Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addresses the media during his press conference, on Wednesday, January 5, 2011.
Q: Do you guys feel that you match up better against one of the three teams that you might play? Is there a better matchup for you guys?
TB: These teams are the best in the league. There is very little margin for error at this point, so I think this week we are trying to make improvements, improve some things that we haven't done very well over the course of the season. Hopefully those will help us next week with whoever we may play, but I don't think we have a pool in there or anything like that of who we want to play or anything. I think whoever it is, is going to be a damn good team and we are going to have to go out there and play our best game of the year to beat them. I think that's really what we're focused on.
Q: When you guys spend this week self-scouting and fixing things that may not be working as you like, from the outside looking in, you have 36 touchdowns and 4 picks. There doesn't seem like there is much to improve. In reality, what is it that you're doing?
TB: Well, there certainly is a lot to fix. I don't want to sit here and tell you all of the things that we're working on but there are plenty of things that we need to figure out - ways to do things better. Certain guys haven't been out there in a few weeks so, a guy like Aaron [Hernandez] and Deion [Branch] - hopefully they can get out there to practice and make some improvements. Like I said, there are teams that are practicing today and that do have games this weekend and the team that we play is going to win a playoff game this weekend and they are going to have made improvements and I sure hope we can make improvements, too. So, that's what we are focusing on.
Q: When you guys lost Kevin Faulk were you worried about what would happen and how have you compensated for that?
TB: Certainly. Any time you lose a dependable, consistent player like Kevin who has performed so well under pressure over the years - there was nobody really on the roster to fill that void. To get [Danny Woodhead] the next week, who has really stepped in and done a great job of running, catching, blitz pickup....You know, he is a smart player, he has really filled that role pretty well. We are very fortunate to have a guy like Woody step in like he has done. That's certainly a great credit to him coming from the Jets and the different offense and different system and then the things we've asked him to do here. He has done a great job.
Q: Has this been one of the better seasons you have been around for with guys like Danny Woodhead and others stepping up?
TB: Like I said, that's a credit to those guys. It's a credit to the coaches who have gotten those guys up to speed and those guys taking the coaching and understanding what it takes to be successful here. It's not an easy program to step into. I think there is quite a bit that goes into each offensive and defensive scheme. I have been in the same system for a long time and I make mistakes. It's those guys that are coming in right off the street and stepping in and filling big roles for us in big situations and big games. It has been pretty impressive for us.
Q: How much have you had to do to make sure guys are on the same page? What do you do?
TB: Well, I mean we spend a lot of time communicating different things that may come up or different things that have come up. It's a constant process, watching a bunch of film this morning on things that we have done over the last 16 weeks and saying, 'You know, this was a good way and this was not so good of a way. This is the spacing we need; this spacing doesn't work. This is the timing we need.' Hopefully as those things come up, it's probably good to make some of those mistakes in practice rather than always learning them in the games, but you take the learning when it comes. But it's a constant process; it happens in the meetings, happens in the walkthroughs and happens in the games. Everyone is trying to make improvements.
Q: What does it say about the personnel department when you get a guy like Woodhead or BenJarvus Green-Ellis - undrafted guys who are having an impact. When they show up in the locker room or the huddle do you say, 'I know this guy is going to be capable of what he does'?
TB: Yeah. We as players, whoever they bring in, we know he's going to be able to play and [he's] going to be able to handle what we're doing. If you can't handle it, you're going to be out of here pretty quick, so guys who stick around, they are here for a reason. I think they've earned the trust and respect of coach [Belichick], the scouting department and all the people within the organization that they are going to be able to do their job and do it effectively no matter what the situation is.
Q: W you guys traded Randy Moss, you said obviously it was going to hurt, but the offense had to adjust and you'd still have to go out there and play and everything. Now looking back, are you amazed how you guys have adjusted so quickly?
TB: I wouldn't use amazed, but I would say it was kind of what we were hoping would happen. Any time you lose a great player, other guys have to fill the void and not necessarily with the same skill set that Randy had, but the skill set of the players that are here. We are continuing to try to do that now. We are trying to continue to find ways to be effective. You know, getting the football to the guys that are doing good things with it. Whether you lose Kevin [Faulk] over the course of the season or Randy, Lawrence Maroney, [Stephen] Neal, guys who are filling in say, 'Okay, what are my strengths? How am I going to play to those strengths? How can we still be effective with the defenses that we're facing?' That's part of the coaching that we're getting to figure out ways to still be effective.
Q: Will you watch the games this weekend to get a head start? How will you look at them?
TB: I'm not sure. I'm not sure. I don't think I will be scouting them or anything, but I will certainly be paying attention.