Tom Brady on D&C: Feelings about Wes Welker’s departure ‘very personal to me’
|05.23.13 at 8:00 am ET|
The biggest changes on the roster have come at wide receiver.
“There’s quite a few new guys on the roster, certainly at the receiver position, almost the entire group,” Brady said. “So, as many days of practice as we can get, as many opportunities that we can have to actually get out there and throw the ball together in a competitive environment, I think that’s where the improvement comes. We’ve only had two days of practice.
“It’s a very competitive position. I think there’s a lot of positions that are very competitive on our team. I’m excited to see — at this point, the work that we’ve put in, how well it’s paid off.”
The most heralded new receiver is former Ram Danny Amendola, who worked out with Brady in Los Angeles recently.
“Danny, he’s always had a lot of talent,” Brady said. “To watch him out there and play against him — when he was at the Rams he was very productive. It’s been fun to work with him. He’s got the tenacity to him and the drive and the determination and the work ethic. In a short period of time, it’s really easy to see. Like I said, he’s one of those guys where the more we throw, the better we’re going to be. So, we’re trying to always kind of talk and communicate through practice, through OTAs. We threw in the spring a lot, and hopefully as the summer continues leading up to training camp, we’ll get as many reps as we can together so we’re on the same page.”
Amendola has drawn comparisons to departed free agent Wes Welker.
“They’re [at] similar positions, they’re about the same height, they’ve both got very good ability,” Brady said. “Wes was so productive for so long. I think it’s unfair to compare anyone to Wes and what he was able to accomplish in his time here. Danny, he’s just been fun to work with. I think he’s come in really with an open mind and understanding of the way that we as Patriots, the way we need to play.
“Josh [McDaniels] is trying to get everyone on our entire offense up to speed with how we’re going to play offense this year, how we’re going to try to be more consistent than we’ve been the last few years. Danny’s really taken to that; all the receivers have. And all the receivers have really had, like I said, a willingness to come in and work and listen and try to get better.”
Asked his reaction to Welker’s departure, Brady said he understands the business of the league.
“I don’t think anything surprises me any more in the NFL,” he said. “I’ve been around long enough to see things happen at different times with the greatest players of all, whether that’s Wes, or Randy Moss being traded from the Raiders, or Brett Favre playing for the Jets and the Vikings. That’s what happens. Like I said, it’s a very tough, competitive business.
“Nobody appreciated Wes more than I did and what he was able to accomplish for our team. But he’s moved on. He’s in a good situation with another great team and a great quarterback. We’ve always kind of kept in touch, we always will. He’s one of my best friends. I certainly wish him the best.”
Brady has not publicly voiced any displeasure toward management about Welker’s departure, and he explained that there’s a reason for that.
“Of course I have feelings. But those feelings are very personal to me,” he said. “I used to get caught up in anger and frustration and disappointment. But I don’t make the decisions. These things aren’t up to me. At some point you’ve got to realize the things that are out of your control. You’ve just got to let go and focus on my job and what I need to do. Because the game moves on, the team moves on. There’s only so long you can dwell on the past. At some point you’ve got to move forward.
“Like I said, my job for my team is to be the best quarterback, and not the general manager and not the coach and not the owner. It’s to try to go out there and bring my own competitiveness to the field so that those guys that I’m playing with this year can really rely on me and count on me to be the best I can be.”
On dealing with management: “There’s always different sides to every situation. I’ve been in contract negotiations. You’re on all sides. I think the thing you control is your own attitude and your own belief system. I learned that lesson in college and I try to keep reapplying it, not only in football but for the rest of my life. I’m going to focus on what I can control. That’s my attitude and what I try to bring to practice. I try to be a good leader and lead by example.
“It’s been a great offseason, to be able to be out there on the field every day with my teammates to see what we can make of this season. Because it’s a new year. Everyone’s starting at the same place. There’s 32 very hopeful teams. I think we have a lot to accomplish.”
