Foxborough, Mass. - For the first time since it was announced that Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis would be the next head coach at the University of Notre Dame, quarterback Tom Brady spoke publicly about the topic Friday.
The departure of Weis, who joined the Patriots prior to the 2000 season, Brady's rookie year, will probably a larger impact on Brady than any other Patriot. Brady spoke candidly about his close relationship and friendship he developed with Weis in their four-plus seasons together.
"We'll see how it affects us," Brady said. "He's definitely the one coach who has been there since day one, aside from Coach Belichick, [but] I definitely spend more time with Charlie. He sets the tone for every meeting, every practice, and he has since the day I got here. I probably know that more than anybody else, so we'll see how that affects us when it comes up, but he's still around, so that's good."
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick echoed the sentiments that Weis has played a large role in Brady's development.
"I think he's played a big role," Belichick said. "He talks to him and meets with him everyday, game plans, and they work closely even though we've had quarterback coaches here with John [Hufnagel] and Josh [McDaniels] and they're a part of it too. There's no question about that. I think that Charlie has had a significant role in Tom's development and overall strategy and some fundamentals and techniques and just game management."
What changes take place for Brady and the Patriots offense in the post-Weis era remain to be seen. Brady, who says that Weis often sees the game as a quarterback would see it, doesn't view the current adjustments with Weis as something that will impact the Patriots the remainder of the season.
"We have a great relationship, we continue to have a great relationship, I respect him an awful lot," Brady said. "I think our offense has done a very good job this year scoring points and being balanced on offense. Hopefully that doesn't change. I don't see why Charlie taking a position would affect that. We're ultimately the ones that have to go out and perform. Hopefully 14 weeks into the season that doesn't change."
The Patriots lengthy injury report grew longer Friday when wide receiver Bethel Johnson was listed as questionable for Monday's game against Miami with a thigh injury. Johnson, who is the team's main kickoff returner and ranks fifth in the AFC with a 24.8-yard per return average, missed a portion of team practice Friday.
The remainder of the injury report remained unchanged. Cornerback Ty Law (foot) and safety Dexter Reid (shoulder) are doubtful. Cornerbacks Randall Gay (arm) and Asante Samuel (shoulder); linebackers Matt Chatham and Roman Phifer; wide receiver David Givens; and tight end Daniel Graham (rib) are all questionable. All but Gay and Samuel missed a portion of Friday's practice.
Safety Rodney Harrison, who was listed as probable with the flu Thursday, returned to participate in full practice Friday, while quarterbacks Brady (shoulder) and Jim Miller (shoulder) remain probable.
Wide receiver Troy Brown was announced as one of 32 finalists for the 2004 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which recognizes off-the-field community service as well as playing excellence. Each finalist will receive a $1,000 contribution towards a charity of his choice, while the winner - announced February 4, 2005, will receive $25,000 to donate to his selected charity. ... Linebackers Zach Thomas (hamstring) and Eddie Moore (calf/knee) are both listed as doubtful for Miami. ... The Patriots conducted their Pro Bowl balloting last week because of the upcoming Monday night game. Fan voting on nfl.com ends Dec. 19th. ... In a lighter moment, Belichick joked that opposing quarterbacks may have trouble deciding which of the Patriots cornerbacks to target because of the overall inexperience at the position. "Whoever you are going to throw at in that group, I'm sure that quarterbacks are kind of confused because they're not sure which guy they want to go after. They've got three or four guys out there that have only played really a few games at that position." ... Belichick said his involvement in the offense this week hasn't changed due to the added responsibilities for Weis. "I think my involvement has been pretty much what it has been.It has been pretty consistent.I think that that has been basically true for the rest of the offensive coaches. We spent a little more time on it, just making sure we have everything organized, we have everything set and we have all of our bases covered. But, I think for the most part there has been not much change."