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Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C: Most proud of starting all 16 weeks

01.03.12 at 10:31 am ET
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Tom Brady throws a pass during Sunday's victory over the Bills. (AP)

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady joined Dennis & Callahan Tuesday morning, following his 338-yard, three-touchdown passing performance in Sunday’s 49-21 comeback victory over the Bills.

Brady finished the season with 5,235 passing yards, second most in NFL history to Drew Brees‘ 5,486. But he said the individual statistic he’s most proud of this season is his durability.

“I’m happy I was out there to start 16 weeks,” he said. “I think that’s what I’m probably most proud of, that I was able to be there for my teammates and come out every week and start the game. To be durable and to try to be a consistent player on our team, that’s probably what I’m most proud of.”

While the Patriots are headed to the playoffs, the Jets are heading on vacation following Sunday’s season-ending loss to the Dolphins. Brady was asked if he is enjoying the demise of his nemesis from New York.

“Yeah, there’s a few websites I like where they have all the New York papers. I read a few of those articles. I would be remiss not to,” he said. “They had a tough year. I’m glad we beat them twice. That was a huge key to our season, that win against the Jets in the Meadowlands. We’ll see them next year. They’re not going anywhere. I’m sure they’ll come back with just as much confidence next year.”

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

Are you and your teammates concerned that slow starts could be a fatal flaw in the playoffs?

We’re always trying to play better. I think we come out of every game saying there’s things we didn’t do so well and there’s things we have to do better. I don’t think what’s in our mind is, “We’re going to lose, we’re going to lose, we’re going to lose.” You don’t think about that. You think you’re going to win. You think you’re going to pull the game out. You have confidence that if you play for four quarters and you play hard and you make more plays than the other team, then at the end of the 60 minutes you’re going to win the game. Believe me, we all wish we were up 21-0 instead of down 21-0. But if we’re down 21-0 we still have confidence that we can come back and win the game.

You said in the postgame that the reason you fell behind was because we as a team weren’t executing. Why not executing? Why did the team not appear to be ready to play at kickoff?

I don’t know. I don’t know. We just didn’t make the plays. We’ll go in there today, we’ll watch the film and we’ll try and make corrections. We’ll try to go out there and do a better job next week.
Is it a physical thing, like a 1 o’clock game is too early, guys aren’t physically ready? Could it be as simple as that?

I would hope not. I don’t think anyone can put a finger on exactly what it is. But we’ve won eight straight, we feel very good about that. We continue to make improvements. We’ve certainly showed that we can score points. And when we get a lead on teams, we don’t usually give that up. There’s been a lot of positives to take from the last eight weeks.

The last two times you got bounced in the playoffs at home. Do you know what happened? Does it make sense what happened in those two games, and do you see it easily corrected?

They’re two totally different teams in two totally different years against two totally different opponents that really has no impact on this next week’s game. It’s a completely different team that we have and probably the team that we’ll face. To me, it’s very pointless to talk about something that happened a year ago, like it’s going to have any impact on what’s going to happen in two weeks. Because it really won’t.

If you have to narrow it down, if you’re going to pick a championship football team, is it one of two things: Defense wins championships, or great quarterbacks win championships? What’s more important?

It depends on the game. It depends on the team. There’s not one thing. There’s certainly been great defenses that have won. There’s been great quarterbacks that have won. There’s been teams with both of those that have won and lost. You’ve got to be able to make critical plays on defense when you need to. You’ve got to be able to score points in critical situations on offense. It’s about complementing each other and taking advantage of opportunities that you may get on either side of the ball. If the offense gets a short field, you’ve got to be able to take advantage of that and get the ball in the end zone.

Can a team win a Super Bowl without excellent play by the quarterback?

It all depends how the team plays. The quarterback is an important position because you’re touching the ball on every play, and your decisions impact the whole team because you have the ball. The quarterback has to play well. There’s times that the quarterback doesn’t play well and they still win. There’s games where I haven’t played my best game but we still won. It ends up coming down to scoring more points than the other team, and there’s no formula to that, other than who plays better on that particular day. If you win 45-42, does it really matter? Or if you win 7-3? You’re just trying to score more points and advance to the next round.

