Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addresses the Indianapolis media during his conference call, on Wednesday, November 17, 2010.
Q: Can you put in perspective how much Peyton Manning has helped motivate you to be a better quarterback with the rivalry you guys have had over the years?
TB: I mean, he's an incredible player. The thing that I love [in] watching him is his consistency. He's such a competitive player and being around him, in the experience that I've had around him, it's no surprise why he's such a great player. He loves the game. He loves studying it. He loves talking about it. I think we definitely have that in common. It's a great matchup and I think both our team and the Colts have been winning a lot of games over the last 10 years. We've had some great games between the two teams and I'm expecting this game to be the same.
Q: Dwight Freeney told us today that while you don't have the mobility of some quarterbacks, you are a hard guy to sack because of your pocket presence. Do you get that over time, or how does that come?
TB: When Dwight Freeney is bearing down on you, you learn to throw the ball pretty quick. I learned that pretty early on playing against him. He's an incredible player. There is nobody in the league that rushes the passer like he does. And Robert Mathis on the other side, it's like you can't give Dwight all the attention - although most teams do - and then Robert comes from the other side. He's had some huge games against us, so you just have to try to pick your spots with them. Believe me, every time the ball is snapped, we've got to understand where he's at and what exactly he's doing because both those guys can change the game in one play.
Q: Is moving around the pocket and knowing where to go something you improve on over time as a quarterback?
TB: Sure. That's part of the drills that you do. That's part of the strength and conditioning program in the offseason. That's part of all the quarterback drills that we do. You can't be a statue back there. Believe me, I'm not fleet of feet at all, so you just learn to move a little bit, you keep your eyes up field and get rid of the ball when you can. When you play a team like the Colts, you know you're not going to be able to hold it too long, so you've got to find an open guy and get rid of the ball, make the throw and try to make it a completion - try to make a good, accurate throw.
Q: When you came into the league, were you as surprised as most of the rest of us at what you did in 2001?
TB: I don't think you sit there and go, 'Wow, I can't believe I'm playing professional football.' I think those are the goals and you work hard at them through college and through the draft process. In my first year in the league...obviously you start the season 0-2 like we did in 2001, and end up 5-5 at one point and got on a roll and win the Super Bowl, that was an incredible year for us. We had a great team; we had great veteran leadership and great coaching. There were some great coaches on that staff and a lot of great players. And we kind of came together; that's typically what happens. Coach Belichick always says that football season doesn't start until after thanksgiving and that's when the good teams really start to show themselves. Both the two teams this weekend, the Patriots and the Colts, we're in good position, but really this is where we've got to start really improving as a team and build on the foundation that we set early in the season.
Q: How long do you see yourself playing?
TB: Until they drag me off the field. I don't plan on leaving this game any time soon. I really enjoy playing and it's hard for me to imagine doing anything else. As long as the Patriots want me, I'll be here. I've given them that commitment already.
Q: Yard per attempt numbers are down this year in the NFL. Yours, Peyton Manning's and Drew Brees' are all down this year. Do you have any theory as to why that might be?
TB: I have no idea. I have no idea.
Q: Are defenses defending you differently this year?
TB: No, I mean the defenses we've played are pretty true to form. I'm not sure. That's a great question.
Q: As usual, there is a rash of quarterback injuries this year. You and Peyton have been very durable. Is there anything within a quarterback's power to prevent injuries? You touched on movement in the pocket before.
TB: Well, I think that's a pretty important one from a quarterback's standpoint. The more you run around and the longer you hold the ball, the more they're coming after you. A guy like Brett Favre, who has played as many games as he has in a row, he gets rid of the ball pretty quick. He holds onto it at time and takes some good hits; he's just one of the toughest guys to ever play the game and play the position. Peyton gets rid of the ball pretty quick. Whenever he or I feel pressure, we tend to just get rid of the ball. There's nothing to be gained from me holding onto the ball very long, so I just try to get rid of it and once you get rid of it, obviously they can't hit you. That, to me, is the best way to stay healthy. That and using good technique in the pocket, good movement, understanding where the rush is coming from, understanding defenses. Those are kind of the typical things that I would say.
Q: You were not seen in the media portion of practice today. Can you talk about how you've been doing lately and how you're feeling?
TB: I'm doing well. I'm doing well. I'm looking forward to the game this weekend.