Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addresses the media following practice during a veteran mini camp at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, June 7, 2008.
Q: How are you, Tom?
TB: It's going well. It was a good day of practice.
Q: Good to be back out there?
TB: Yeah. I think it's been an exciting spring for the team. I think everyone is excited to be back and I think has a really good attitude. So we're just looking forward to making some improvements in the next six weeks and then getting back here at the end of next month [for training camp].
Q: What are you looking to improve personally?
TB: I think it's always team improvement. We're always trying to find ways to evolve as a team and evolve as an offense. You realize that a lot of the things we did last year probably won't work this year. It's important to move forward and understand things that we need to do better. I'm not going to tell you guys [what they are] because I don't want the Jets to find out. But there is plenty for this team to improve on.
Q: Do you think everyone has pretty much shaken off the Super Bowl loss?
TB: I hope so. There are a lot of new guys who weren't a part of that, so they don't bring any of those memories or that energy in here. The guys who have been here, Coach Belichick has really been preaching to us that what happened last year is something for us to learn from and move on from. In life, you don't reflect too much on what happened in the past. You try to learn from it and build on it. We can only control what we did today, which in this case was a really good practice.
Q: Was it hard to stay focused on football with everything else going on in the off season?
TB: Well, it's our job. When you show up here, you're focused on your job, and when you leave here, you focus on other things. Part of being mentally tough in any career is showing up to work and doing your job. That's what we get paid for so that's what we're here to do. We show up and play football.
Q: How happy are you to have Randy [Moss] back? Were you in his ear about coming back?
TB: Yeah. Randy and I, we have a great relationship. I know this is the place where he wanted to be and we wanted him. Usually the contract situations work out when that happens. He adds so much to this offense. I don't know if you guys saw him out here the past few days, but he's really in great shape. It was a great way to start his Patriots career last year. I'm sure he's hoping to find ways to improve the things he needs to improve on. It's great to have him out there.
Q: Is there any concern about the image of the organization when off field things pop up?
TB: No. I think we're just in a different cultural climate right now. I think with the amount of information that's out there, everybody can grab a hold of it instantaneously. We're all human beings and we make mistakes- everyone [will make] mistakes going forward and in the past. Like everything, you try to learn from things you wish you didn't do and understand that there is a reason for making those decisions. Like I said, when we show up here Coach does a pretty good job of keeping us focused.
Q: Did you find you needed more time after the Super Bowl to clear your head because of the outcome of it?
TB: Any time you lose a game, it's disappointing. That one, because it's the last game of the year, it's very disappointing. But we've lost a lot of games in the past, too. The more you focus on what's happened and what you can't control, the less energy you're going to focus on the things you need to do to improve. Coach Belichick, I think, gets it out of his mind pretty quickly. You evaluate the loss and hope you learn from it and then you move on. You gain the experience and the knowledge of what got you beat, or in some cases what helped you win the game, in this case we lost the game, and you try to incorporate those into what we're doing this season.
Q: Is there any way the loss can be used as motivation this year?
TB: Every year has been a different year. This is a new team and there are new challenges. You come out here the first day and its not like this is the 2007 team revisited. There are new players and there's a new element to what we're going to face. We don't pick up where we left off last year. We're starting where everybody else is starting.
Q: But isn't it good to know that all of those off field issues are all gone and you're starting with a clean slate?
TB: Yeah. And like I said, what those stories create are nothing about football. We come out and we play football. That's what we're here to do. That's really what we try to focus on when we show up here. The other stuff, you really can't control. You control your decisions and whatever decisions you make, you pay for the consequences and then you move on. Justice has been paid and we're showing up here with a new team and it's a new season. Everyone is starting at the same spot.
Q: There was a radio interview a few weeks back where someone said you didn't respect the Jets or something like that. Could you just clarify that?
TB: I have a great deal of respect of the Jets. They're my favorite team in the league other than the Patriots. I love those guys. They're the best.