Were you happy when you guys got [Rob] Gronkowski that record? Was that kind of a team-unifying thing that you guys all felt good about at the end?

I didn’t know about it standing on the sidelines. I don’t know who knew about it. Someone must have known, but I wasn’t aware of it. I’m not really sure where that came from.

Are you upset that [Brian] Hoyer has a higher rating than you?

[Laughing] Certainly not. He’s a hell of a player. He’s got a great future. He’s been great to play with. He’s a great person and friend and teammate. It’s always fun to see him go in there and do well.

That first-quarter sack where you lost 11, you landed on your left shoulder rather violently. On the way down did you think, “Oh, this isn’t good,” and did it do any damage?

No, I didn’t think about it at all. I don’t think out that when I’m out there. You just try to play through sacks and hits, and some feel better than others. I’ve played a lot of football games now, and there’s only one serious injury that took me out of a game. Hopefully, I don’t have any of those in the near future.

Did we see some new plays this week?

Yeah, you’re always finding ways to put some new little tweaks in your offense, new little dimensions. We’ve definitely done that. You have to try to show some new things every week. Really, your core of your offense is what it is, and people have seen that now for 16 weeks. So, you try to find a few things to keep them off balance.

What play pleased you the most? Was it the [Aaron] Hernandez short catch and long run, the BenJarvus Green-Ellis screen pass, or something else?

We had a lot of good plays where there was really solid execution. Those are the good ones. The screens were great. Anytime Aaron gets the ball in his hands his ability to catch and run with it is really second to none. Gronk had some big plays. We ran the ball well at times. There were some really good plays when we needed to. We didn’t start it as well as we would have liked, but we pretty much scored on every possession after that

Did you watch any of Andrew Luck last night?

I didn’t, no.

When you see a college quarterback, do you look at it differently than we do? He looks like a sure thing. Are we wrong to look at a guy like that who’s got all the tools and say he’s going to be a really good NFL quarterback?

I think it’s hard to really say anybody’s a sure thing. I think that’s just been proven too many times where guys aren’t really sure things. I think it’s hard, from my own perspective, when I see good college players, or guys that come in and have plenty of ability — first-round picks, second-round picks, third-round picks — where they just don’t end up living up to the expectations maybe that they have for themselves or that other people may have for them.

It’s a different game. The college game translates very differently to the pro game. It’s probably pretty hard to evaluate college talent, because it’s very different than the pro game. Really, it takes a player to come in, and they have to be in the right situation to succeed, and then their own work ethic and opportunity and taking advantage of the situations that are presented to them. I would say it’s very tough to say, “Man, this guy, for sure, he’s going to be a great player.”

What’s the single biggest obstacle a college quarterback has to make when he comes into the pros? Is it speed or complexity of the game?

It’s everything. The game is just different. In college, if you hand the ball off — when I was at Michigan, if you handed the ball off, you were going to gain yards. In the pros, if you hand it off into a bad look, you’re going to lose four yards. In college, I’d sit back, I’d drop back and I’d have all the time in the world to make decisions because I had a very good offensive line. Well, in the pros, you don’t have that. If you have a very good offensive line and they have a very good defensive line, you’re going to have to get rid of the ball quickly. It’s just all those things that you have to re-train yourself through hours and hours of preparation. You have to go through those kind of learning — you have to learn from your mistakes and hopefully not repeat them.

He wasn’t yelling at you this time on the sideline, but do you have any idea what Billy O’Brien was pissed at? It was after a made field goal.

Probably just our lack of execution. I think it’s frustrating for everybody when we don’t get the ball in the end zone when we need to get it in the end zone. When we’re not playing the way that our coaches expect us, they usually let us know about it.

After Benny’s great screen that gained 53, you got pissed after what you thought I guess was a holding call on Hernandez? You could hear you kind of hacked off. Is that what you thought you saw?

Yeah, yeah. I thought the guy twisted Aaron around and grabbed his jersey and the ref didn’t see it. That always kind of pisses me off.

