Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addresses the media in his locker room press conference, on Wednesday, January 12, 2011.
Q: Any problems driving in today?
TB: It was kind of crazy driving in today. I think everyone made it safe and sound. So hopefully everyone else did, too.
Q: Everyone was in on time today?
TB: Yeah, that's a first. But it was tough conditions for everyone. I'm sure you guys experienced the same thing. But everyone's here, ready to work and get ready for the biggest game of the year?
Q: Antonio Cromartie called you an [expletive]...
TB: Oh yeah? I've been called worse. I'm sure there's a long list of people who feel that way. But, he's a good player. [Darrelle] Revis is a great player. They have a great secondary and they are the one of the best defenses we face. We're going to spend a lot of time preparing for them...what they're doing over there, the way they shut down the Colts offense is pretty impressive because we know how good that offense is. We're just going to get ready to play.
Q: How are you different as a quarterback now than when you came into the league?
TB: I've been here for a while, so I've seen our offense evolve. We do some different things now than we've done in the past. Ultimately we're still trying to do the same thing, which is be productive and win games.
Q: And how are you different personally?
TB: I'm most concerned about what our offense does and I'm a part of this offense and what we do is dependent on the players that we have, whether that's quarterback or the other positions. We're trying to do certain things this week to get open against this defense. Our things change from week to week, so what we did seven or eight years ago is certainly going to be different than what we're doing this week?
Q: Do you have a different perspective or outlook or anything like that?
TB: My outlook has always kind of been the same: to be the best quarterback that I can be for this team, whatever role coach asks me to be.
Q: Do you do taunt opponents the way the Jets say you do?
TB: I'm an emotional player, so it's all in the spirit of the game and competition. I don't know. They would probably be able to answer that a little better than I would.
Q: Is it more fun when you're facing a team where there is general dislike?
TB: Is it more fun? It's...
Q: Is it more satisfying to win?
TB: It's always more satisfying to win, especially games like this. Not that you need any more satisfaction to win a game like this because it's the biggest game we've played all season. I'm always satisfied when we win. I think there are certainly big games that we've had against them. The last game at home was a very big game and that was very satisfying, so this one would be satisfying also if we win.
Q: How do you look at everything the Jets are saying this week?
TB: We're spending our time getting ready to play. I don't think we're spending our time figuring out what we can do to combat what people say about us. Not everybody has great things to say about our team or organization or certain players and that's the way it's always been. We're just going to do our talking on the field. I think that's what we've always chosen to do.
Q: Can what another team says have any affect on what goes on here at all?
TB: I don't know. We'll see. We'll see on Sunday night at 7:30. That's when everybody will be able to tell whether it played a role or not.
Q: Who does the 45-3 game help more going into this week?
TB: Well, I don't think it helps anyone. I think what helps the most is what we're going to do this game. Anything we did in the last game will not have any effect on this game. I think they're going to certainly try to do some different things. We're going to do some different things. You can't go into the next game thinking, 'We're going to do everything we've done.' We're going to do a bunch of new things, things they haven't seen that we're working on and we're going to try to do them well. That's what we try to do every week.
Q: Deion Branch said you are more of a leader now than before. When did you decide that it was necessary to become more of a leader?
TB: I don't know. I think I've always kind of been the same. Naturally, as you get older, you have more of a vocal role on the team. As I've been elected as a captain, I have more of a voice for the team, which I really take seriously. It's certainly an honor when your teammates elect you as a captain, as a representative to speak for the team in that role. I still love to compete and play and win. I'm sure Deion realized that before he left and when he was gone and when he came back. I see the same things in Deion, the things that make him a great player, he still has: his competitiveness, his determination. We have a whole team full of guys like that.
Q: He called you a dork.
TB: Deion did? Did he really?
Q: Yeah, in the study room, watching film. He said you were kind of a dork.
TB: Maybe, yeah. I could see that, you know? I'm flattered.
Q: Are you a bit of a dork when it comes to studying? Your studying came a bit into question earlier this week.
TB: I do what my coach asks me to do and however he feels I need to prepare, he will let me know. Look, we try to win games, you know? Look at what we've accomplished over 10 years and that speaks for the whole preparation of our team. That's why we play. We play to win games - more so than anything else. We're not trying to do anything other than win. The goal of playing football is to win, every time you take the field - score more points than the other team. However you need to get that done, that's what you need to do.
Q: Did you dread these questions about the talk back and forth with the Jets this morning?
TB: Well, we don't engage in it very often. Every once in a while, maybe someone will say something, but for the most part, our team has stayed the course and spent our time preparing for the other team. Like I said, we could sit here and say a whole bunch of things too, but I don't think it's the point of what this team is all about and what this organization is all about, all the way from the owner of our team to the head coach of our team and that trickles down to the players. Other teams may have a different view or perspective on how they want to handle things. When you're a representative like the Patriots team is, that's how we try to conduct ourselves.
Q: What did you see from the Jets defense against the Colts?
TB: They're very much the same defense that they've been over the last few years. They do a lot of things very well. They can pressure the quarterback. It's a big blitz team. They've got great man coverage corners. It's a very disciplined group of players. It's a veteran group of players. They're very tough and physical. They play well on the road. They play well in cold weather like they did against Cincinnati last year. It's a good defense. They're the Jets; they always seem to have a pretty good defense.
