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Tom Brady recalls Drew Bledsoe winning 2001 AFC championship, thinks Ryan Mallett ‘certainly’ can do same

01.17.14 at 9:08 am ET
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Tom Brady says Ryan Mallett would be ready if called on Sunday in the AFC championship. (AP)

Tom Brady says Ryan Mallett would be ready if called on Sunday in the AFC championship. (AP)

FOXBORO — When Ryan Mallett took first-team snaps on Wednesday in place of the ill Tom Brady, many fans wondered, “What if?”

What if Brady couldn’t go on Sunday or what if Mallett had to fill in for the starting QB, how would the Patriots fare against the Broncos in Mile High air.

Brady heard Mallett talk confidently about taking first-team snaps on Wednesday and he liked what he heard. Then Brady attempted to provide some historical perspective.

“He told me about it. It was good for him,” Brady said. “I’€™m happy he did. He deserves it. He’€™s worked really hard over a long period of time. You never know when you’€™re going to get your opportunity. I think there was an AFC championship game that I didn’€™t get to finish in 2001 and Drew [Bledsoe] came in in the second half and threw a touchdown pass, led us to that win in order to get us to the Super Bowl.”

The big difference, obviously, is that Bledsoe was hardly a newbie to the pressure of the AFC championship game. In fact, he led the 1996 Patriots under Bill Parcells to the Super Bowl, beating the Jaguars on the way to Super Bowl XXXI. And, of course, Bledsoe started that 2001 season as the team’s No. 1 quarterback before Mo Lewis intervened. So, stepping in for Brady and his injured ankle was not as big of a deal as it might be for Mallett, who has exactly four attempted passes in three NFL seasons.

That doesn’t worry Brady.

“Everyone has to be prepared,” Brady said. “You never know when your number is going to be called. Whenever it is the guy who has to step in and do the job has to do it. We have a locker room full of guys who are able to do those things. I certainly believe if Ryan gets his opportunity he can do that too.”

As for his own stats, Brady was reminded that he’s thrown for less than 200 yards in each of his last three games. Does that bother him?

“I think it’€™s just about winning,” Brady said. “I’€™m glad we won and that’€™s what we need to do. If we need to throw for 500 yards, hopefully we can do that. If we need to throw for 50 yards, I’€™ll throw for 50 yards as long as we win and whatever it takes for us to score more points than the other team, that’€™s what we have to do.”

Read More: AFC Championship, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, nfl
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