Tom Brady on D&C: ‘I’m not offended at all’ by decision to kick off in overtime
|12.28.15 at 8:21 am ET|
Tom Brady, making his weekly appearance on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Monday morning, chimed in on the controversy about the Patriots declining the ball in overtime during Sunday’s 26-20 loss to the Jets, insisting he understands his coach’s decision. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Patriots offense struggled Sunday, managing just one touchdown as the Patriots dropped to 12-3.
“I was pretty bummed on the flight home,” Brady said. “I watched film on the flight home. We’ve all got to do a better job this week.”
Brady and the offense never got a chance to touch the ball in overtime, as the Patriots decided to kick the ball away after winning the coin flip, then New York marched down the field for the game-winning score. Belichick has stood by his decision to kick, and Brady said he has no reason to question his coach.
“I think when Coach makes decisions like that, he takes everything into consideration, everything that’s happened over the course of the afternoon. He obviously did what he thought was best to help the team win,” Brady said. “As far as an offense goes, I said after the game, it wasn’t like we were really tracking the ball up and down the field. It’s hard to inspire your coach when you don’t do much offensively all day. Our defense was doing a lot of good things there in the fourth quarter. Hindsight’s always 20/20. It just didn’t work out our way this time. …
“It was tough. I wish it wouldn’t have come down to that point. Offensively, like I said, we weren’t very productive. Not a very good offensive day for us. That’s what we have to do as an offense is turn those into good offensive days and start playing better. All of us that were out there yesterday didn’t get the job done. It starts with what we’re doing offensively. We’ve got to figure out a way to move the ball more efficiently down the field.”
The Patriots’ lone offensive touchdown came with 1:55 remaining in overtime, and it capped an 11-play, 66-yard drive. But Brady noted that the Pats were able to take advantage of being in a four-down situation, which would not have been the case had they started with the ball in overtime.
‘Well, it was better [production on that drive], but again, there were two fourth-down conversions that we had to make that, I don’t know if you’re in overtime I don’t know if you’re going for it on fourth down in that situation unless you’re desperate, which if we hold them to a field goal then you do have to go for it on fourth down,” he said. “We didn’t do very well on third down all day. We didn’t have great efficiency in the run game. It was a struggle to move the ball at times.
“Look, like I said, hindsight’s always 20/20 on this one. When coach decided that’s what he wants to do, then you go with it. You hope the defense goes out there and gets one stop, which they had gotten three stops there in the fourth quarter and was playing a lot better in the second half. I think the Jets made some good plays. I think that’s what it came down to.”
Brady said he was talking to offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels during the coin flip, and McDaniels let him know of the team’s strategy. “I said OK,” Brady recalled, insisting he was not offended by the apparent lack of confidence.
“No, I’m not offended at all,” he said. “We had a situation in Denver this year where we got the ball [in overtime] and we didn’t do anything with it. We kicked it to them on a short field. Like I said, we haven’t exactly inspired our coach to throw our offense out there to say, ‘Go score a touchdown and win the game.’ So I don’t blame him. If we were playing a lot better offensively I’m sure his decision would have been different. But if we’re not doing much as an offense, that’s just the way it goes.
“We had plenty of other opportunities for us to go out there and do something, get the ball, score points, get it in the end zone. You’re right, we did put it together there the last drive of [regulation]. But that was our only real scoring drive of the day.
“It’s disappointing to lose a game. They’re obviously a playoff-caliber team, play them on the road, and we didn’t play particularly well, and we still had a chance to win. And I thought they played really well. So I think that we feel that we can compete with anybody. We’ve just got to play at a higher level. Like I said, the guys that were in there, we fought hard. We just couldn’t make enough plays.”
Added Brady: “It was just a poor offensive day, one of our poorest producing days of the entire season. We’re trying to figure out ways to kind of manufacture some yards and points. We didn’t do enough of it against a good Jet defense. They’ve got a lot of really good players out there. They put a lot of pressure on you, they’ve got a good rush, they stop the run, they’ve got some of the best cover guys in the league. It is what it is.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.
On if he’s frustrated with the mounting injuries and the ensuing struggles on offense: “I said last week there’s always a level of frustration that I have in football over the years. It’s a frustrating game, because the situations so drastically change at different times over the course of the week, the game, the season, depending on who’s in and the matchup. It feels like brain surgery at times. It’s the way football season is.
“I wish we were winning all these games. We lost two games in overtime against two playoff teams. And then we lost obviously a game to the Eagles where we lost — Coach always says you can’t win a game until you can keep from losing a game. That was one of those games. That’s what that was.
“We’re in these games. We’ve just got to do a better job and play better. Hopefully we can get everyone back, whoever can come back this week and play, guys that were out last week, we’re going to kind of need all hands on deck, see if we can go out and get a win. Then we have a week off and we can regain even more strength. We haven’t had a bye since Week 4. I think that will benefit a lot of people, and the chance to kind of evaluate our team, where we’re at, and the things that we’ve done well over the course of the season, the things that we need to get to as we get into the playoffs.
“This week it’s just, we’ve got to do everything we can to win this game. This is one of those weeks that, whatever you’ve got left in the tank, you’ve just got to empty it out, because there’s a lot to be gained by winning this game. We already know we’re not playing the following week. But to get that No. 1 seed would be kind of a great testimony to our team and what we’ve been through, dealing with a lot of different adversities over the course of the year and still putting together the best record in the AFC would be pretty great if we can go out and get a win next week.”
