Tom Brady: Patriots offensive linemen ‘do a damn good job’
|09.05.12 at 1:45 pm ET|
FOXBORO — As he did after taking some bruising hits after the Tampa Bay game on Aug. 24 – the last time he played in a game – Tom Brady expressed total support and confidence in his offensive line Wednesday, just four days before he and the Patriots start taking snaps for real.
Asked would he rather have worked with the different combinations of line groupings in the preseason or had one cohesive unit, Brady said offensive production is all about confidence, and he has plenty of it.
“Whoever is out there is out there and whoever’s out there has earned that position,” Brady said. “They’ve done what the coaches have asked them to do and there’s a lot of confidence that they’ll be able to do their job. My focus is on quarterback and I’ve got enough to worry about as it. It’s not like I figured everything out the past four weeks either, so I’ve got to go out there and try to do what my role is and that’s play quarterback. I let those guys really do what they do and they do a damn good job of doing that and playing offensive line.
“I think you play with confidence and you play with confidence in the guys around you that they’re going to do their job. I think we let our play kind of let our play speak for itself. At the end of the day, you can make a bunch of predictions, but it really doesn’t matter because you have to go out there and prove it. You say, ‘How prepared are we?’ or ‘How prepared are we to this point?’ Well, we’ll know Sunday afternoon at about 4:00. We’ll see if all the work that we put in is really going to pay off.
More from Brady’s Q and A with reporters in the visitors locker room Wednesday inside Gillette Stadium.
Q: Can you talk about the excitement of the season starting for real on Sunday?
TB: Yeah, there’s certainly a lot of excitement from everybody in the locker room. It’s been a long training camp and I think every on is excited to get to this point. It’s very good team that we’re playing. Certainly on defense we’ve got a lot to prepare for; it’s a challenging scheme. We’ve spent quite a bit of time on them already and this is really the feel of a normal week, the Wednesday morning meeting we have with Coach [Bill Belichick] and you walk out of that meeting and there’s just a different sense of urgency. I think all the players recognize that and we’ve got to go out and have a good three days of preparation and then try to go out and put together a good game on Sunday.
Q: Is there a sense of urgency to get that first game underway and get everybody prepared?
TB: I think there’s really an excitement of what we’re doing and you really are excited to see how the team’s going to come together. You put in all the practice in the springtime and then the practice in the summer time, and now after Labor Day is when the football season kicks off. So there’s just definitely a progression of really what’s next. I think there’s just the sense of urgency you feel in terms the coaching you’re getting and everyone is on the clock, so it’s about going out there and trying to make every play count in practice so you’re as prepared as you can possibly be.
Q: You completed 122 passes to Wes Welker last year, but not very many in live action this preseason. How do you know that you have done all you can when you have not had a chance to throw to guys like Wes and Brandon Lloyd very much in preseason games?
TB: You don’t know, but you have confidence that you can do it when it matters. Like I said, everything needs to be proven; it’s not like the predictions you make on Wednesday all come true. You go out and every play is designed to score a touchdown. It doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what’s going to be the case in the case in the game, but if you put together enough good plays and not negative plays and penalties and turnovers and things that play into complementary football, and that’s getting everybody involved, whether it’s Wes or the running backs or tight ends. There are certainly a lot of skill players that touch the ball in the preseason. It’s about really going where the coverage dictates it and when a guy like Wes has 122 catches, a lot of times the coverage dictated that the ball go to Wes. Now if they choose to tighten the coverage on Wes, then the ball goes somewhere else. So it’s just a matter of trying to evaluate what they’re trying to do defensively and try to make a good decision at quarterback in order to get the ball to the guy that should get it.
Q: What have you seen them do to make it difficult for you personnel wise and scheme wise?
TB: I think they have good matchups. It’s a very fast front that’s very disruptive, so you don’t have a lot of time to sit back there and evaluate what’s going on. I think they mix in enough zone coverage with man coverage where it’s really tough to anticipate. To try to get a good pre-snap read and a good post-snap read and not really make up your mind before the ball is snapped of where the ball should go because they and they make some things look very similar, some blitzes look like coverage, some coverages look like blitzes, so you have to do a good job post-snap of really figuring out what they’re doing and find the open guy.
Q: About one third of the league is rolling out new quarterbacks this year. With your longevity in the league, are you every surprised by the turnover?
TB: I mean, there’s turnover every year on our team, on every team, coaches players and staff and so forth, so I don’t think about it too much. I think I learned at a young age that you worry about what you can control and certainly playing quarterback and my attitude is what I think about on a daily basis. That’s pretty much it.
Q: What is it like to see three of the guys you are closest with get cut on the same day with Deion Branch, Brian Hoyer and Dan Koppen?
TB: Well, like I said, I think in some ways you become a bit desensitized to it. It’s not my decision, so I can’t really think about it too much other than supporting your friends and what they’re going through. But it’s not like I can go in and lobby for guys; It’s what decisions have been made or what coach always feels is in the best interest of the team. You just try to worry about going out there and doing your job. And we had practice that day, so we went out and practiced and you try to have a good practice regardless of who is out there because if you don’t, you’re really doing a disservice to yourself, your teammates and the franchise. You have to go out and compartmentalize things and go out there and have good practices and ultimately be prepared for the game.
Q: When did you learn that lobbying does not work?
TB: I think you realize at a young age that you really don’t know what you don’t know, so you see guys in the springtime that have great spring camps. I remember my second year, we had a receiver, Aaron Bailey, that was pretty good. I thought, ‘Man, this guy is really good,’ and then we released him and I couldn’t believe it. ‘Man, we released that guy. He’s the one that made all the plays.’ That’s just what happens. You see a lot of players come and go and you just learn to deal with it, learn to live with it, and you understand, like, what my job is – it’s challenging enough as it is. I don’t have to worry about too many other jobs.
Q: What have you seen from playing against some of the defensive players you guys drafted and how excited are you to see them out on the field?
TB: I’ve seen them a lot in practice and it’s challenging as a rookie to grasp everything and certainly everyone will see where they’re at this weekend. They’ll have a great opportunity that they’re out on the field being able to participate. They’ve got an opportunity just like everybody else and they’re expected to go out there and do their job.
Q: Can you talk about the element of surprise in dealing with a team you have not really seen yet?
TB: Yeah, that’s part of it. You have to deal with what you’ve seen because that’s what they’re working on and you have to deal with things that could come up because you understand that they’re probably holding some things back. Ultimately it’s going to come down to who executes the best. It’s not the scheme; it’s taking care of the football, who does better on third down and the red area, taking advantage of scoring and penalties, all the things that play into every game. But yeah, it’s different than Week 15 when you have a whole season’s worth of film on a certain team. There are some things we’re preparing for that we probably won’t see and certainly there are things that they’re doing that we haven’t seen. That’s just part of playing really early in the season.
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