Patriots news release...
Tom Brady meets the media to talk about the season opener at Buffalo.
Q: Do you feel a challenge, or a challenge to yourself, of doing what you've done in the past with a whole bunch of new guys and fresh faces?
TB: It's a great time of year. It's a regular season Wednesday, so I think everyone's really been looking forward to this throughout the offseason training and training camp to get to this point. This is where we really need to be picky, and it's where we really need to have a heightened sense of awareness about all the things that we've talked about, things that we've covered, that we've got wrong, that we've made corrections for, because you play a team like Buffalo with the new coordinator and you're really not sure what they're going to do. In a way, you have to prepare for everything, and a lot of the focus from the last four days has been just that, trying to really put together a game plan, go out, and we've had three good days of practice and now we've got to follow it up with two more.
Q: You are familiar obviously with their defensive coordinator… What other tendencies have you noticed about Mike Pettine over the years?
TB: Yeah, it's a very good defense. It's a challenging scheme because they use their players very well. I think they have very multi-dimensional-type players. Similar to what we do on offense: we use everybody, they use everybody. Everybody has a role in their defense. Whatever they feel like is working, they stick with. But from game to game it's always been different, so we've got a lot of information on the team based on what they've done in the past, so you really aren't quite sure what they're going to do. You can just kind of prepare for what you think they're going to do, certainly what their strengths have been, and try to go from there.
Q: How different is their personnel from what he had with the Jets?
TB: Well, every team has some differences. I think they've got, Buffalo, one of the best defenses in football. They've got guys from Mario [Williams] to Kyle Williams and [Alex] Carrington and Marcell Dareus. They're super talented up front, can rush the quarterback. They get a lot of pressure on you with just the first four guys. They're young in the secondary, especially with [Stephon] Gilmore getting hurt, but still very talented, very good young players, good linebacking group. I think they're very athletic and their scheme is very challenging, so [it] puts a lot of pressure on us in all areas. We've got a young team too, so trying to make a bunch of corrections and go against what we think they're going to do in practice has been challenging but really good for us.
Q: In other years in training camp, you've had to get used to new receivers and new people and young people. Comparing this year with new people and young people, how comfortable are you this year compared to where you've been in the past with the same type of situation?
TB: At this point, we've had 40 or 50 practices throughout the spring and summer, so we've had quite a bit. We've had a lot of communication with the young players, with the veteran players, just a lot of new guys, and especially with Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] out, over the course of the summer there's been a lot of communication with the tight ends too. So it's the tight end, the receiver position; the running back position is pretty much the same with the exception of LeGarrette [Blount]. A lot of the extra time and energy has been with the tight end position, the receiver position, making sure that we're doing the right thing, that we're on the same page, because you really don't want to go into a situation like this, at Buffalo, on the road, division opponent, loud stadium and really not be able to communicate and know what to do.
Q: How does this compare though to other years when you've had the same type of situation?
TB: Every year ends up being different, so it really remains to be seen, what we've done and what we're capable of. That's why we've got to go out and play and earn it, and I think that's the exciting part for the players too, because we've been going at it for a while, we want to see what we're all about too. We want to see how hard we've worked and how well we compare and match up with the other teams in the league.
Q: How important is patience for you with these young players, and how do you balance patience with the immediacy of a Sunday game?
TB: Yeah. I'm not the most patient guy to begin with, so that's something that I'm working on. But you understand that there's a learning curve, and there's things that are going to come up that, you know, look, some guys haven't experienced the things that I've experienced, so you try to talk about, ‘OK, this is possibly going to happen, if it happens then I want you to make this adjustment.' Well it happens and then the adjustment's not made and I say ‘Well I told you…" But sometimes that's what I do with my three-year-old too and he doesn't listen either. You try to just hang in there, and when you communicate you determine how good of a communicator you are by the feedback that you get, and if you're not getting the right feedback, then you communicate more and you're obviously not doing a great job of it so I've got to do a better job. And that's I think part of what I tried to do this offseason.