Q: Can you talk about your offensive line? How much trust do you have in them, specifically Dan Koppen?
TB: They've been around for a while, so we have so much familiarity between us. They're a great group of guys. They work extremely hard. Anytime you have the cohesiveness that they've had over the years, it makes for a great group. It's about communication and trust with that group. When you make a certain call, you have to know that the guy is there for you, if you pass on a line stunt, for example. The longer you play together, typically the better you get. I think those guys work very hard. They're coached very hard. Dante Scharnecchia is a hell of an offensive line coach. We put a lot of stuff on our offensive line. They get out blocking on screens and then to block pass rushers. You need to be athletic; you have to be strong. You've got be able to understand the protection screens that we come up with, and things change pretty quickly at the line of scrimmage and they all do a great job with that.
Q: The last time you played the Jets, you said you were comfortable in the week leading up to the game and that you had studied and seen enough on film. Do you feel that same way this time around?
TB: Well, I think the point is that the more you see a team play, the more you can see the themes that over the course of a season, that really play out. When it's the first week of the year, the second week of the year, the third week of the year, you haven't seen a lot of film and it's really hard to know what a defense's strengths or weaknesses may be. At this point in the year, after a team's played 17 games, you have a pretty good feel for the things that have worked or haven't worked. Then we devise a game plan based on the things we do well to try and exploit some of those things. Now, whether it works or not, that's why we play. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. Hopefully it works more times than it doesn't this week. You never know until you go out there and kind of put it to the test.
Q: What does it say about Coach Belichick that he said that he'd take all the bullets when it came to the back and forth between you and the Jets this week so as to not veer any of you off course? What does it say about him and are you guys all on board?
TB: We just do what works for us. It may not work for other teams. They have a great group of players that prepare a certain way and it obviously works for them. I know that when you walk into this locker room, there's a certain example that's set, like I said, by Mr. Kraft and Jonathan [Kraft] and by Coach Belichick that the players understand, and when we're part of this organization, we try to adhere to the way that they want us to conduct ourselves. So, we try to do things a certain way.
Q: How important has the running game been to your success this year?
TB: I mean, the running game is hugely important to our success as an offense, what we're trying to accomplish...
Q: What has it allowed you to do this year?
TB: It's been huge. It allows us to play-action pass and get some guys open in the secondary because they've got to commit more guys to stopping the run. We have a 1,000-yard rusher and Danny Woodhead's been a great running back for us. Fred [Taylor] and Sammy [Morris] have done a great job in their role. All those backs take their job very seriously. I think it's very important that we continue to stay balanced. I've been preaching that all year. You become a good offense by running the ball, by play-action pass, by screening, by drawing, by trapping, by running all different kinds of route combinations - empty formation - all these different things that you come up with as an offense, hopefully they create some indecision with what the defense is trying to do. The running game is the most important thing to all of that.
Q: Your record for no interceptions in a consecutive amount of pass attempts is pretty remarkable. Do you ever stop and think to yourself, 'Hey, that's not bad?'
TB: Well, I'm not trying to throw them. I get done with the game and I look at the film and I figure out ways that I can do a better job. Certainly interceptions are one thing that you always try to eliminate as a quarterback and something that really bothers me over the course of the next week. So, I'm not trying to throw it to the other team. They may get their hands on some and if they do, we have to overcome that. I think that's the important thing to realize: not everything is going to go right in a game like this. Because you're playing such a high caliber opponent, you have to overcome mistakes and overcome things that may come up in a game that, really, you don't want to happen or you don't plan for it to happen.
Q: The Jets said that they know what they did wrong last game: they didn't funnel you to the middle of the field, and if they do that this time, they'll be successful. Do you have any idea what he's talking about? Do you try and stay outside the hashes against this team?
TB: I don't know. We'll have to wait and see. We try to exploit all areas of the field: short, middle, long, inside, outside. I think we're always trying to space our routes. They're going to try and take away some of things that we do well and we're going to try and stop some of the things that they do well. I don't think we ever go into a game saying, 'Alright, this is the only place where I'm trying to throw the ball.' We're trying to throw the ball everywhere, to every guy. Wherever the matchup is, that's where you throw the ball to. Wherever it's most open. If they're covering inside, you throw outside. If they're covering outside, you throw inside. If he wants to cover us inside, as a quarterback, you throw outside. That's part of playing quarterback.
Q: They were talking game plan today. They were talking about wanting to get more pressure on you. Are you surprised that they were talking schematically out in the open?
TB: Sure, I'm sure they want to get pressure on me. I'm sure they're not going, 'Let's just let him sit back there for seven seconds and throw the ball.' Every team wants to get pressure. Our defense is going to try and get pressure on [Mark] Sanchez, too. Every quarterback, you try to get up in their face and make them make decisions before you want to make them. Like I said, they're going to have the things that they think they need to do to stop us - whether it's get up in our face or stop certain plays - whoever they stop, we'll try to find someone else to throw it to.
Q: What did you think of Brady Hoke when you were at Michigan?
TB: It was great. I played at Michigan when he was there. Hopefully we find a way to beat Ohio State. It's my biggest request for 2011. Go Blue.