Do they answer you when you go up to an official and say something like that, or do they just keep their mouth shut?

I don’t know. He said something. I’m usually talking, so I don’t hear it. I’m getting as many swear words out as I can.

You may lose your offensive coordinator. He’s rumored to be going everywhere — college, pros, everywhere. Will that be a tough transition, to break in another guy next year?

I haven’t thought about it. I really don’t know what the situation is with Billy. He’s been a great coach and a friend of mine. I don’t think anyone really knows what’s going to happen. I hope he’s here for a long time, but everyone gets different opportunities. No one really knows how those opportunities, what will really pan out.

Did you enjoy the demise of the Jets?

Yeah, there’s a few websites I like where they have all the New York papers. I read a few of those articles. I would be remiss not to.

They had a tough year. I’m glad we beat them twice. That was a huge key to our season, that win against the Jets in the Meadowlands. We’ll see them next year. They’re not going anywhere. I’m sure they’ll come back with just as much confidence next year.

Did you agree with the official’s call that said you were driven to the ground on the interception return.

Probably not. Probably not. I didn’t even know they threw a flag. I was already on the sideline. I was pretty pissed at that point.

You did a pretty good acting job, though.

Yeah, it doesn’t take much for me to go down.

Do you think you get more calls than the average bear?

No, I haven’t gotten any calls all year. That was maybe my first call all year. I don’t think I’ve gotten any roughing or any of that. I know, it’s funny, because people say that. I don’t get any calls.

Don’t all quarterback get calls?

Yeah, I know. It’s part of the position. Receivers get calls, DBs get calls. But when a quarterback gets calls, there’s some big issue with it. Everyone’s bitching about quarterbacks getting calls. There’s linemen that hold and don’t get called. There’s D-linemen that hold and don’t get called. It’s part of the game.

Do you sit down on a bye week and watch all the games like we do? Or do you wait until they’re over and get your videotape and watch what you have to watch?

I’ll get a jump on all the opponents. That’s what I’ll probably watch. I’ll probably watch as many of the teams that are in the playoffs as I can watch, just on my home computer. Just because next week we’re playing on a Saturday, so if the game doesn’t get decided until Sunday, you’re on a six-day week and you’ve got to be ahead. I’m going to try to get a jump on everybody this week.

Is there one individual thing you did that you’re particularly proud of — one record, anything you look back on in the regular season that meant a lot to you?

Yeah, I’m happy I was out there to start 16 weeks. I think that’s what I’m probably most proud of, that I was able to be there for my teammates and come out every week and start the game. To be durable and to try to be a consistent player on our team, that’s probably what I’m most proud of.

What’s the best thing you got from Santa at Christmas, and what’s the best thing the boys got?

The boys, what’d they get? They got …

Uggs.

Yeah, Uggs. All my linemen got all that. Half my locker room got Uggs this year.

How does that happen? Do you take their sizes or just give them a card and they go exchange the card for Uggs?

I just ordered as many big sizes as they had in stock: 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s.

You are the most effective spokesman. Now, because of Brady, you look at them and say they’re not so bad [for men].

They’re great. The boots are awesome. Especially this time of year. We were out there walking yesterday, took our son for a walk, and I had my Uggs on. It was cold out, but my feet weren’t cold.

So, what did the boys get, like a Maybach or something?

My other son got a Lego set, which he loves. He loves Legos. And then my youngest son, he just liked opening up the [gifts]. The wrapping paper was probably his favorite. And anything his brother was holding is what he wanted.

And anything stands out in your mind from Santa?

My wife just got me a picture of my boys. That was what I wanted. That was all I needed.

Not to mention a first-round bye and home-field advantage.

Yeah, that’s perfect. That’s what my teammates got me. I’m excited about that.

On “Two and a Half Men” they mentioned your wife’s name. Did you know that?

I didn’t know that, no. I haven’t seen that show. We watched the season finale of “Dexter” yesterday.

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Andrew Luck, Bill O'Brien, Brian Hoyer
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