just not being able to connect like we did. That’s part of why we practice. And we’re going to go out there and try to do it better this week. There’s only one way to try to get it done, and that’s to go out there on the practice field and work at it and try to do better.
On the pick, was it the right decision to go to [Tiquan] Underwood and just not the right execution, or did you see something else after you looked at the film, somewhere else you should have gone with the ball, such as to [Rob] Gronkowski?
Gronk had a couple of guys on him.
That doesn’t matter.
[Laughing] That’s where I should have thrown it, then. I should have thrown to Gronk.
I’m guessing you said initially, in the heat of the moment, Underwood could have gone after it harder, shouldn’t have let the DB undercut him. Maybe you have a different view after you calm down and see it on video?
To tell you the truth, I haven’t seen it yet. We got in pretty late last night. It’s one of those plays where the quarterback — look, I’m responsible for taking care of the football. When you’re the quarterback, you hold the ball on every play, and really the fate of the whole team rests in your hands. You’ve got to be able to make great decisions with the ball. If you don’t, your team’s going to struggle. I take that responsibility very seriously. When I make bad plays, I make bad plays. There’s nothing that anybody can do about those except me. Believe me, I felt awful after the game, to put our team in that position. I certainly hope I don’t do that again.
What if nobody broke it up and you guys actually fought. Who would have won?
[Laughing] Billy and I have a great relationship. It’s just venting on both of our parts. And I do that a lot, too. I get on guys all the time. It’s a way to try to get guys to respond. Our team needs a lot of fire. We need a lot of emotion. That’s the way you play the game.
Your thoughts on the offense needing to score 30-something every week to have a very good chance to win — there’s a lot riding on this offense.
I wish yesterday we scored in the mid-40s. That’s what I really wish we did. We had opportunities to do it. The only people that have really have stopped us are ourselves, and our mistakes and the things that we’re not really playing up to our level of expectations. It’s something that we talk about every week and something that we’ve just got to do a better job at. Because we sit here at 10-3, and yeah, we’re in a good position, but we’ve got to really start playing our best brand of football.
Rob, the way that he’s playing, and Aaron [Hernandez] and Wes [Welker] and Deion [Branch], and getting Ti involved, and Chad [Ochocinco], who made some plays in the running game, all those things coordinate to a very strong offense. Like I said, we do it really well in spurts. We’ve just got to try to find ways to do it over the course of an entire game. This would be actually a great week to do it against Denver.
There was a weird series in the middle of the second period where there seemed to be a miscommunication and a miss with Welker, a miscommunication and a miss with Branch, and then without question probably the worst pass you’ve ever thrown in your life over [Danny] Woodhead’s head. Can you talk about those three passes and what was going on there?
The first one was to Wes. It’s just one of those situations where he was thinking one thing and I was thinking another. And then the same thing with Deion. With Danny, I just made a bad throw. There’s no two ways about it. I’ve got to make a good throw on that and I didn’t.
On the replay, you didn’t have the laces in your fingers, you had it in your thumb. When you throw, do you always have the ball gripped correctly?
I knew I didn’t have the laces. It’s how you control the ball. When you don’t get the laces, I was just trying to get the ball out there. I always do have the laces. You always hold the ball the same way. So, when you don’t — I was trying to get it to him quick. I didn’t have the laces. I knew I didn’t have the laces. So, I just didn’t have very good control of the ball. Believe me, it’s a frustrating thing, one of several frustrating things for me.
Do you know that the whole world watches every move you make?
Hopefully, my mom wasn’t trying to read my lips. I tell you, it’s so emotional. When you get caught up in a game like that and the tension’s riding high and there’s pressure on every play, that’s what happens. Certainly, when I miss plays and miss throws that really could help us take control of the game, I get very frustrated. That frustration comes out in different ways.
We as a team, these are the only guys we’ve got. We’ve got our group of guys, and that’s who we rely on and depend on. Those are all the guys that I have a ton of confidence in. It’s all of us being together and winning as a team and ultimately overcoming some pretty tough situations, which we’ve done over the course of the year and hopefully we continue to do.
What’s the clock in your head or the rule in your mind about how late you can wait to slide before you get killed? Because you waited pretty late.
I did. That’s was not a good play by me. I was kind of in between, not really sure, and he was flying at me. London [Fletcher], I think it’s like his 14th or 15th year, but he plays like it’s his third. He’s a hell of a player. I’ve played against him so many times over the years. I thought it was really a clean play by him. I think we’re pretty fortunate we got the call.
Was there a lot of yapping going on at that point? Because it felt like the frustration might get the best of the Redskins when you get a call like that going against you.
Well, I wish we’d have been able to take advantage of it. On the two-minute drive, we had a chance to score there before the end of the half, and we ended up kicking the field goal. In the end, I don’t think it hurt them that much. I wish we’d have gotten the ball in the end zone. But we just didn’t get it done.
It seemed to me that you had a real good sense for the pocket clutter around you and the ability to move just a little bit here and just a little bit there to buy an extra second. Are some days better than others in that regard?
I thought we had great protection all day. We were playing against two very good pass rushers, [Brian] Orakpo and [Ryan] Kerrigan. The way that the offensive line protected, it doesn’t take much for me to just move a little bit here or there when they’re protecting like they did.
They always seem to get their guy. Very rarely is there ever any missed assignments. Those guys play their tail off. We put a lot of pressure on our offensive line with the calls and the different play calls and changes at the line of scrimmage. The way they handled it yesterday was really exceptional on the road. I thought the offensive line played awesome.
