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On eve of his 36th birthday, Tom Brady gets philosophical: ‘We all make mistakes’

08.02.13 at 9:09 pm ET
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The sun shined on Tom Brady on the eve of his 36th birthday Saturday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

The sun shined on Tom Brady on the eve of his 36th birthday Saturday. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — On the eve of his 36th birthday, Tom Brady finished Friday’s training camp practice by running sprints with fellow quarterbacks Ryan Mallett and Tim Tebow.

With his hair freshly cropped, Brady found his breath long enough after an up and down day with his offense to reflect on what it feels like to be the oldest, most-accomplished player on the team.

“I feel good,” Brady began his session with reporters. “We’ve had a lot of good practices and we’re stringing them together, so hopefully it really pays off for us. We’re just trying to make improvements every day we come out.”

Brady was reminded Friday that he told “Men’s Health” magazine this month that if he has the desire, he could play until he’s 50. Brady was asked if – after seven days of camp – his mind has changed.

“I feel better as camp goes along,” Brady said. “Every day I feel like my legs get more under me. My arm gets better, so I’m enjoying it. I love this sport, I love playing it, I love being out here with my teammates and playing. I’m trying to take it day by day this time of year. I think that other piece was more of a reflection piece. This is day to day. We’re trying to come out and work hard and put together the best that we can do.”

Unlike his haircut, it wasn’t the smoothest of days for Brady and his offense, which ran several extra sets at the end of practice and finished with sprints.

Brady is trying mesh in his new receivers like Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce while trying to keep the offense moving along.

“I think everyone feels like it’s the most important because it’s the only one really that we can control at this point,” Brady said. “There are a lot of new guys, we’re making mistakes, we’re trying to learn from the mistakes. Offensive football is about 11 guys being on the same page and really being able to anticipate what each other are trying to do.

“The challenging part of offense is when you get new guys and they’re not really sure when I’m throwing it and I’m not really sure when they’re going to break and a lot of it we just have to work out. The more reps we get, the better we’re going to be, so just to get out here every day and make these types of improvements is important, because you can’t go out and miss three or four days of practice because you just get so far behind, especially this time of year.”

There were plenty of mistakes to learn from Friday, like a drop from Amendola on a screen and a fumble after a catch. Then there was a missed connection between Brady and Dobson on a short corner end zone route, a route that called for Dobson to turn around but he never did.

“Our offense is a lot of communication,” Brady said. “You’ve got to just throw as much in there as you can and see what we can pick up. It’s not really a slow-paced offense. You need to think fast, you’ve got to communicate well, everyone’s got to be on the same page, so it’s hard to slow down something for one person. The train’s moving at this point. It takes really smart football players to be in this system and guys that have done well have been smart players who can adjust quickly. Football is important, they go home and study, they work at it. That’s what it’s all about here.

“We all make mistakes. I make them, the young players make them, everyone makes them. The Jets are going to make them, the Dolphins are going to make them, the Bills are going to make them. Everyone’s going to make mistakes, it’s just a matter of how critical those mistakes end up being. Hopefully our bad plays are incomplete passes and are not really bad plays. You’ve got to try to eliminate as many bad plays as possible, but they’re going to happen and part of the challenge is being mentally tough enough to come back the next play and do a good job.”

As for his 36th birthday plans?

“Practice at nine o’clock [Saturday] morning,” Brady chimed. “Fourteenth straight year. I know.”

Brady remembers getting a special treat on his 30th birthday in 2007 – no practice.

‘My 30th birthday I think we had the day off, because I had a barbeque on my roof deck – a surprise birthday party,” Brady said. “That was a long time ago. Six years ago – oh my God.”

Here is the remainder of Brady’s Q & A with reporters from Friday:

Q: Seems like you guys picked up the tempo today, are you happy as you can be with your production in this offense so far?

TB: I think a lot of guys are trying to create roles for themselves, so there’s a lot of opportunity and every time you get the chance to take a rep you’re trying to do better than you did the previous time. There are a lot of moving parts right now, so the tempo is important, the personnel is important, getting the formations right, running the right play or using the right technique – all those things are little things that become big things. There aren’t a lot of practices we have left until we go down to Philly, so we’re trying to correct as many mistakes as we can.

Q: The last time we talked to you, you hadn’t done red zone or situational drills yet, do you feel like you’re getting the timing down in those drills?

