PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY PRESS CONFERENCE
Q: What was it like when you were just learning in your first couple of years in the league?
TB: You’re always learning at this position. I don’t think you ever really can learn too much. It takes a long time to grasp it kind of mentally and physically and all the different things that you’re asked. I think the thing I’ve been most fortunate [with] is to play in the same system with the same coaches, sameterminology. I’ve played with so many smart players. I’m playing with so many smart players this year, which allows you to do a lot of different things, so it’s great being out there and having the type of control and command that we have on offense. There are a lot of different tools we have, things that we can go to if a certain scheme isn’t working, and like I said the other day, you’re always trying to adjust because you’re never quite sure how the other team sees you or how they’re going to game plan you. So you’ve got to have something else to answerwhat their answer may be. It’s just you’re always working hard and you’re always emptying the tank every week, and certainly at this point in my career I try to be really efficient with the work that we need to do. I think our coaches are the same way. They get right to it with us as players saying, “These are the things that we’ve got to focus on.” And every team presents different challenges, so this week is a short week, a team that’s playing really well. So it has its own real unique challenges, and I think I can rely on the experiences that I have. But ultimately you’ve got to go out there and you’ve got to execute it under pressure, so that’s what you have to be able to do.
Q: Have you been able to put in the game plan on game day with teams in the past? Is that something you’re able to do this year because this team is a little more experienced?
TB: I think that every week, like I said, it entails something a little bit different, so you’re always adjusting in this game and finding different ways to, like I said, attack the scheme that you’re facing. Teams are always trying to put different pressures on us in order to execute, whether that’s through their blitz packages or their different schemes up front with the front four, whether that’s coverage schemes, and every team has a little different flavor to it. So part of what our job is, is to try and counter that and figure out our schemes and our ways that we’re going to try to protect up front, and those adjustments go all the way down to the last snap of the game. And when you’re adjusting on the sidelines or constantly talking on things and Josh [McDaniels] is raking through the call sheet to figure out something so he can spring someone free, which leads to some critical plays when you need them. And we made plenty of them there in the fourth quarter, which is what we needed, so a lot of it is trying to keep finding ways to adjust, whether that’s pregame, during the game, all the way up, like I said, to the last snap.
Q: What differences have you seen with the Dolphins in the last two weeks?
TB: They’re playing great. They’ve got a lot of great players, and they’ve had them … You know, every time we’ve played these guys, they’ve been a challenge. So we started off last year and lost to them in the first game of the year. We battled back against them in the second half of last year. So they’re riding high right now, and I think they’re really getting after the quarterback. They’ve got some real good guys in coverage, but I mean, [Cameron] Wake and [Olivier] Vernon and [Ndamukong] Suh and [Earl]Mitchell and [Derrick] Shelby – they’ve got a whole group of pass rushers who, really the last couple of games have been performing really well. Then offensively, they’ve just been scoring a lot of points, so they get ahead and they kind of unleash the pass rushers on you. And then Cameron Wake strip-sacks the quarterback, and then next thing you know, the game is blown open there. It was blown open in the second quarter against Houston. It was blown open in the third quarter against Tennessee. We’ve got to make sure we try to stay on track and execute well so we keep things under control. But you can’t be onedimensionalagainst these guys. These guys are really a talented group.
Q: How would you assess how the offensive line is playing and their ability to adapt and adjust?
TB: Yeah, our offensive line has been phenomenal this year. The challenges they’ve been up against, they’ve faced a lot of really great defensive lines, a lot of different scheme challenges. They’ve had perimeter rushers. They’ve had interior rushers. We see a lot of games and twists. I mean, everyone is obviously trying to get to the quarterback all the time, but we’ve been faced with a lot of challenges and I think those guys have really stepped up to it. So it’s a great group. They’re really well-coached. Coach Gug [Dave DeGuglielmo] has done a great job. Josh [McDaniels] has done a great job. Dave Andrews and Tre’ [Jackson] and Shaq [Mason], Josh Kline … Wendy [Ryan Wendell] has provided incredible insight being that he’s been so experienced in the system. Nate [Solder] was playing great until he got injured. Marcus [Cannon], everyone has a lot of confidence in Marcus. Sebastian [Vollmer] has done a great job going from right now to left and Cam Fleming coming off the practice squad, whatever it takes for those guys. They just, however they can put that unit together and play cohesively, play as a group, but it’s a great group we have. I think those guys taken a lot of pride in it, and they’ve just done an incredible job this year.
Q: What did you think about Ryan Tannehill’s streak of 25 completions?
TB: Yeah, that’s incredible. I mean, 25 straight completions, I mean it’s hard to do that when there’s no defense out there. To throw and to catch like that so efficiently, and they’re making big plays, too. So they’re an explosive offense. They’ve got a lot of guys who can make plays. So we on our offense have to really counter that. We’ve got to play well early. We’ve got to play well. We’ve got to be aggressive, but they’re playing really well. They’ve got a great football team.
Q: What do you think when you hear Bill Belichick say that the Dolphins have simplified their defense?
TB: Yeah, those guys are great at what they do, and they really cut those guys loose to get after the quarterback and they’ve done it. Whatever they’ve changed is really working. I think they’re playing at an extremely high level. Like I said, they’ve gotten out to some big leads, and that spells trouble against this defense. We did the same thing last year in the first game. We got behind, and then they’re just, that’s one of the things that they do great. They can really tee off on the quarterback, and they were certainly teeing off the other day. We’ve got to be balanced. We’ve got to try and take control of the game. It’s tough to do. They’re a good run-stopping defense, in the last two weeks especially, so it’s just a … There’s nothing easy about it. You’ve got to go out, and you’ve got to execute really well. You’ve got to be tough, be firm inside and try to go out there and execute really well.