FOXBORO — There’s no time to worry about the loss of Rob Gronkowski . There’s only time to worry about how to beat the suddenly re-energized Jets on national television on three days’ rest.
Just ask Tom Brady .
“We’re just trying to prioritize our time. We don’t have much of it,” Brady said. “We leave tomorrow, and hopefully everyone is spending their time wisely, not playing video games and stuff like that. Trying to understand, and what we need to do, and it’s a very tough place to play. We’ve always played this team very tough. It should be a fun night.”
One thing is for sure, Brady is expecting something different defensively from Rex Ryan  and the Jets defense.
“You may know the players, some of the scheme stuff, but at the same time, you have to put as much as you can into it in the short amount of time that we have,” Brady said. “You just can’t take anything for granted against this team. They’ll have something new for us, they always do.”
From Ryan’s perspective, giving Brady multiple looks is a matter of survival, and a reason why the Jets had a chance back on Oct. 21, losing in overtime to the Patriots, 29-26.
“I just know that the way he prepares and everything else, that this guy is a once-in-a-generation, lifetime-type quarterback that you get everything from,” Ryan said in a conference call Tuesday . “He has the skill, obviously, to make every throw. But he’s smart and he’ll see that if there’s somebody that’s tipping it, he’ll find that guy. If he knows exactly what you’re in coverage-wise, then you have no chance. I mean no chance. That’s where you have to be multiple. You can’t just line up and do the same thing over and over and over again and then he’ll put up numbers where he may throw it 45 times and throw five incompletions. That’s it. Hopefully it doesn’t happen here. You have to do enough things with pressure, simulated pressure, coverage, whatever it is, you have to be multiple against him.”
Brady said while the Jets are always tough, the Patriots left a lot of points on the field when they played at Gillette the first time. The Patriots were just 9-for-17 on third down and Brady was 26-of-42 for 259 yards for two touchdowns.
“Obviously we didn’t execute very well,” Brady said. “I think we had some opportunities that we just didn’t really take advantage of, and they played really well. They always seem to play us well. There’s been one game where we beat them up pretty well a few years ago, but other than that, they’ve all been pretty tight games. That’s just the way it is against the Jets.
“They look like the same Jets defense to me like they always have. They’re very good, disruptive, physical, they’re tough, they’re smart, they play well together. They’re really a very good group.”
Here is the full transcript of Tuesday’s Q and A with Tom Brady at Gillette:
Q: What are the challenges of preparing on a short week?
TB: We’re just trying to prioritize our time; we don’t have much of it. We have to leave tomorrow. Hopefully everyone is spending their time wisely, not playing video games and stuff like that, trying to understand our plan and what we need to do. It’s a very tough place to play. We’ve always played this team very tough. It should be a fun night.
Q: You guys always talk about how the season doesn’t really start until Thanksgiving. Does it feel like things are about to really pick up here?
TB: Well, yeah. I think we’re at that point where, I mean, every game ‘ this game is bigger than the last one. It was a good win for us the other night, but now we need to put together another one. This team makes it tough on you. They do quite a few things defensively. They really played us well last time. It certainly wasn’t our best performance out there offensively, so we’ve got a big task.
Q: Over the past few weeks it seems like your offense is really clicking. What would you credit that to?
TB: We’re just executing. I think we’re doing a good job of executing. Guys are doing their job. Guys are working hard at trying to understand what they need to do. Offensive football is about 11 guys being on the same page, so we’re trying to get everyone on the same page. This is an important week for that. If you’re not, this team makes you pay. So they have a lot of different blitz schemes that are challenging, personnel groupings. They kind of throw everything at you, so we’ve got to really be on top of our execution.
Q: How do you balance the advantage of the familiarity with an AFC East opponent with not becoming complacent?
TB: Yeah, I mean, I think you can maybe get lulled into a sense of confidence that ‘Oh yeah, we know this team. It’s the Jets.’ But, you’ve got to prepare just as hard. You may know the players and know some of the scheme stuff, but at the same time, you have to put as much as you can into it in the short amount of time that we have. You just can’t take anything for granted against this team. They’ll have something new for us; they always do. They always play us differently than the way we thought they were going to play us and that’s the way it’s going to be as well. It’s about using our time wisely and then once you get in the game, see how it plays out and adjust to what they do.
