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Tom Brady Locker Room Interview - 12/18/2002

Q: For all intents and purposes it's do or die for the next two weeks, what's your mentality?

TB: We certainly left no room for error, we're playing two division teams at home with everything at stake, so we've got to go out and play well. If we don't, then we'll be watching in a couple weeks, if we do, then we'll be playing. I'm counting on us playing.

Q: Tom, do you feel like this is when you're at your best?

TB: Yeah, I'm excited for this challenge because we've worked for five months to put ourselves in a position to be in the playoff race, and it's a chance to win the division. At different times in the year we've played well, and at other times we haven't played so well. If we want to win it we've got to play well at the most critical times, and there's no dispute this is the most critical time.

Q: (Re: It being cold the next two Sunday's)

TB: Yeah, it's Foxborough in December, we've had some cold games. I'm hoping it's colder then hell, I'm hoping it's freezing out there. I hope that the teams that come in … hopefully our fans will be out here yelling as loud as they can and cheering us on, and hopefully we'll give them something to cheer about.

Q: What are the things that most concern you in terms of getting on the right track and improving?

TB: That goes to a lot of things, and I think a lot of those things that we say between each other, we probably don't want to air it out in front of you guys because we know what happens then. We're just going out and trying to figure out what it's going to take to win these next couple weeks.

Q: Is there reason to believe that the Jets can put together the type of performance that the Titans did?

TB: I think it's only a concern if we let them do what the Titans did to us. I think a lot of times we've got to plant our own feet in the ground, and make a stand, and determine that we're not going to play that way, we're going to dictate what goes on in these games and not allow the other team to dictate what goes on. That's part of it, that's part of the reason why we played six good teams and we've lost to six good teams, and the games we've won, we've dictated the tempo, and we dictated the way we wanted to play, and it hasn't been what they've allowed us to get, but what we wanted to take. If we're aggressive on offense and aggressive on defense we're going to come out of these games feeling good about ourselves I know that.

Q: How different is this Jet team than the first time you faced them?

TB: Yeah, we talked about it last night. Of course the quarterbacks, we always come in and try to get a jump on it, but we watched them play over the last couple weeks, over the last couple games, and they're really playing a lot better. Their defense is playing significantly better, the corners are making a lot of plays, their defensive line is playing better. It looks like the Jet defense that we expected in Week Two.

Q: Can you relate a little to Chad's [Pennington] experience?

TB: Very much so. He's an excellent player, and he throws the ball well, he's got good command out there, it's obvious the guy's like having him out there, they like being around him, he's an excitable guy. Football's important to him, and he obviously takes it pretty seriously, and it looks like he's doing a great job.

Q: Do you take Monday's game as an aberration?

TB: I think there's a lot of factors that played into the reason why we got our butt kicked. There's some plays, there's certainly a few plays that could have changed it around quite a bit for us, but we don't seem to be getting those breaks. So, we're not putting ourselves in the position to get them, or take advantage of them, so I'd hate to think that's the type of team we are because I don't think that is the type of team we are. I think that will to win we had the first three weeks of the season is what we're all about, and not that we're not capable of finding that again, we've just got to find that spark. And we've got to find it quickly I'd say.

Q: What Chad Pennington is going through this year, does it remind you of your situation last year?

TB: Yeah, I think I can relate a little bit to that, and he's really ran with it, and he's done a great job, and he's given everyone in New York a reason to be excited about the Jets because he's playing such good ball. He's leading that team to comeback wins, and he's being very efficient with the ball, making a lot of good throws, he's a great player.

Q: Is it easier for him because nobody expected this to be happening?

TB: I wouldn't say it's easier, I think it's pretty tough no matter what, to be a pro quarterback, I think it's pretty tough.

Q: Did you ever think up to this point that it would come down to the last two games?

TB: Well, I think for everyone in the AFC it's come down to the last two weeks, so I don't think there's really any team that has clinched, so I think you look at us over the last 14 weeks, and we haven't eliminated ourselves, and we haven't advanced, so it's going to come down to these two games, and they're home games, and I wish, obviously, we had a playoff spot clinched, but the reality is that it's just not the way the season's gone for us.

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