Q: You were without Rob Gronkowski last year for a few games. Does that help if you're without him for a few games this year? Is that in a way a good preparation so you know what to do without him?
TB: Sure, yeah. And I think that for the first couple years of his career he didn't miss anything, you know? And then he missed some games last year and we kind of went into ‘OK, well this is what we're going to do without Gronk,' and that's the situation that we've been in all spring and summer and developed, and it's like he hasn't even been a part of the team. I mean, he's been a part of the team doing what he needs to do to get ready, but what our offense was doing, it's other guys have to step in and do the job that we're asking them to do.
Q: What do the three rookie wide receivers bring to this team?
TB: Well, they're all a little bit different in terms of their skill set and I think they're all fun to be around, they're all excitable players, guys that are really willing to work hard by doing the right thing, by listening to the coaching they're getting. But look, everyone feels really great about how far they've come, because they've really worked hard and they deserve the opportunity that they have. So hopefully they all play a big role in the upcoming regular season. But we'll see how that goes, and we're going to do what we need to do to win games and hopefully those players are a big part of the reason why we do it.
Q: Do they help to keep you young at all? It's your 14th year, not that you're old.
TB: I'd like to think I'm at the halfway house.
Q: But do they help to maybe re-energize you?
TB: Well, yeah. And it's part of a different situation than we've been in, so there's a newness to that. There's a newness in the teaching and the learning and the work that we've done over the course of the years. There's a lot of things that I've done this year that I've never done in the past that's been new for me, in terms of the learning and the meetings and the extra time spent, so that's all good for me too.
Q: Is that something you like?
TB: It's great. I mean the more you have, I said to Josh [McDaniels] yesterday, we had a meeting and I was meeting with the receivers and I said ‘I can understand,' because when you're holding the clicker and you're going over play after play after play… I mean, you can go through 70-80 plays, and when you're holding the clicker, you're like, you just keep teaching, it's great, and then when you're listening, you're like ‘God, when are we done?', you know? And then you get done, and when you're holding the clicker you don't feel like you've covered anything. In reality, you've covered a lot, so I think that's part of it. It's good to see it from the other side, from the coaching – not coaching, I'm not a coach, I'm a player, but there's teaching, there are things I see that we're trying to get on the same page. So a lot of it is me showing them a look and saying ‘Well this is what I expect, so if we get that look, we're going to do it the way that I really can anticipate.' And the more of those things that we can cover through past experiences, and maybe it's not their past experience, but our Patriots past experience, if we can cover some of that in the film room, we don't have to cover it on the field and we can when one of those situations happens in Buffalo.
Q: How long does it usually take for them to see what you see?
TB: It depends. It's all up to the individual, and some things come faster than others, but we're trying to work through it. It's just a matter of doing it, and everyone learns differently. Hopefully it's good enough. I mean ultimately we're just trying to score more points than the other team, so it's hard to compare a rookie receiver to Calvin Johnson – that's unfair to anybody. But you're trying to be the best as we can possibly be, and I think that's been our goal for the year.
Q: How has Gronk looked on the field?
TB: Gronk's done everything that everyone's asked him to do, so I know he's working hard. I mean, he's out there busting his butt, which is great to see.
Q: Can you still relate to what those guys are feeling right now going into their first start of their careers? Do you share any of those stories about what you felt in that first week going into your first game?
TB: A little bit, a little bit. I think that based on what we've gone through in the preseason and what we've gone through in the spring and the kind of pressure that Coach [Bill] Belichick puts on the team, I think they have a pretty good understanding of what to expect. It's a great environment for football. Coach Belichick always says ‘If you love football, then one o'clock on a Sunday in Buffalo is a good place to be,' so that's how we feel.
Q: Do you remember the experience of your first opening day?
TB: Yes. It wasn't a very good day for our team.
Q: As someone further down the depth chart, what were some of the emotions you were going through that day if you can remember?