After the big Gronk play in the first half that got you 49 yards, the next play, first-and-10, the Gronk 11-yard touchdown, was it the same play or a different play?
Similar, though, right?
Yeah, he was running up the seam there and they had a smaller guy on him. I threw the ball high to him and he made a hell of a catch. With his length and his ability to catch the football away from his body, he creates a lot of mismatches. The play that he made on the catch and run was incredible. To make that play — get open, first of all, on a smaller guy, with his quickness, catch the ball, get up, break tackles, stay in bounds, it’s a phenomenal play. He’s really been doing it all year. It’s nothing that we don’t see in practice. He’s set a record for tight ends catching touchdowns in games; that tells you what kind of year he’s having. That play really sums it up.
What has Gronkowski done that has surprised you? What does he bring — speed, strength, hands, smarts, football savvy? What does he do that’s surprised even you?
I think everything. I think the thing that I’ve been most impressed about with him is since the day he got here, he’s trended upwards. Every day. He never really makes the same mistake twice. As a young player, look, you have a lot of good plays and then you have a lot of bad plays, really just because of a lack of experience. But then as you make mistakes and you learn from those mistakes, you make improvements. And he’s never really regressed.
From the first rookie minicamp, there’s things that we talked about on certain routes: “Rob, on this play, this is what you have to do.” Well, he doesn’t make the same mistake twice. His physical skill obviously puts him a great position to catch a lot of passes and make a lot of runs. Physically, he can overpower guys, but he can outrun guys. He’s got the physical ability but it’s really I think his professionalism and his ability to continue to improve and get better. Both he and Aaron really love football, they love the game. It’s fun to have two young players out there that have had such a huge impact on our team this year.
It strikes me maybe he wouldn’t beat you at Jeopardy, or maybe he wouldn’t score high on the Wonderlic test, but there’s a football lQ there that’s pretty valuable.
Rob is a smart guy.
Yeah, he sure is. Like I said, we do a ton of stuff in our offense. And I really feel that the most challenging position in our offense is tight end. Because you’re involved in every pass play, every run play, every run-blocking scheme, obviously pass protection routes. Sometimes linebackers cover you, sometimes DBs cover you. Every formation you need to be a part of. It’s pretty impressive what both Aaron and Rob can handle in terms of their aptitude. You never worry about those guys trying to figure out, “What’s the play?” or, “What do I have to do?” You call the play and you have great confidence that they’re going to be able to make the plays, which gives me great confidence in getting the ball to them.
What did you say to him when you walked over to him when you were behind center and getting ready to take the snap? You walked over and had a conversation with him.
I was just trying to clean up a play. I wasn’t sure that we were on the same page, so I was just trying to get it right.
You set up Kerrigan — or he did, right? — on the second touchdown. Kerrigan has to think that Gronk’s pass blocking on that play, correct?
Is that as easy as it sounds, or does it take a little savvy on the part of the tight end?
A lot of savvy. A lot of savvy. It’s one of this situations where they’re bringing more guys than you can block. Rob and I, we talked about, “Look, if we get this look, this is probably what we’re going to try to do.” It’s a risk-reward play. It’s a risk-reward play for them. They’re blitzing, with no help. And it’s a risk-reward play for us. If we miss the play, we’re punting on third-and-12 or third-and-11 or whatever it was, third-and-9. And if we make the play, it could be a touchdown. He got the penalty and then made the catch and then dragged them and then broke some tackles and ran it in for a touchdown. It was a phenomenal play by Rob. Like I said, the way that he’s playing, it’s tough for anybody to really match up with him.
Early last year when Gronk had a little bit of success out of the box as a rookie, you said just calm down a little bit, he’s only gotten one of the three playbooks here. Does he have all three books down now?
Well, yeah. We evolve every year, our offense and what we’re trying to do, and plays and schemes and those type of things. He’s extremely comfortable with what we’re doing. At this point of the year, everybody’s very comfortable with what we’re doing. We’ve been doing it now, we’re going on our 18th game including the preseason. That’s a lot of football. College seasons are 12 or 13 games, and we’re basically a season and a half there. And we still have obviously three very important games to go.
Everything you’ve seen thus far we’ve built on and is a part of what we’re trying to to. And I’m sure there’ll be some new things. But what you’ve seen this year is really what you’re going to get.
Does Mile High in Denver present a real physical problem of more of a mental challenge?
The years that I’ve played out there, maybe the first five minutes of the game I think you feel a little bit of the mile-high air. But after that, it’s football. They’re playing very well, obviously. They’ve won a bunch of games here. All of us were watching the game last night on the airplane. Just as we were taking off was when they came back and won the game. It was an exciting game. They obviously have a very good team. They play for 60 minutes. They’ve obviously closed a lot of games and finished very well. We’ve got a huge test. We’ll all be excited and hopefully have a good week of preparation and be ready to go on Sunday.
Will you spend even a minute in the film room looking at Tebow this week?
Coach [Bill] Belichick, in getting our team ready to play, we have a lot of squad meetings over the course of the week, and he’ll go over the entire game plan for the offense, defense and special teams. So, actually, I will get an opportunity to watch some Denver offensive highlights.
How could you not? You’re not the most talked-about quarterback this week.
That’s OK. Believe me, there’s great reason. They’re winning a ton of games and he’s playing very well. Everyone says he struggles throwing the ball. What I saw last night, he had no problems throwing the ball. He threw the ball extremely well when I was watching.
Hopefully, we can force him into some bad throws and turnovers. But they’ve got a good defense, I know that. That’s what I’ll be preparing for all week.