Tom Brady: ‘We all have to be on the same page’
|08.05.12 at 9:46 pm ET|
FOXBORO — While the rest of the world is preoccupied with the Olympics, Tom Brady is preoccupied with his job. He made that abundantly clear on Sunday.
It was obvious late in practice when he gave Aaron Hernandez a little talking to for not being on the same page when he looked to the tight end on a pass play in a two-minute drill.
“You know, guys are working hard, we’re just trying to get things right,” Brady said in explaining his urgent tone on the field. “We don’t have a lot of time – we have a game here in three days. We all have to be on the same page and a lot of communication and it’s not always right out here, so we’re trying to get it right.
“You take six months off, so there’s quite about a bit of time between February and when we start. There’s a new group and you’re doing new things and the communication’s different – that’s why we’re practicing. You get out here in this situation and it’s an important situation, we’re working on the two-minute and you can’t afford mistakes, you know all 11 of us have to be on the same page. That’s why we do the two-minute at the end of practice, because you’re tired, you’re drenched in sweat and that’s when your concentration needs to be at its best because that’s when the game is on the line.”
Now, with the Saints marching in following their Hall of Fame game against the Cardinals Sunday night in Canton, Brady and the Patriots can finally practice against another team besides themselves.
“We’ll see how it goes. I think we’ve done it before, so hopefully we can get a lot out of it. They’re [the Saints] a very good team. It’s fun to have a game week and we’ve been trying to string practices together. We’ve had some good ones, we’ve had some ones that haven’t been great and you try to learn from your mistakes and come back and not repeat them. So now you get to see a different set of defenses, opponents, matchups and personnel and we’re going to see where we’re at.”
More from Brady’s Q and A with reporters on Sunday evening outside Gillette Stadium.
Q: You’re 35 years old now. Vinny Testaverde came through when he was 42 and Doug Flutie was 43. Did these guys kind of inspire you when they still had that enthusiasm for football, they were in great shape and they were still able to be effective in their early 40s? Did that kind of inspire you and make you say, ‘Hey I want to do that?’
TB: They were great teammates and I certainly learned a lot from them in terms of how to play the position and how to prepare mentally and physically for the season. Both were great athletes and I really enjoyed having them as guys that I could play with. I’m a long ways from 42 and hopefully I’m still talking to you guys when I’m 42.
Q: But you’ve always said that you want to play until you’re 40. Do you still have that desire?
TB: Yeah, I want to play a long time. I think the reality is we’re focused on this year and there’s no season other than this season that I’m worried about. We’ve got our work cut out for us – it will be a huge challenge. But the guys out here, you come out to work every day and it’s been warm weather and we’re trying to get in good shape and like I said, string a bunch of good practices together and ultimately be ready for the Saints coming in this week.
Q: Can you share a little bit of what you said to the guys after the fight at Friday’s practice?
TB: I mean we’ve moved on from that, we had a good day off yesterday and I honestly wasn’t even involved in any of it. It wouldn’t be good if I was in the middle of any of that.
Q: There have been a lot of changes on the offensive line so far. How are you feeling about it and what do you see in terms of progress for guys who haven’t played that much and are playing now?
TB: There’s a lot of confidence in that group and there certainly have been guys in there who are battle tested and that have played quite a bit and have been in the system and coached by Dante [Scarnecchia]. The expectations are high for that position and there is a lot of competition. Those guys are working hard. They’re fighting every day out here and they’re working hard to figure out a role for themselves. I’ve got a lot of confidence in that group and I’ve never lacked for confidence in our offensive line.
Q: You’re obviously busy with camp, but did you have a chance to watch any of the Hall of Fame stuff? Does that sort of stuff interest you?
TB: Honestly I didn’t see any of it. I missed it, but I’m sure it was a great event.
Q: How have you changed as a leader over the past couple of years, if at all?
TB: I think leadership is certainly by example and you can never ask [something] of anyone that you don’t ask of yourself. You come out and you try to bring a good attitude and bring energy to practice every day and make good plays and be dependable and consistent and that’s what you ask of everybody else. Naturally it’s a part of the quarterback position and every year is a little bit different. I’m excited about the group of guys we’ve got and everyone seems to be out here working hard. We’ll see what we’ve got when we play against a very good team this week.
Q: Are you seeing the right kind of intensity from everybody on the offensive and defensive side of the ball?
