Tom Brady on the impact the late Tom Martinez still has on him, his own health and focus
|06.13.12 at 4:55 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It’s been almost four months since Tom Brady lost the single biggest influence in his football life. But he said on Wednesday, following the second of three mandatory minicamp practices at Gillette Stadium, that Tom Martinez still has a huge impact on him. Martinez, who was waiting on a kidney transplant, died on Feb. 21 from a heart attack during dialysis on his 66th birthday.
“I had a great level of comfort with Tom over the years,” Brady said. “He was always someone I could call on to rely on him. I know he’s watching down with every throw and I hear his voice in the back of my head after every throw. Throwing the football is about mechanics. There’s nothing special. It’s just a matter of doing it the right way. The better mechanical you are, the more accurate you’re going to be able to throw the football.”
So what are those words that Brady hears?
“When you’re not accurate, there’s a reason for it. It’s not like, ‘Hey you’ve got to throw the ball more accurate.’ No, there’s a reason. What are you doing?
“I’m constantly evaluating every throw. I watch every practice. Every rep I take in practice, I have someone film and I watch it after practice. I just make sure I’m continuing to work on the right things because ultimately when you’re under pressure, your body is going to revert to what it knows. Muscle memory is a very important thing for a quarterback. Hopefully, you train your muscles to react the way you need them to react when the pressure is on the most. That allows you to throw the ball with velocity and accuracy. The tougher the games get, the closer the coverages, the more accurate you need to be,” Brady added.
Martinez coached and mentored Brady every since the Patriots quarterback grew up in California and eventually attended the University of Michigan. Martinez, who also worked with John Elway and JaMarcus Russell, followed Bill Walsh and John Madden at the College of San Mateo before being forced to retire due to health concerns.
“I have to rely on what he’s taught me over the years,” Brady said. “I have a lot of stuff written down of things we’ve talked about and things that I’ve learned and I have a great understanding of mechanically what I need to be able to do. It’s just a matter of seeing it and being able to correct it. Hopefully, you can correct it between series sometimes. You don’t always have the fortune to wait until Monday to figure things out. Sometimes you have to figure them out in the middle of the third quarter. That’s something where I have to rely on what he’s taught me over the years.”
Something Brady has taught himself is to take care of his body, something he stressed Wednesday. He had his minicamp weigh-in on Wednesday and tipped the scales at 228 pounds.
“I feel really good,” Brady said. “I feel great. I’m right about where I always am, to tell you the truth. We had weigh-in today and I’m right where coach wants me at.
“I think you really refine what you do over the course of years because you realize what works for you and what you need to do to be prepared for the football season. I think there are things you do when you’re younger I haven’t necessarily done in a while because I don’t think it really correlates well to being a better football player. And ultimately, we’re trying to be the best football player we can be, not necessarily the best weight-lifter, or the best sprinter. You need to be the best football player.”
Brady said it’s easier to stay in shape now than it was when he came into the NFL in 2000.
“A lot,” Brady said when asked how much he watches what he eats. “And every year it seems to be little different. So, I’m always looking for little ways to improve. Certainly, eat healthier, which is actually easier to do now than it used to be when when I was young. I eat pretty good.”
As for the minicamp and the end of the OTA program on Thursday, Brady said he and the team have covered a lot of ground.
“It’s been a lot of fun, being back on the field, having a chance to work with a lot of the new guys,” Brady said. “Some of those guys, we’ve worked with and there’s a lot of familiarity with [Donte Stallworth] and [Jabar Gaffney] with the stuff. They’ve already done our offense so it’s been good. We’ve had 12 practices. We have one more [Thursday] and have to finish strong.
“We’ve done a lot of installation. There’s been a lot of stuff thrown at the players, mentally probably more than our level of comfort. But it’s nice for everyone to hear things and cover everything and then at least you’ve heard it once you get to training camp. There’s been a lot of installation every day. Coach has really kept the pressure on us to see how much we’re retaining from week to week. Guys have worked hard at it. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Brady emphasized that he and the team are no where near ready to even think about playing games, and that’s the most challenging part of minicamp, knowing that preparing the body and mind comes before game preparation.
“It’s been a different offseason than last year but a lot of the guys have adapted and we pretty much have everyone out there,” Brady added. “So, you can really see what kind of team you’re going to be, see the level of competition, the level of focus, the level of concentration, especially on wet, rainy days. We’re moving from situation to situation. It’s been a lot of red area work right into third down work, backed-up, plus-50 work, so we’ve really had to focus our mind and be ready to shift and adapt over the course of the practice to try to simulate what we do in a game. It’s been a lot.
“It just lets everybody know where they’re at and what they need to do over the next five weeks. If you feel like you’re not real comfortable with everything we’re doing then you know you have to put a lot of time in your playbook. If you feel like your conditioning needs to be better, that’s what you need to do, your strength, that’s what you need to do, your speed that’s what you need to do. You can feel pretty comfortable based on the way it looks out there. No one’s ready to play a game yet, I can assure you of that. We’ve got a lot of work before we’re ready for that.”
The Patriots will be off until July 26, when they report for training camp. But Brady said players do not look at the next five weeks as vacation.
“Hopefully, we don’t look at it like that,” he added. “We’re in full preparation mode. This is the point where things really start getting ramped up. There’s no breaks. We had our vacation. We had a lot of time off and now it’s time to really focus in on what we need to do because we’re going to blink and the first game is going to be here. You have about five weeks and everyone should use it really wisely, get in better shape, better football shape, have a better understanding of what we’re doing so that we can go out there and when training camp starts, you can really get off to a great start in training camp.
“I’ve got a long way to go, a long way to go, nowhere near where I want to be or need to be.”
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