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Tom Brady on D&C: ‘I’ve got to play better at quarterback’

09.23.13 at 10:42 am ET

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, during his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to recap Sunday’s 23-3 victory over the Buccaneers, talked about how he dealt with criticism directed at him for his behavior toward his struggling receivers in the team’s previous game.

Brady was questioned by some media members locally and nationally for his display in the win over the Jets, when he yelled at his young receivers.

“Truthfully, I don’t hear about any of that,” Brady said. “Like I said, I think the guys that I play with, they have an understanding about how much I care about winning and the team. Everything that goes on on the field is about winning. There’s a lot of trust and confidence in one another. I know as analysts what you do is analyze, and that’s what guys’ job is to do. Often for ratings and so forth, there’s one side and there’s another side.

“There’s emotion to the game, it’s an emotional game,” he continued. “I know the guys that I play with know how much I care about them and how much I care about our team winning. That’s ultimately the goal for us. We’ve done a pretty good job to this point — three attempts and three wins. We’re just going to try to keep getting better.

“Coach always talks about ignoring the noise, not believing what anyone says good or bad about you, whether that’s anybody in the media or your parents or your friends or your wives or your girlfriends, and just try to focus on the process of improving and getting better as a team. We need to keep getting better. We’re far from the team we’re going to be. Like I said, we’re going to need our best this weekend.”

Brady was more even-tempered in dealing with his teammates Sunday, but he said he didn’t plan it that way.

“I didn’t think about that,” Brady said. “Truthfully, I don’t ever really think about that. I’m an emotional person and player. When we get out there in the heat of the moment, everyone’s emotions are running high.

“Our young players have done such a great job. It’s hard to expect them to come in straight from college and go through the combine process and drafting and play like 10-year veterans. That’s why they’re rookies. There’s learning curves. And we’re all trying to learn each other. It’s not that they’re doing the wrong thing — they do the right thing as much as anybody out there right now.

“The important part that I saw yesterday is we got contributions from the running game, we spread the ball around the passing game, we took advantage of some good opportunities, put some good drives together. I said last week, the burden of the offense can’t fall on one position. If it falls on only the receivers, or only the tight ends, then you become pretty easy to stop. So, I think what we did a great job of yesterday was utilizing everybody basically that played. Every skill-position player that played made some critical plays in the game.”

After Kenbrell Thompkins‘ first of two touchdown receptions, Brady raced over to celebrate with the rookie.

“I’m always like that,” Brady said. “I was excited that it was his first touchdown. That’s a pretty cool thing. Aaron [Dobson] got one last week and should have had another one yesterday — I blew that one.

“Kenbrell has done a great job. Think about that, as an undrafted free agent, to come in and play the way he’s played is really a credit to him. His mental toughness, his confidence in himself, his ability to stay on the field and work hard — he’s been a lot of fun to play with.”

There was a report before Sunday’s game that Brady reached out to former receivers Deion Branch and Brandon Lloyd about their interest in returning to the team.

“I don’t know where some of those reports come from,” Brady said. “Obviously, I have relationships with every guy I’ve ever played with, and certainly guys at the receiver position are some of my best friends and the people that I spend the most time and I’m the closest with. But I don’t make any personnel decisions. I can’t talk to coach [Bill] Belichick about bringing players back. I’ve never been able to control the personnel decisions. I’m a player like everybody else. We have a scouting department and people that make those decisions. I’m one of the last people that are ever asked or told about what we’re doing with players. I kind of just mind my own business and try to play quarterback as best I can. I wish I would have played better yesterday, but I’m happy we won.”

Asked if he thinks the team will stick with the current group of receivers, Brady said: “I think the expectation is for us to get better and improve, and the guys that we have are the guys that we’ve practiced with and played with the first three weeks. Look, no one thought [Rob Gronkowski] would be out at this point, no one that what happened with [Aaron] Hernandez would have happened, no one thought Danny [Amendola] would be out, no one thought Shane [Vereen] would be out. There’s kind of an unusual set of circumstances, but that’s where we’re at. And you know what? We’re 3-0. We’re trying to build on every week. There’s a slim margin of error.

“The defense is playing incredible and we’re really lucky as an offense to have the defense that’s been as good as they’ve been these first three weeks. We’ve got to do a better job scoring points. I’ve got to play better at quarterback most importantly, and that’s what I’m trying to focus on. That’s the one thing I can control. So, I’m going to try to have a great week of practice because Atlanta plays really well at home. It will be a big game for them, they’re 1-2. They’re kind of backs are against the wall. So, we’ve got to go out and have our best offensive performance of the year on Sunday night.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at

On the offensive improvement in Sunday’s win: “We’re obviously trying to improve our consistency and our ability to string together a bunch of good plays in order to get the ball in the end zone. Obviously it was better than — our first week, we went to Buffalo and we battled it out, played good situational football at the end and won the game. Last week we missed some opportunities, but we played a very good defensive football team. And then with the inclement weather in the second half it was a bit harder to move the ball.

“Yesterday turned out to be a pretty nice day. We left some points on the field, but it’s good to come away with a win. So, 3-0, we’re battling, and this week is another big challenge for us. It’s the first time we’re really on a regular week, where we have a game on Sunday and another game on Sunday. So it will be nice to get in a little bit of a rhythm with that, too.”

On the success of the running game: “I don’t think we really went into that game saying we could run the ball. They were the first-ranked run defense in the league last year. I think once we felt like we found some runs that we liked, we really stuck with them. The backs did a great job finding holes, the line did a great job blocking. Brandon [Bolden] busted a big run, LeGarrette [Blount] had a good one, [Stevan Ridley] ran really well, really hard, decisively. It was great contributions from the backs in a game where we really weren’t sure what we’d get out of the running game.”

On his third-quarter interception: “[I was looking for] Dobson. They were doubling [Zach] Sudfeld, and Aaron was one-on-one in the back of the end zone, and I just threw it obviously not where I wanted to. It was just a bad play, a bad throw, a bad decision, everything. Those are the ones that can be totally eliminated and shouldn’t happen. I was pretty bummed about that one all night. ‘€¦ As an older player, expectations are so high. So when you do something like that, win or lose, it kind of eats at you. But I get over them pretty quickly and then we move on to next week. I’m glad it didn’t cost us a game or anything like that. I’m glad it ended up not really having much of an impact on the game, although I would much rather have thrown it for a touchdown two plays earlier, or on the play before. But it just so happened that that wasn’t in the cards yesterday.”

On the second-quarter play when he missed seeing two wide-open receivers and threw an incomplete pass to a covered Sudfeld: “We were trying kind of a trick play, and we were expecting those other two to be covered, so I didn’t even really look at them. I wish I would have, obviously, because Julian [Edelman] came back and said they set him free. ‘€¦ And Thompkins, too. ‘€¦ It was a play where we were trying to use those other guys as decoys to get Sudfeld open. And it ended up Sudfeld was the one that was covered. Those are ones I wish I would see the whole play and the concept. We just kind of missed an opportunity there.”

Read More: Aaron Dobson, Bill Belichick, Kenbrell Thompkins, Tom Brady



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