Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, November 10, 2010.
Q: What were your impressions Monday night of the Steelers? I know you watch a lot of film, too...
TB: They're a tenacious defense. I think they've got a lot of real playmakers over there: James Harrison and what he's done [and Troy] Polamalu. They've got a lot of leaders on that defense. [James] Farrior has been there for a long time; we've competed against him. It's a tough place to play at Heinz Field, but we've got to go out there and start working on it today. We've got a lot of crowd noise out there. We're kind of ready to get back on the practice field - everybody is - after last week.
Q: Is last week totally gone and behind you when you get back out on the practice field?
TB: Yeah. It always is. I think we took quite a beating from our coach here the last couple days. [It was] well deserved and we need to start playing better, start playing more the way that we need to in order to execute better. You go into every game thinking these [things] are what we need to do to win, and it's frustrating when you come out of the game and you don't do those things. And it's great when you come out of the game and you do do those things. It will be great to try to get back on track this week.
Q: Of the games you guys have played against the Steelers in the last few years, is there one that jumps out at you? A win or a loss?
TB: Well, we've had some great battles against them. The '04 championship game was a great game. That was as meaningful as they come. It was freezing cold weather. I think I have a lot of great memories because we won the game. Earlier that year we got our butt kicked in Pittsburgh. We got beat 31-nothing I think - something like that - and then had an opportunity to go back and redeem ourselves. It's been a great rivalry for us. They've got a lot of great players. They've got great coaching. They've been one of the most successful franchises for a long time, so we need to be at our best.
Q: You guys are both 6-2, and this could be one of the biggest games of the weekend. Is that the way it always is with these two teams?
TB: Sure. I think we've been winning for a long time; they've been winning for a long time. You win for reasons. I think we're extremely well coached; they're extremely well coached. We try to be tough and physical; they are certainly very tough and physical. They play smart. They make big plays. They don't give up big plays. They're good in the kicking game. All those things you need to be a good football team, the Steelers are and they have been. We've got to recognize their strengths and try to play to our strengths, and understand what they don't do as well - which there are very few of those things - and maybe try to capitalize on those.
Q: Speaking of the kicking game, can you talk about Stephen Gostkowski being out for the year and how much are you going to miss him?
TB: I didn't realize that. That's news to me. That's a bummer. He's been a hell of a player here and a great kicker. We've had a few guys put on IR this year that are really great, dependable players that have worked hard - Kevin [Faulk] and Ty Warren. He will be missed.
Q: How tough is it to account for Troy Polamalu as far as where he is and what he is going to do when you break the huddle?
TB: He can be anywhere, that's the thing. I don't know if it's necessarily where the coaches put him or where he goes. He kind of does things his own way. He goes where he thinks the ball is going to go. He's an extremely instinctive player. [He's] extremely athletic. He really gets to the ball fast. He flies all over the field. If I could be a defensive player, I'd want to play like him. But I can't because I'm slow. He's very fast.
Q: What about him compared to Ed Reed?
TB: They're different styles. I think they're different players. Polamalu is much more of a strong safety closer to the line of scrimmage. Ed is more of a post-safety. They are both incredibly skilled. If they were on the same team that would be real scary.
Q: Is there a blitz package that compares to what Dick LeBeau brings?
TB: No. They're very unique in their style. He's been this way for a long time. He's an incredible coach. Those guys are so disciplined in what they do. He was a great player as well. It's really unique for that to happen. He gets those guys lined up and they all play hard. It seems like no matter who they bring in, those guys play at an extremely high level. Joey Porter and Jason Gildon and then it transitions to Harrison and Lamarr Woodley and they just keep recycling guys. And all those guys end up being incredible players and the best guys in the league. Not only are they great players, but they're getting great coaching.
Q: Are you a little jealous of Polamalu's hair?
TB: No, he's been growing his for a long time. That would be something to aspire to, wouldn't it?
Q: Harrison has obviously been fined a couple times for his hits. The NFLPA has said maybe they should have some say in how people are punished. What do you think? Should players have a say in how this in enforced?
TB: I don't know. You know, that's something that I know our union is talking about. We certainly don't make the rules and we never had made the rules as players. We've just got to play by them. If those rules get changed...it's not a democracy, if that's what you're asking. They just kind of tell us what it is and that's what we have to do.
Q: I know it's a union issue, but personally what do you think?
TB: In those sorts of things, I never have to deal with any of those things. There's no tribal council that they can take it to either. One man makes the decisions and he's proven to be pretty good at that.
Q: What has made the no-huddle so effective for you guys?
TB: It's been something that we've been decent at. We certainly haven't been great at it; we're still working. We've got a lot of different guys out there trying to do the right thing and we're all trying to communicate and be on the same page. I always love being in no-huddle because you can really get a good tempo going as an offense. You can really start getting a feel for the defense, the speed of what they're doing. Ultimately it comes down to execution. I'd love to execute better in no-huddle, huddle, whatever we do - we have to execute better.
Q: When you guys go into no-huddle do you still get the plays from whoever in the helmet, or do they give you a few plays ahead of time? You guys do it at such a fast tempo, how do you get the plays that fast?
TB: yeah, you know, we get calls from the sideline and then you've got to get everybody lined up and get the play going. We try to go fast. You try to keep the defense off balance. We try to keep the tempo good and if you see something, you try to take advantage of it. It's been something that we've been doing and we've been somewhat successful at it. I'd love for us to be more successful at it. We keep working on it.
Q: In terms of bouncing back, what can you say to a young guy like Rob Gronkowski who had a tough game last week?
TB: Rob is a tremendous player. What he's done as a rookie - he and Aaron [Hernandez] at that position, they've added so much to what we're doing as an offense. And everybody has games like that. We all do. I've thrown four interception before and you feel like the eight of the world...'God, I lost the game all by myself.' And he certainly didn't do that. There were a lot of plays that I could have done a better job of, [that] all of us need to do a better job of. Football is very important to Rob and it's not that he's not working hard. It's just that sometimes things happen out there. I mean, you don't have 10 minutes to make a decision out there. These things happen quick. When it doesn't go well, you keep hearing about it over and over and over and sometimes you get down on yourself a little bit, but you also have to understand that it's part of playing competitive sports. You'd love to do it right every time, but no one in the history of sports has done it right every time. You just have to try to do it better and more consistently and we're all trying to do that.