TB: We’ve done a lot of situational work, so red area, third down, two-minute today. All those things are going to come up next week. Goal line, we did goal line today. All these one-play situations or sometimes it’s a two-minute situation or something like that that we’ve got to be better at and work at, so pretty much everything we’re working to get installed. Some looks good, some hasn’t looked so good, so we’ve just got to keep working at it.

Q: Julian Edelman is one of the few receivers in camp who has caught meaningful passes from you. Was it good to get him back out ther, and how important is that experience you have with him in relation to the other guys?

TB: It was great, I mean any time you can get guys back healthy, and Julian, he’s been working his butt off to get back out here. I’m right next to him in the locker room, so I see his excitement every day and the excitement he brings to the practice field. He’s going out here and working hard just like everybody else.

Q: We saw him walk off a little gingerly after Ryan Mallett threw him a pass in the corner. Are you concerned about him at all?

TB: I didn’t see that. He’s a tough kid mentally and physically and he’s battled through a lot over the course of his career. I know he’s been working hard in his rehab and hopefully it continues to go well.

Q: It’s only been seven practices, it’s a long way to go, this is like a getting-to-know process for you and your new receivers. Can you just say a little bit of what traits you see in Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce that are giving them a chance to possibly be there as contributors?

TB: I think they’ve come in and worked hard and they’ve done everything that Coach has asked them to do. They’ve been out on the field almost every day. They’re smart kids that want to work hard and have really come into this environment and really taken to everything that the coaches have tried to talk to them about, everything that I’ve tried to talk to them about. That’s been the fun part is when guys are eager to come in and learn, listen, and try to do the right thing.

Q: In terms of style of receiver, can you just give me a little feel for what you see in the young guys? You’ve thrown a lot of passes to them in camp so far.

TB: Sure. Like I said, there’s some good, there’s some bad. They all have different skill sets. It’s about us trying to use what they do best and trying to get them incorporated and them finding a role for themselves. But all that will take course over the next four weeks. Nothing’s been established at this point. We’re seven or eight practices in, so I think we’re trying to see what people can do on a consistent basis and trying to see what I can do on a consistent basis, what Danny [Amendola] can do, what Julian [Edelman] can do and what Jake Ballard and everyone who’s come out here trying to earn a spot on the team [can do]. The better we do, the more efficient we’re going to be. But like I said, in offensive football, everybody has to be on the same page. That’s why we come out, we talk after practice, we watch the film, we talk about it after, we have walkthroughs and talk about throws and signals and routes and techniques. All of that is for anticipation because when you really believe in the guys you’re out there with, you can play fast, you can play with anticipation, you can play with confidence. If you don’t have that confidence, it slows you down, and then when it slows you down then you’re going to make mistakes. So that’s what we have to do: we have to keep putting that work in.

Q: How do you think you’ve done so far in your performance, accuracy, timing and all that goes into your job?

TB: I can always do better, so I’m trying to just come out and get better every day and make the right reads, make the right throws. It’s only been seven practices and we haven’t played football in seven or eight months so the timing is an issue. You’re just trying to get your timing down and get your timing down with the players, so it’s a work in progress.

Q: Who among the new receivers has started to grow on you?

TB: I mean, all of them. All of those guys that we have at receiver are trying to do the best they can do. They’re working hard, whether it be the veterans or the rookies. I really don’t have too many favorites. I just like the guys that come in and want to work hard and do the right thing. Those are the guys that end up making the team.

Q: The guys that get open?

TB: The guys that get open, yeah. Guys that create some space to throw the ball and not when it’s just created for you, but when guys can create space by themselves and separate from the defender – those are important traits.

Q: What has it been like to have Tim Tebow in the quarterback room?

TB: I’ve really enjoyed it. He’s a great guy. He’s fun to be around. He’s had a lot of experience and a lot of productivity, so we have good conversation. He loves playing football and those are usually the type of guys that do well.

Q: Does he bring a different and unusual perspective that you have not experienced before?

TB: Well, he’s been on a few different teams. He’s run some different style offenses. He’s done a good job. He’s come in here and Josh [McDaniels] has had some familiarity with him, coaching him in Denver. He’s come in and just tried to do the best that he can do.

Read More: 2013 training camp, New England Patriots, nfl, Tom Brady Print  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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