On if he expected the team to re-sign Welker after agreeing to a restructured deal that lowered the team’s cap hit: “Those aren’t my demands. I want us to field as competitive a team as we possibly can. And I have all the trust in the world that Mr. [Robert] Kraft and Jonathan [Kraft] and coach [Bill] Belichick will do that. There’s nothing about me, I don’t say that, I’m not general manager, I can’t say, ‘Look, I do this, you do this.’
“That’s what my decision was. That was kind of a value proposition for me, wanting to be in this system with coach Belichick and the other players that I’ve been able to play with. I think we are going to field a competitive team. It’s competitive thus far through the offseason conditioning program and through the OTAs thus far.
“We’ve been close. We were in the Super Bowl two years ago, we were in the AFC championship last year. I know we have a good team. It’s just we’ve got to do a few more things better. Hopefully that will lead to more success.”
On improvements he’s made to his throwing mechanics this offseason: “I think that I’m always trying to find ways to improve. Just like every player on our team is trying to do that. If you’re a receiver, you’re trying to become a better route-runner. As a quarterback, my job is to throw the ball with accuracy, with decision-making. And I think those are the things that you can improve in the offseason. I’m trying to work hard to continually improve those things.
“My mechanics are always important to me, they always have been, to try to find ways to become even more efficient one the years that I’ve been playing. This has been a big offseason where I feel like I’ve made some significant improvements.”
On working with Tom House: “When it comes to actual throwing the ball, like I said, it comes down to mechanics. I always use golf as an example. The ball doesn’t move. You’re standing there looking at the ball, you have a lot of time to be able to think about your swing. But the guys that are consistent over the course of time are the guys that have the best mechanics. So, if you’re slightly off, you’re still pretty good. Us kind of weekend hackers that go out there and don’t have very good mechanics, well, to go out and shoot even-par is nearly impossible. But for the pros it’s not, because they work really hard on the mechanics. And the mechanics are what allow you to do what you need to do so that you get the ball where you want it to go. Whether that’s golf or football, it’s the same thing. There’s mechanics of throwing the football, and how do you maximize your efficiency, and I think I’ve really been intrigued over the last few years to learn a lot of the reasons why and not necessarily just how to do it.
“So, that’s more what it’s been about with Tom House. He’s taken a very scientific approach to throwing the ball. It’s fun to learn. It’s fun to improve. It’s fun to see yourself make improvements, because that’s part of the motivation as you continue on in this game to get better and better and better and better so that you can be at your best for your team.”
On Rob Gronkowski: “Any injured player, you’re always hoping they come back fresh and strong and healthy. He’s dealing with his situation. I hope that he’s out there as soon as he can be, as soon as he’s ready, I want him out there helping the team win. He’s been battling through a long time. His mental toughness and his excitement and what he brings to the team are really unmatched.
“When he is healthy, I’ll be excited to have him out there. It will be nice to see what our offense can be like when Aaron [Hernandez] is out there and Rob’s out there and all the other guys that have been injured have been out there and can contribute fully to the team.”
On Terrell Owens making an appearance at Brady’s workout at USC with Danny Amendola: “He was just out there. Danny and I were going out to throw, and T.O. came out and I had the chance to throw with him, which was my first time ever. Danny and I kind of scheduled a time to go, and it was fun to be out there to kind of get a jump on the season.”
On his trip to the Kentucky Derby: “It was just a fun experience. We’ve been going to the Kentucky Derby for a long time, with a lot of my buddies, with Wes and Dan Koppen and Tedy Bruschi and Lonie Paxton, a lot of guys that I’ve played with, Randy came one year. I’ve been going for about 12 years. We went down with a friend of ours who’s an owner of the horse. We actually kind of had a rooting interest. We had a rooting interest for several months. So, it’s kind of like we were very much a fan. I haven’t had that experience in a very long time, where you’re just very happy that someone else won. I was very, I would say, overjoyed. It was a long buildup to that race. We were all having a great time. ‘¦ I was most happy that my buddy’s horse won. It was really cool. It was really cool.”
On the Best Buddies charity event, which includes a football game at Harvard Stadium on Friday and a bike ride from north of Boston to Hyannisport on Saturday: “Come on out. It’s a great event. A lot of my teammates will be there. It’s really the highlight of my offseason.”