Tom Brady has never been known for his speed, but there's at least one person in the world who wouldn't sell him short in a race against anyone.
Brady's Wednesday press conference was heavy on the Buffalo Bills and the Patriots desire to avenge their only defeat of the season, but the highlight came when the quarterback was asked about his overall level health as we near the midway point of the season.
Since he missed the first month while serving a suspension, Brady was asked if he felt this physically fresh at this stage of the season before. When he indicated that he always feels pretty good, Brady was asked about his quickness in the pocket. That's when his mother got involved.
"I know you're not fast but," and before the question could be completed Brady interrupted with his mother's defense.
"Don't tell my mom that either because she would totally disagree with that," he said.
"She thinks you're fast?"
"Yes, she thinks I'm very fast. I know. She says, 'I think you're the fastest person on the field.' I say, 'Mom, you are crazy. No way.' That's moms."
That exchange added some levity to the proceedings, which otherwise were filled with Bills-related questions. Specifically, the pregame pushing and shoving between some Bills defenders and rookies Jacoby Brissett and Malcolm Mitchell that took place prior to the teams' previous meeting.
Not taking the cheese – It's a pretty safe bet that Bills defensive backs Robert Blanton, Aaron Williams and Nickell Robey-Coleman would not have interrupted Brady's pregame jog around the perimeter of the field the way they did Brissett back on Oct. 2. Brady was asked if the tactic represented a bully mentality Rex Ryan is trying to foster in Buffalo.
"Yeah, I think it's more so what we do when the game kicks off as opposed to what happens before the game or during the week," Brady replied. "You get into a bunch of trash talk and you know us, we've never got into that stuff because in the end, it's just a big waste of energy.
"You focus on the things you need to do to help the team win, and that's to play well and execute and spend your time on what's going to happen from the point when the game kicks off to when it ends. That's where our focus is, that's where it always will be. We'll go in there, we'll be focused, we'll be ready to go and we'll go out there and try to play a lot better than the last time we played them."
Dealing with Ryan – The Bills coach has occasionally been able to keep Brady and the Patriots offense in check over the years. While he hasn't always been able to win – in fact he rarely has with a 5-11 record against the Patriots during his time with the Jets and Buffalo – the boisterous Bills boss has frustrated Brady in the past.
Brady was asked about some of the challenges of playing against the game-plan oriented Ryan.
"I think he does a really good job of playing to the strengths of his players. I think that's what he does really well as a coach. I think there's an element of what you prepare for, you may not get many of those things. We've played him sometimes when he's been blitzing a lot, and he doesn't blitz as much at all. Then he hasn't been blitzing much at all and then he blitzes us at a lot.
"I think you just have to be prepared for everything, which is a bit of a challenge because there's only so much time in the week that you have to prepare. You've got to try to nail down what you think you're going to get, then practice it and be able to adjust if need be when you get out there. But I think he does a good job of getting his guys, the guys he feels confident in the positions that they need in order to make the plays that they've been making, because they've been making a lot of plays on defense."
Bills mafia – Few fan bases are as crazed as Buffalo's and their antics can lead to an interesting environment. Brady was asked what makes playing in Buffalo different from many other venues.
"They're just into it. I mean, they're into it from the first quarter all the way to the last; from pregame warmups to the end of the game. I think it challenges your communication, so we practice – and we played, last week was pretty loud. We've played in a lot of loud stadiums and Buffalo is definitely one of the tops. I think the thing that is most challenging is when they're making plays and sacking the quarterback and turnovers like they've been getting a lot of this year. That's what really kind of gets them amped up."