Tom Brady on D&C: Dolphins’ bullying controversy ‘their issue to deal with’
|11.12.13 at 9:40 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady joined Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning as the team returns from its bye week to prepare for a Monday night matchup against the Panthers.
The Patriots are coming off a 55-point outburst against the Steelers, leading to widespread optimism following a slow offensive start to the season.
“Our expectations have never changed with the way that we perform offensively,” Brady said. “The reason why you score a lot of points is because you execute well. You hit the plays that are there. When you get defenses that you may expect to get and you have a great play call vs that defense, you’ve got to really take advantage of that opportunity.
“Football is about matchups and it’s about execution. When both those things come together, you can have pretty good nights offensively. And if you execute really well offensively, it’s hard for good defenses to stop you. But if you execute poorly, you could call the best play vs. the defense that you’re looking for, and if I make a bad throw, then we’re unproductive.
“We’re trying to be productive on a consistent basis. We talk about it at practice, we talk about it before the games. You always go into the games thinking that you have a really good plan of attack, and then it comes down to how well the players can go out and execute that. The last game, we scored 55 points, that was our best night of execution. We played really well.
“How we fare against Carolina, we’ve got to put the work in in practice, we’ve got to be prepared so that we can go out there and play with anticipation. You can play to 100 percent of your aggressiveness if you’re really confident in what you’re doing. There’s definitely games where you gain confidence in what we’re doing, and you think, ‘OK, man, this is what we’re capable of if it all goes well.’ That’s what we’re going to go try to do this next week.. This week we’re playing one of the best defenses in the league. So, our margin of error will be even less. But we still expect to go out there and play really well. That’s the expectation for the offense.”
The big news in football over the past week is the situation in Miami, where Jonathan Martin left the team after allegedly being harassed by Richie Incognito and other Dolphins teammates. Brady distanced himself from the controversy by noting the Patriots have avoided such issues.
“I’ve been a part of one locker room — or two, really, being in Michigan and being in the Patriot locker room,” Brady said. “We’ve got a great group of guys, we have great respect for one another. It starts with coach [Bill] Belichick and Mr. [Robert] Kraft and Jonathan [Kraft] and the leadership that they bring.
“We don’t want to do anything to misrepresent what’s going on in our locker room, we want to be good role models, we want to win football games. And I think that’s what it comes down to. We show up every day trying to do our job and really not let anything else get in the way of that. Because if there’s issues in your locker room, if there’s issues that are outside of the realm of your own opponent that you’re dealing with, it just takes away from what you’re trying to accomplish. Coach Belichick has always done a great job of keeping the players focused on our opponent, and that’s where our energy needs to go.
“It’s an unfortunate thing. There’s been a lot of awareness brought to the situation, based on what’s happened down in Miami. But that’s their issue to deal with. It’s certainly not an issue that any of us Patriots want to deal with. We’re not really concerned with that, to tell you the truth. We’re concerned with how we’re going to do our best to prepare to prepare for the biggest challenge of our year this week.”
Asked if the behavior in the Dolphins locker room is the rule or the exception in NFL locker rooms, Brady said he has no point of reference to compare.
“I don’t know. I don’t take a poll on those things,” Brady said. “No one knows. You just know what you see. When you’re around Tedy Bruschi, and when you’re around Rodney Harrison and Willie McGinest — those are the guys I’ve been lucky enough to be around — Junior Seau and Troy Brown and Kevin Faulk. Those are my teammates, those type of guys. You know those guys well. They were focused on showing up and doing their job.
“We’ve had a pretty good record of success because of the character and quality of the individual in the locker room. That’s been most important to Mr. Kraft, coach Belichick, bringing guys in and say, ‘What kind of person is this? How will they fit into the locker room? Are they a Patriot kind of player, which is really putting the team first and going out there and helping us win games, playing your role, doing whatever the coach asks you to do to win.