TB: I can't remember all that. I remember more the day, but yeah. It wasn't a good day for the Patriots.
Q: Do you have an idea of who's going to break out this year, or do you typically end up as surprised as we do?
TB: Well hopefully everybody contributes. To the level they contribute, that's up to the individual, and there are a lot of things that go into that: game planning, and the scheme, and good fortune, being able to be on the field, so we've got to go through it. But when you have expectations, everybody that's active on the roster is supposed to contribute. We've got some veterans that everyone expects to contribute, we've got a lot of rookies that people expect to contribute, and to what level, who knows, but we're going to put as much as we can into it.
Q: I know he just got here the other day, but what are your early impressions of Matt Mulligan?
TB: This was the first day that I had him on the field, so we've got a long way to go. I've just gotten to know him, but he seems like a really great guy and happy to have him on the team. We need help at that position, and hopefully he can provide some.
Q: Stevie Johnson said that he could do some things against your defense including Pat Chung. I was wondering if you've ever mentally prepared for a guy that wasn't actually on the other team?
TB: I have never done that. No, never done that.
Q: How important is it for you with these young guys to understand who reacts well to what? One guy you can yell at him and he's fine, another guy you yell at him and he disappears. How hard is that for you to do since you hardly know these guys?
TB: Yeah, that's part of the communication, and everyone does respond differently to different forms of motivation. Usually you can figure it out pretty quickly, it doesn't take too many practices to see how a guy responds, but ultimately we all want the same thing, and that's to do it right and to do it right consistently so that we're able to score points. At this point everyone has a pretty good feel for each other, but it's also different on game day and it's different on opening day when they count. I think it's one thing for something to come up during a preseason game where, yeah you know it's not great, but it's a learning experience like what happened in Detroit. If that happens in a regular season game, things aren't going to go very well around here, so that's just the way it is. But the guys that are here have earned the respect of Coach Belichick enough to be on the team. He obviously feels like we can all contribute to us winning games, and that's what we have to hopefully be able to do is go out there and string together a bunch of great plays in a row, and the more great plays, the more we're going to score points, the more points we score the more margin of error we're going to have. He always tells us, ‘Your job is to go out and score points, we're not putting you out there to go run through three plays and punt,' so we're going to try to go out there and score as many points as he can.
Q: How challenging is it opening on the road in a loud place like Buffalo? Obviously you've had great success against the Bills, but a lot of these games have been cliffhangers.
TB: I mean look, this is a very good team that challenges you in a lot of ways. They've got a new coaching staff, there's a lot of excitement and energy, a lot of young players that they have that have never been a part of the history between the Patriots and the Bills. None of those games are going to matter, what's going to matter is who plays the best, who executes the best. I said a few days ago, football's not a game of gimmicks. It's about good, solid execution – running, throwing, catching, blocking, tackling – that's what football is about. The more you do that on a consistent basis, the better you're going to be. You may get away with a play here or there, but ultimately the best teams are the ones that have the best fundamentals. That's what we really work hard on, that's what we're trying to be. We're trying to work on our fundamentals every day in practice, and hopefully it's at its high point on Sunday.
PATRIOTS QB TOM BRADY
CONFERENCE CALL WITH BUFFALO MEDIA
September 4, 2013
Q: You just had a birthday about a month ago, so how are you feeling? Do you feel 36?
TB: You know what, I feel great. I'm really excited about this weekend and all the work that this team has put in to this point. This is really when you see what you're all about. You go through 40 some odd practices and the whole offseason conditioning program to get to this point, so there's no better place to play than Buffalo, with how challenging it is. It's a great crowd, a great atmosphere for football. We've had a few opening days there, and it's just a great environment for football, so I'm really excited.
Q: Can you see yourself playing football at 40 years old and beyond?
