It seems strange that Tom Brady and Peyton Manning won't be on the field together for their 17th matchup but the Patriots and Broncos are set to do battle anyway. Brady was asked about taking on a Manning team without his fellow future Hall of Famer in the picture and said he wasn't too concerned considering everything Denver offers on defense.
Brady also discussed the ever-changing nature of the offense in light of all the injuries his team has suffered. He also took time to recognize Thanksgiving high school football in Massachusetts, all of which were among the highlights of Brady's weekly Wednesday press conference at Gillette Stadium.
1. NO TIME TO WASTE -Brady was asked if it would be strange taking on Manning's team without him in the lineup.
"Truthfully I haven't thought about that much. It's a lot of work preparing for this defense. You're right, I don't play against that other side of the ball. I mean, there's nobody that has more respect for Peyton than me outside of probably his parents and his brothers. If anybody can appreciate what he's accomplished it's me, so he's just been remarkable in every part of his career.
"He's been a tremendous player. It's unfortunate. Everyone deals with injuries at different times, so it just happens to be this week. They won last week with the guy that they had in there. I think their defense is a huge ... They've been as good as any defense in the league. It's been a short week. It's been a day and a half, and I've focused all my attention on that defense and trying to figure out a way for us to move the ball a little bit."
2. FACE THE CHANGES - With so many receivers nicked up, Brady discussed the challenges of changing his approach from week to week. Things that worked with Julian Edelman in the lineup might not necessarily be the same with Danny Amendola or Chris Harper, so Brady has had to adjust. He says that's especially tough going against the fast and physical Broncos defense.
"Yep, and I think there's always creativity to what we're trying to do because every week it's just something different. This defense that we're playing is the best defense in the NFL, so they do everything well. It's pretty challenging to find things on tape that you really like. We've got to be smart with the ball. That's a huge key of the game is them being able to take it off of you and return it for touchdowns and so forth, so they're very tough, tough in all areas.
"I think you're trying to just find the space. If you can get it to him quickly before the guys get really close, then it gives him some opportunity to run after it. And we did a good job of that the other night. These guys, it's a lot of tough, tight coverage. They put a lot of pressure on you. I think that's the mark of a good defense is putting pressure on the offense. So they put a lot of pressure on you in their pass rush, and then they put a lot of pressure on your skill guys to get open in coverage because they don't give you anything. That's where the real challenge is. They've limited teams to yards, points, turnovers, sacks, first-down defense. They're impressive in every statistical category. They've got great players. They've got great rushers. They've got guys, some of the best that I've ever seen play in Von Miller andDeMarcus Ware. They're pretty unstoppable."
3. GIVING THANKS - Thanksgiving is a special time for football in New England, especially at the high school level. Brady recognized that and was asked how thankful he was to still be playing and if his wife ever asks, "What the heck are you wasting your time doing that for?"
"She says that to me all the time, definitely. She said that to me last night as a matter of fact. Yeah, it's a great time here in Massachusetts for football, and we've hosted a lot of those games here, state championships and so forth. There are a lot of state championships this week. I got an email from Drew Bledsoe. His son plays in the state championship this week, which is pretty cool. Thanksgiving is always about football and being with your family, and it makes for a great holiday."