Q: What are your thoughts on turning the page on Buffalo and playing a young Jaguars team?
TB:Yeah, it's a good challenge for us. It's a little bit of a different week, a team we don't know very much. We really spent the last two days trying to understand their personnel and their scheme and so forth. They got off to a better start this year than they have in the past, and it was a big win against the Dolphins last week. So, I'm sure they'll be fired up, ready to go, and hopefully we can bring the same level of energy that we brought. And it's going to take some good execution, so I'm excited about it.
Q: What's the challenge of facing a team that you haven't seen much of in the past?
TB:Yeah, you just try to gather as much information as you can in a short period of time. It's easy when you can just recall previous games or what their players' skill sets are, but because we don't know them very well, you're trying to just watch film and compare it to players that we've played in the past or at some point where we've played them in the past. So, we've played a few of those players. We know them a little bit, but obviously not the entirety of it or certainly within the scheme that they're trying to play. Coach [Belichick] quizzed us pretty hard this morning on all facets of the game, but it's going to take a great week of practice and execution to go out there and beat them.
Q: Troy Brown said a few years ago that you can't race father time, but it seems as though you have been. What's your secret to playing at such a high level at this point in your career?
TB:I don't think we have enough time to discuss all those things. I think it's just … I try to do my best to prepare myself year-round for the marathon of an NFL football season, so I have a routine that works for me. You know, and I've opened up a little bit about that in the past, but it's a process, and it's a cumulative effect of a lot of different things. So, I'm excited to feel the way I feel, and hopefully I can keep contributing for a long, long time.
Q: You didn't wait until your thirties like a lot of players do to start making an effort to elongate your career.
TB:Absolutely, yeah, a pretty concerted effort for a long period of time. I think football is something I love to do, and I want to do it for a long time. So you've got to take a different approach than what's been taken in the past, or else you'll probably get the same results as everybody else. So, I'm just trying to be the best I can be, and like I said, I love playing quarterback for this team. Hopefully, I can do it for a very long time.
Q: What have you seen from Rob Gronkowski that makes him a leader in the locker room?
TB: Absolutely, I think just what his mental toughness has been as an athlete, what he's overcome the last few years with his arm, his back and then his knee, I just think he sets a great example for our team of the work ethic. He's a fun guy to be around, and then ultimately goes out and performs as best as he possibly can and does it with toughness no matter what he's asked to do, whether it's in the run game. Obviously he gets a lot of attention for catching touchdown passes, but I mean, he does all the dirty work, too. So, he's in there blocking for the backs and in pass protection and he takes a lot of pride in all those things. So, he's been out there every day this year practicing as hard as he can, and I think it's just showing a huge commitment by him and really to all of us players of what it means to him. And I think he's been a great example for all of us.
Q: Is this the best Gronkowski has been in his career?
TB:I mean, he's always been a pretty spectacular player going back to his rookie year. He's just, he's played at such a high level, and he's been so consistent. I don't think we expect anything less of him now.
Q: David Ortiz made a comment about the two of you being like a fine bottle of wine, alluding to the fact that you get better with age. Do you enjoy knowing that you'll be at your best every Sunday and continue to surprise everybody?
TB:I just love doing it. And I want to do it, like I said, for a long time. He's been an incredible player in this community, so it's been a pleasure to watch him play. And to do what he's done is pretty remarkable.
Q: What was it like meeting the current Pope?
TB:It was very brief, my experience with him, but it's pretty cool. I think I saw some TV coverage, so I'm sure it makes for some pretty crazy traffic in New York City and Washington D.C., wherever he's at today, but it's well worth it.
Q: Do you rank Bill Belichick or the Pope higher?
TB:In Bill we trust. Are you kidding me?
Q: What would 400 touchdown passes mean to you?
TB:I've played with so many great players, and I think anything that's ever been achieved by me as an individual is just a reflection of what our team has been about. So, I've been blessed to be on, to me, the greatest team, organization in sports and played with so many great players and teammates. You've got to have everyone block, and you've got to have everyone do their job and run the ball to set up opportunities like that. So, as long as we're scoring points, I'm happy. I really don't care whether we throw them in or hand it off or if it's a defensive score. Just however we can score points and win games – that's what matters to me. It's always what's mattered the most.
Q: How do you look at this challenge this week?
TB:Yeah, They're a young, hungry team. And you're right, every week has its different challenges. I think you battle different schemes and players and so forth every week, so it's really just a matter of ... They have the same amount of time to prepare as we do. It's about maximizing that time and utilizing your energy and effort to get to know them and then to save up enough where you can go out on Sunday and win. It's a marathon. All these weeks start adding up, and like I always say, you don't really know what a team is about until about mid-November because these weeks, it's only week three, you know? You're body still feels really good. Everyone's still got a lot of hope. No one is out of it, but you've got to keep fighting through it and keep making improvements in September so you're a better team in October. And you continue to improve as the season goes.
Tom Brady addresses the Jacksonville Media
Q: How do you keep your focus when you're playing a team that hasn't been doing well lately?