TB: Well I hope so. That's my plan, and that requires obviously a lot of things to go right for you. I'm just glad that I have the opportunity this year. I know, really about four or five years ago when I hurt my knee in the opener, you really realize how much you love to play the game and how much you love playing and having the opportunity to go out there and compete. So, I'm lucky to have this opportunity to be the starting quarterback on this team, this year. You know all these games are so important, especially these division games, and I'm glad we get to start right in the division and see where we match up.
Q: Do you feel like there is a little more onus on you this year given the other parts of the offense that are new?
TB: There is always an onus on the quarterback. The pressure of professional football and the pressure to do things right, I'm sure that's in every job. Certainly in football, a lot of times it does fall on the quarterback. From my standpoint, that's kind of where I want it. I want guys to look to me for communication, to do the right thing and to hold me accountable, and I expect the same things of them. So, it always changes from year to year. Players come and go, coaches come and go, and to be able to adjust and adapt is a big part of the NFL. It's a big part of the success of franchises and organizations. You have to be able to adapt, you have to be able to adapt within a game scenario. Things rarely go as you anticipate them, and we have to be prepared to make adjustments this weekend. We have to be prepared to make adjustments on the opening series. That's a big step in our growth as a team: to be able to put forth a game plan and then implement the game plan and if it doesn't work, be able to adjust. That's as much about football as anything.
Q: What will be some of your biggest challenges and how will you overcome them given that you are missing some of your familiar security blankets?
TB: Well there are always challenges to determine really what kind of team you are going to be. Like I said, the mental toughness, the work ethic, the core principles and fundamentals of the game have not been tested under game conditions. They've been tested in preseason, in practice and workouts, but nothing is like the games. Especially when there are 70,000 people in the stands, they're televised and there are millions of people watching on TV. That's where you see the best of the best. That's what it is all about. We all are excited to see where we are at. There is obviously a lot of room for improvement, and hopefully we'll try to improve throughout the course of the season. That's what it takes to be a successful team in the NFL.
Q: How would you like to make your NFL debut against the Bill Belichick defense?
TB: I mean I have a lot of respect for Coach Belichick, and we've been together for a long time. I mean he's never changed. He is so consistent as a person and as a coach, we know what we are going to get every day, and he has high expectations for us and our team. When things don't go right in practice, he does everything he can to make it right.
Q: How would you like to be in E.J. Manuel's shoes I guess is what I'm asking?
TB: Well, I'm in my own shoes. I've got a lot to prepare for myself.
Q: You sound like Bill.
TB: Well, no it's the truth. I'm not worried about what E.J. is thinking about right now. I've got plenty to think about myself right now. I don't really want to be thinking about someone else's job. That's for them to do. Especially an opponent, and the more time I spend thinking about the opponent, then the less time I spend thinking about my job. I've been working for the last 10 days on this team and just trying to get prepared for them. That's where my energy and focus has been.
Q: Despite all the changes in Buffalo, is there a sense of familiarity for you with the Bills defense because you have faced Mike Pettine's defenses before?
TB: Well, I mean the identity is definitely the Buffalo Bills and what Coach [Doug] Marrone has really brought to the team. There are quite a few new players at the linebacker spot and the secondary, guys that I haven't played against much, so I tried to study as much film as I could on those guys so I could understand how they like to play. They're going to establish their own identity. It is certainly not the Jets or the Ravens. Coach Pettine, yeah, that's where his familiarity comes from, but he has different players with different strengths. How he chooses to implement his system will probably depend on how well they do. We're kind of preparing for everything up here. We've established a database of plays that we've run against them over the years, and we're trying to prepare for everything. I'm fortunate to be able to play in all those games where I can recall all those things, but they present you with a lot of challenges. They have a lot of good schemes and it is going to be really challenging for us this weekend.
Q: What strengths does Danny Amendola bring to the offense that you like?
TB: Well he is incredibly hard working. He loves football, and he wants to do the right thing. He's had a lot of production in the league when he has been on the field and been healthy. Hopefully he can continue to do the things he has since he got here. I don't want to put any expectations on him. That's really for him to earn, but he is a big part of our offense and hopefully he has a very productive year.