“That’s what I’ve been around. That’s all I know. I don’t partake in anything that’s different than that. I have no idea what goes on in Jacksonville or in San Diego or in Denver. There are probably other guys that have been a part of different locker rooms that may know differently. But I know it works for us, and it works pretty well. So, there’s really no reason to change what we do.”
Brady recalled his younger days, when he looked up to quarterbacks like Drew Bledsoe, John Friesz and Michael Bishop, and he said he wants that feeling of supportiveness to continue.
“There’s always a very respectful attitude in our locker room,” Brady said. “You expect the rookies to be able to contribute on the field, and you want them to be able to express themselves so that they’re not intimidated by older players, because you need them to be able to go out and produce. And that’s the most important thing. You only have 53 roster spots. There’s always turnover in the league. You’re always going to have rookies. You’re always going to have second-year players and third-year players. You’re going to have new players, free agents that come in and have to learn what to do. So, you just want an environment where everyone can show up and be themselves and play with confidence so they can help the team win.
“I know we always cut the guys’ hair. It’s a fun thing, its a camaraderie thing, it’s kind of a group sacrifice, we’re-all-in-it-together type of thing, and it’s done in a playful way. Hopefully it’s never done out of disrespect, and it’s done as more to bring the team together and not drive the team apart.”
Added Brady: “The veteran players set the tone, the younger players follow. That’s what creates really a strong cohesive locker room where you love the guys that you play with, you’re willing to commit yourself and sacrifice your own well-being for what’s in the best interest of the team. And that’s how you go out and win games.”
On if he thinks he and Belichick will eventually leave the game together: “We never talked about it, but I tell you, there’s no coach I’d want to play for other than him. He’s the best coach to me that ever coached. The way he gets our team prepared, the way he handles the overall organization is pretty phenomenal. In this day and age of pro football — which is very different than the way it was even when I came into the league — there’s so much turnover, free agency, the salary cap, for our team to be able to do what it does on a yearly basis is so remarkable from a player’s standpoint to think of what coach Belichick has to manage on a yearly basis.
“I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to play for a long time. I hope he wants to coach that long. But I plan on doing this for a hell of a lot longer than I’ve done it thus far.”
On how he would grade himself at the bye week: “I can certainly do better. I’m not going going to get into my grade and so forth. That doesn’t make any sense to me. I can do better. There’s certainly things that I need to do better to help our team win. I talk about those things with my coach and figure out how to do that on a daily basis. I can definitely play better, and that’s what I hope to go out and be able to do.”
On backup QB Ryan Mallett: “I love Ryan and his attitude, what he brings to our team and the role that he plays. Not only as just a backup quarterback, but he also does all the scout team reps every single day, and gives our defense a look at what the other team is trying to do. Ryan’s got a ton of skill. When he gets his opportunity, I know he’s going to take advantage of it. I always tell him, ‘You never know when you’re going to get it, just like I didn’t know when I was going to get it.’ Like you said, this is a game of attrition, it could be the first play of the next game. You’ve got to be just as prepared as I am to go out there and play. He’s done that. He takes that challenge on. It’s a tough role for a backup quarterback, because, look, you’re always on the edge of your seat, trying to prepare while you’re not getting all the reps. He brings it every day, I’ll tell you that. He brings it every day to work. He’s one of my best buddies on the team, and I look forward to the chance when he does get his opportunity, because I know he’s going to go out and do a great job with it.”
On the Panthers: “It’s a tough team. They’re physical. Their front seven is as good as anybody. Their pass rush, their run-stoppers, they’ve got playmakers in the secondary. It’s got to be our best game, there’s no doubt about it. ‘¦ We’ll see what we’re made of.”
On how he spent his Sunday off: “It’s probably more anxious when you’re not playing. You’re watching games and thinking about the outcomes and watching how teams are doing. That’s the life of a football player on and off the field. There’s wasn’t many moments, I would say, when I was not thinking about the game.”