Q: Is it a little harder to prepare knowing Rob Gronkowski won’t be there for some of the offensive things you want to do against the Jets?
TB: Yeah, I mean it’s certainly ‘ he’s been a very productive player, so other guys just have to step into that spot and do the job. That’s what it comes down to. That’s football and every team deals with it at one point or another. He’s a tough guy to replace, but that’s what we need to do.
Q: Is it realistic to ask whoever it is to step in and expect the same production you would get from Rob Gronkowski?
TB: Every player has some different strengths and so forth and you try to play to those guys’ strengths. I don’t think you go into it and you say’¦there’s only one Rob Gronkowski; there’s only one of those in the league. The guys that are going to be in there playing that role ‘ Visanthe [Shiancoe] and Hooman [Michael Hoomanawanui] and Daniel [Fells] ‘ they have to go in there and do the best they can do. That’s why they’re on the team and that’s why we have 53 guys on the roster: so everybody can contribute at one point or another.
Q: Are you confident that those guys will try to play within themselves and do what they can do instead of trying to do more and maybe hurting the team?
TB: I think everyone is just going to go out there and try to always do the best we can do. I’m trying to do that. Wes [Welker ] is trying to do that. Everybody at every position is going to try to give it their best this week. That’s what we all need to do.
Q: Have you had a chance to see or talk to Rob Gronkowski since yesterday?
TB: Not much. I’ve been spending a lot of time on the Jets.
Q: Do you know if he’s in good spirits?
TB: I haven’t been thinking about his spirits. I’ve been thinking about the Jets.
Q: I know the game is different than last year with the Super Bowl , but do you kind of have that same feeling of not knowing how quickly he can come back?
TB: I just honestly have been thinking about the jets. I haven’t been thinking about when he’s coming back. He’s not playing this week, so we have to go out there and win without him. There are a lot of guys who are capable of making plays for us, and that’s where my attention is focused: the guys that are going to try to help us win this game.
Q: What impresses you about Antonio Cromartie ?
TB: He’s everything you look for in a corner. He’s big, fast, he’s strong, he’s got very good quickness for a guy his size. He makes you pay when you make a bad throw, so he’s a great interceptor and return guy with the ball in his hands. He’s a very good player. I’ve played against him a bunch.
Q: Do you see their defense playing better lately? They seem to be a little healthier since you played them last.
TB: They played us in our game as well as any defense we’ve faced all year. They limited us offensively in what we did; we didn’t do much. They looked like the same Jet defense to me like they always have. They’re very good, disruptive, physical, tough, smart. They play well together. They’ve really got a very good group.
Q: Is that because they showed you different things, like you said earlier? Or was it execution on your end?
TB: I mean, obviously we didn’t execute very well. I think we had some opportunities that we just didn’t really take advantage of, and they played really well. They always seem to play us well. There’s been one game where we beat them up pretty well a few years ago, but other than that, they’ve all been pretty tight games. That’s just the way it is against the Jets.
Q: They’re on the fringe of the playoff race and need to come pretty close to running the table. Do you relish the opportunity to maybe take them out?
TB: I haven’t thought about that much. I think we just look at it from our standpoint and what we need to do. This is a very important game for our season, so I’m not overly concerned with their season. I think about what our season is all about and what we need to do. This is a very good team ‘ it’s always very challenging to play them, especially on the road. It’s a short week and there’s a lot to prepare for, so it will really test our mental toughness and see what we’re all about.
Q: Does the short week give this a little different feel? There’s usually some talk from Rex Ryan or someone down there. Does it feel like there’s less hype?
TB: It feels different than any game you play playing on this short of rest. We’re just trying to put as much as we can into it in these three or four days. There’s just no time for anything other than the Jets, so you try to watch as much film as you can. I think we’re fortunate to have played them three weeks ago, so there’s some recall from that previous game, from the preparation that we put in before that game. But it’s definitely a challenge. It’s definitely a different ‘ like I said, it challenges your mental toughness to see how much you can put into it and still be fresh for the game on Thursday night.
Q: Is there a level of excitement to play on Thanksgiving day?
TB: I think there’s excitement for every game we play. I’ve always been excited. This will be fun. It’s a fun game, playing the jets in the Meadowlands on Thursday night; everyone should be pretty excited about that.