TB: Well it’s an emotional game and you’ve got to bring emotion to practice and you’ve got to bring emotion to games. This is not a game where you come out flat for practice – you’ve got to come out and work hard and try to get everything you can out of practice. Everyone seems to be doing that and Coach Belichick wants that level of intensity. He wants to see how mentally tough we are and the guys have to come out and show that every day.
Q: With no two-a-days and with the days off from the practice field, is there a big difference from previous years in terms of making every moment on the field count because there are fewer moments on the field now than there have been in the past?
TB: Yeah there hasn’t been as much on-the-field work, but you’ve got to take advantage when you’re on the field. Everyone’s really at the same spot. We’re all playing by the same set of rules. Whoever maximizes their time on the field, their time on the walkthrough, is going to have an advantage. I think our coaches put a lot of emphasis on the walkthroughs and in the meeting rooms. Certainly when we get on the field we’re not expected to come out here and make a bunch of mistakes; because we’re only coming out here once a day we’ve got to bring the intensity and we’ve got to get things right.
Q: Because of the number of times you’ve been to the Super Bowl, nobody has played more games per year at the position than you have. Are the new CBA rules that limit practice advantageous for you? It’s a double edged sword in the sense that you’re going to be fresher later, but at the same time you might not have as many things installed.
TB: It all depends. The advantage is that as an older player it’s not like I have to study my playbook a ton. I mean I know what we’re doing, I know why we’re doing it and I know the calls. It’s more mentally making sure that you bring emotion and energy and making sure that you have the enthusiasm and the execution is good. Everyone is working on something. It’s not like you can just go through the motions out here or else you don’t improve. I’m competing just like everybody else. I’m competing for my role and my spot and trying to be a good leader and trying to set a good example as a quarterback. I think that’s my challenge: to come out here every day and bring everything that I have to try to make us a better team.
Q: Have you had a chance to check out any of the Olympic action? Maybe the gymnastics with Aly Raisman who’s a local girl?
TB: Not much, not much. We’ve been pretty tied up here and it’s hard to break free.
Q: She tied for bronze but she didn’t get the medal because of how the points added up. Now she has a chance to get a medal coming up in the next few days. What advice would you give her for somebody who failed to maybe try to come back and win?
TB: Honestly I’m not super familiar with everything that’s going on. It’s pretty exceptional for those athletes to be representing our country.
Q: Well what advice would you give for anybody?
TB: I don’t like giving too much advice. I feel like I’m still looking for advice. I’m not much of an advice giver [laughs].
Q: You’re still competing for that job right?
TB: That’s exactly right. That’s how you’ve got to approach it. You can’t take anything for granted out here. You never know when your last snap is going to be, so you’ve got to come out here every day and work as hard as you can. I’m trying to get advice, that’s what I’m trying to get.
Q: Good luck with that, I hope you get the job.
TB: Thank you.
Q: How much do Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer pick your brain?
TB: Yeah, they’re both coming back from last season and it’s a fun group. We have a great relationship between the three of us and we’re always encouraging each other. The quarterback position is a position of leadership, so whoever is in there we’re supporting and we’re trying to eliminate mistakes and set a great example for the rest of the guys. We’ve got to do that every single day. We’ve got to come out every day with a great attitude and see if we can lead the team.
Q: Where would you say you based on the practices so far in terms of meshing with the offensive line? There are a lot of new faces and new positions. How would you grade it right now?
TB: We’ve got a long way to go. We’ve got a long way to go. We’ve got a lot of practices, a lot of meetings; we’ve got four preseason games. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us and we’re nowhere where we need to be here, but that’s why we’re coming out and practicing every day. Like I said, we’re not taking anything for granted, we’re trying to come out and string practices together. We had a good one today and we’ve got to come out and have a good one tomorrow.
Q: What kind of role do you play during the preseason games after you’ve come out of the game and you’re watching Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett? Are you in their ear? Are you studying what the other team’s defense is doing? What are you doing?
TB: Yeah I’m into the game. I’m watching, I’m listening for the calls and seeing what I would do if I was out there and going through the mental reps and encouraging the guys and making sure that we’re all on the same page and communicating. You certainly don’t take that preparation off. We’re playing a different team and they have a different scheme and you never know when your number is going to be called. So you’re trying to encourage those other guys, but also really stay into the game.
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