On next Sunday’s game in Miami: “Hopefully we can win this game. That would be a great testimony to our team and what we’ve kind of been through and achieved. I don’t think anybody would be disappointed by a 13-3 record. We’ve just got to go win this game, then, like I said, then you’ve got a chance to really evaluate where you’re at, who your real playmakers are, the things that you’ve done over the course [of the season]. Really, you can do a great self-scout. Then you put everything you can into the rest of the season.
“This isn’t the time to take the foot off the gas pedal. I know that. We’re going to push as hard as we can through end of this week and through the Miami game. You’ve got to go out there and you’ve got to let it rip. We’re playing a team that’s always played us tough in Miami, regardless of what their record has been. … I don’t think we take them lightly at all. They’ve got a lot of good players. I know they haven’t had the year that they wanted, but we’re going to have to go down there and put together a 60-minute game with whosever healthy and available. We’ve got to all buckle it up, have some mental toughness and physical toughness and go out there and win a game.”
On the Peyton Manning HGH story: “I have a lot of personal thoughts that really are personal to me. Peyton, I would consider him a good friend. You hate to see your good friends go through anything like that. He’s been a great player for this league, for his teams, for his organizations. He’s been one of the best players to ever play the game. Nobody has more respect for Peyton than I do, and everything that he’s accomplished. There’s always challenging times, but he’s a tough guy. I know that. He’s a very mentally and physically tough guy. … He’s a big boy. He knows how to handle these things. …
“I fully support Peyton. My friendship with him over the years, he’s a guy that I can always count on, and has been someone that’s always been so supportive of me. We’ll have lifelong friendships. Truthfully, I don’t put much into anything [regarding the allegations]. I have a lot of friends, I have a lot of support, and he is the same. I’m a big fan and supporter of his. That’s how I really feel about everything.”
On adjusting to the Patriots’ many injuries: “It does get harder to win games as you lose players, especially some of your consistent, dependable players that we’ve all played together with, there’s a lot of good communication. When you put guys in that haven’t had that same level of communication and experience, there’s uncertainties. That’s just part of growing and learning with different players. It can be a benefit when those other guys come back, because you have more depth to your team.”
On how quickly he’ll be able to get back in sync with Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola when they return: “I’ll be on the same page with those two as soon as they get back. I’ve thrown enough balls to both of those guys that whenever they get back on the field we’ll have the same chemistry with those two players. Now, how our offense does, we’ve got to throw, we’ve got to catch, we’ve got to block, we’ve got to run — integrating Steven Jackson, what he can do for our team. Brandon [Bolden] and James [White] have done such a great job with [LeGarrette Blount] and Dion [Lewis] being out. It’s nice to get another back in there like Steven, that’s got experience and kind of got back in a little football mode that he’s been off for 11 months. We’ve just got to be able to integrate everybody’s skill set this time of year.”
On the Patriots running a number of trick plays: “If you can get behind the defense on a flea-flicker, something like that, those end up being just game-changing plays. We had an opportunity on that play, [Rob Gronkowski] had a step on Revis and I missed him. I overthrew him. I wish obviously that would have been different. We’re obviously down some players, and we’ve got to figure out ways to win some games. You try to just go through your playbook and bring things out that maybe we haven’t run in a while that we think may have a good opportunity based on some of the things they do defensively. But it’s a very sound defense. They’ve been playing well all year. They’re a 10-5 team.”
On the decision to sit on the ball in the final 30 seconds of regulation rather than attempt to drive for a game-winning score: “At different times I’ll weigh in. But like I said, those are coaching decisions 95 percent, 99 percent of the time. The coaches are on the headset, they’re talking to all the other coaches all day, they’re strategizing. My mind is in a different place, trying to think about the game, think about what I need to do, things that I see out there. I don’t know what’s going on on the headsets, but they’re all talking and they’re trying to, like I said, do what’s in the best interest of the team. We’re trying win games. Believe me, that’s what we’re there for. And if coach thinks that’s the best thing to do to help us win, over the course of his career there’s nobody that we trust more to decide that then him. We all have confidence that whatever situation he puts us in, we as players have to go out and do the job, to play well, execute, either stop them on defense or score on offense. Like I said, I wish yesterday our offense would have done kind of more things to help us over the course of the day. But we just didn’t do it.”
On his third-quarter pass that was intercepted by Darrelle Revis: “Obviously the outcome isn’t what we wanted. I don’t think challenging Revis was a very good decision. [Long pause] Yeah. It was just a bad play. A bad play.”
On if Belichick still hates the Jets: “[Laughing] I’m sure you’d have to ask him that. I don’t know if you’ll get his full answer. It’s a good rivalry. It’s a great rivalry. Players obviously have a lot of mutual respect because we play each other so often. They’ve got a lot of good players. We’ve played them in a lot of big games, we’ve played them in playoff games. A lot of guys have switched teams of the years, and you get a lot of insight into each other’s programs. For me, I think they’re a team that I have a lot of respect for. They’ve played hard this year. It’s been a great year for that team. They’ve turned a lot of things around and they’re playing really well. Maybe we’ll see them again.”
On if his wife liked the necklace he bought her for Christmas: “She was wearing it when I got home last night. So, yes. Well, maybe she didn’t know how to take it off. … I got her just a little sentimental piece, necklace with our kids. Just some things that moms like with their family and their kids and so forth. It was very cute. When I got home she still had it on. And she said, ‘Can you help me take this off?’ So, yeah, she liked it. I was happy about that. That was a good part of the week.”
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