Q: They've improved a lot in the off season. Do you think the gap between you guys and the rest of the division is going to be closer than last year?
TB: Yeah. We won every game in the division last year so it couldn't be anything but closer. [Those teams will] make the improvements that they're trying to make and that's what's going to make for a competitive division. We always have a very tough division. Even though we went undefeated [n the division] last year, those games were tight. The second Jet game was very tight. All those teams have made improvements. Every team is trying to make improvements. We're trying to make improvements.
Q: How is the ankle and were you able to participate in the off season program as much as you have in the past?
TB: The ankle feels great. Yeah. It feels really good. I've been able to do pretty much everything. I'm still slow. I still can't jump. I still don't lift very much. That hasn't changed.
Q: You're going to be 31 in August. Do you still have the same passion? Do you still get as excited to get out here and meet the new guys and connect with the old guys?
TB: Sure. Sure. I think all of us do. It's a lot of fun to play, and I think all of us are fortunate to be able to physically play and mentally deal with all the things you need to deal with as an athlete. I think we all realize that we're way overpaid. It's fun for everyone to come out here and to play. I'm always excited to be out here. This is what I love to do.
Q: Can you talk about Marcus Pollard as another veteran target, what he might be for you?
TB: Marcus has done a great job coming in here and learning what we do. He's been to a couple of different offenses but he seems like he's picked this one up pretty quickly. Veterans come along and they have their way of doing things and I think Marcus has been in some complex offenses. Just in the last few days he's really taken to this offense and he's made a bunch of plays in these camps.
Q: Do you sit down in the off season and think about what you accomplished last year?
TB: I think you try to take from the good things and you learn from the things you didn't do so well. In a lot of games we won, we didn't play as well as we're capable of playing. In a lot of cases, we did play like we were trying to. The more consistent you can play well the more games you're going to win. No team has gone undefeated in the regular season I think [other] than two teams. Are we trying to duplicate that? It's a new team. We're trying to get through training camp first. That's the first goal for us. See what we can build on throughout the preseason. We have a long way to go.
Q: Did you bump into any friends on the Giants and talk to them about the game? Congratulate them?
TB: I saw Eli [Manning] a couple of times. Of course you congratulate them. To win a Super Bowl is a great accomplishment. There's only one team that gets to do it each year. We've been fortunate to do it a couple of times. It's an exciting feeling. There are a lot of things that come along with it. You just hope you get to enjoy it when you go through it. I hope we can go through it again at some point.
Q: How neat has it been taking in the Celtics games and living through them vicariously in their run to the championship?
TB: They're fun to watch. I think it's been fun to watch. It's been fun to watch the city really rally around the team. They went from not a very good team two years ago to the best team in the league this year, so it's a great start. There are a lot of guys [on the Patriots] who have played basketball, so a lot of guys follow them pretty closely.
Q: You don't have basketball on your resume do you?
TB: Oh yeah. I played in high school.
Q: What position?
TB: I was a ball hog. I was ball hogging forward who couldn't jump. I was a big 2. I didn't pass much.
Q: Do you go into this year thinking that business is unfinished somewhat?
TB: Like I said, I don't think it's really a carry over this year. There's a lot of time from February to when we start in July. A lot of things that happen. A lot of players come and a lot of players go. We have to worry about how to get all the new guys incorporated. This team is going to take on an entire different appearance. I hope what we put out there in the field is up to the championship level that we've put up in the past.
Q: This is the first time in a while that a third or fourth round pick at quarterback has come in. What are your impressions of Kevin O'Connell?
TB: He's done a great job. He's a nice kid. He's a California kid, so naturally I like him. We have four [California quarterbacks] now. He works hard. I think that's important for all quarterbacks here. He's got some leadership ability. Physically, obviously, he's very gifted. I know all the coaches like him. I'm just getting to know him. He'll have to find a role on this team.