TB:Well, I thought they played great last week. That was obviously a big win for them to get to 1-1, and it's early in the year. Every team is hopeful that they made the changes in the offseason that get them to where they want to be. I think we're in the same position as everybody else. We're trying to figure out what kind of team we're going to be, and every one of these games is important and critical to the outcome of the season. So we have to put a lot into it. We know we're up against a good challenge. It's a defensive team that is young, aggressive, tough. They play a very disciplined style of defense, so we're going to need to go out and execute at a very high level if we want to score points.
Q: Do you see any similarities between the Jaguars' defense and Seattle's defense?
TB:Yeah, I think I see that, obviously the coaching tree and so forth. It's a very well coached team. I think what you see is just they all have responsibilities, and they do a very good job on defense of playing to their responsibility. And they create a lot of turnovers. They certainly create a lot of turnovers on the road. Last year, [they were] a very disruptive front. It's one of the best defensive fronts in football, so it's tough to run it. They overload you at times with the scheme, so we've got to be prepared for a very physical game. It's a very physical defense.
Q: How much do they vary their coverages on the back end?
TB: Yeah, there are definitely variations of what they do. They play a lot of very disciplined zone coverage. They sprinkle in some man. They have some blitzes, so it's a good scheme. It all complements one another, and like I said, they all have responsibilities within the scheme. I think the important part is all their players are disciplined, really knowing what each other expects of one another. So I think that's the way to play defensive football, is for everyone to be aggressive and pursue the football. They do a good job of getting the football. They're after it all the time, and we're going to have to do a great job protecting it.
Q: How comforting is it to have somebody like Rob Gronkowski who is more often than not going to come down with a 50/50 ball?
TB:Well, he's an exceptional player. He's had a great attitude, and I think his mental toughness is really what sticks out. So as much as what he does physically, I think his strength of mind and his ability to come back from what he's overcome the last few years with a pretty serious knee injury, a back injury, forearm injuries, and I think he's just a, he's a great player for our offense. We depend on him for a lot of things in the run game and the pass game. He's really stepped into that responsibility. He's taken on more leadership, and he's just a great teammate. So, I love the guy. He's just a great person to be around. He's always got positive enthusiasm and energy, and I'm so impressed with how he's developed as a player.
Q: It has to be comforting as a quarterback to know you have a guy who will most likely come down with the ball when you have to put it in a tight spot.
TB:Yeah, he's got a great catch radius, so there are definitely places where you try to put the ball where only he can get it. So, you like to give him chances because of his ability to come down with it physically. You don't want to take too many chances throwing the ball where it's 50/50 whether your guy is going to get it unless it's a really risk/reward situation in the game. So everything is pretty calculated. You're trying to find the open guy, and if they're going to cover Gronk, you've got to figure out ways to get other guys the ball. And Julian [Edelman] had a couple good games, and Aaron Dobson had a big game. Dion [Lewis] had a big game for us, so we've just got to continue to find ways to move the ball up and down the field. The guy that's open in our offense usually gets it.
Q: What is it like to live in a celebrity fishbowl?
TB:Well, I think, whatever people's perceptions may be, I still feel very much like the same kid that grew up on Portola Drive in San Mateo. I'm blessed to do something I love to do for a living and to do it for 16 years. I never in my wildest dreams would've thought that would've been possible.
Q: You're one away from 400 touchdowns. How much pride do you take in that longevity?
TB:Well, I think it's really a credit to my teammates and what they've been able to provide for me. I've had so many great players – receivers, tight ends, running backs, offensive linemen – that have just played such a critical part of what we try to accomplish here with our team. You know, and to play for one organization for 16 years has been, it's very rare. It's hard to do, and I've been fortunate with injuries and health and, like I said, playing with some great teammates and coaches. So, I think all of those personal achievements are really a result of what our team has been able to accomplish, so I'm most proud, obviously, of what we've accomplished as a team. I think that's what this sport is all about.
Q: Are you going to play 10 more years?
TB:That might be a little bit of a reach at this point, but hopefully it's a lot more than what people would typically predict. A lot of it is … There's a lot of luck involved. It's a contact sport, but I try to do my best to take care of myself and put myself in a position where I can rebound from injuries and avoid them as best as possible. So, sometimes it's hard to do. You get caught in some tough positions because, like I said, it's a contact sport, but hopefully I can play for a long time.
Q: Is it hard to adjust to the way your life has changed compared to how it was when you were just a kid in San Mateo?
TB: That's a great question. Like I said, what people's perceptions may be, may be very different than the way that I see things. What my life is, I think I just focus on the things that may be most important and make me most happy, you know, bring kind of the most happiness to my life, which is my family. I'm blessed with a great family and healthy children, and like I said, to get an opportunity to do something I love to do, which is play football. I've had a lot of great teammates to be able to do that with, so it's just, all the other stuff that goes along with it, you just learn to deal with it in your life. Everything is a little bit of an adjustment. I've had to adjust to certain things, but I have zero complaints. I'm a very blessed person.
Q: So you wouldn't trade it for the world?
TB: Yeah, absolutely.