Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium, on Thursday, December 2, 2010.
TB: How are you? We have a few more people than usual.
Q: How do you feel the Patriots are a different team now from Week 2?
TB: How are we a different team from Week 2? Well, we've got a lot of new players. Obviously with the addition of Danny [Woodhead], who's been a big impact on offense and Deion [Branch], who's been a big impact on offense. Everyone else is the same, but I don't know. Hopefully we play better than we did in Week 2. I think that's what we're all trying to accomplish this week. I don't think we played very good. We need to play a lot better this week to be a team that is really playing great football and has really proven that we can win in a lot of different ways. We like to think of ourselves as very tough, physical, smart, resilient, and that's what they are, too. So as much as it pains me to say, that's kind of what it's been with the Jets this year.
Q: Have you guys discussed what the ramifications this particular week with a win versus a loss?
TB: Well, it's a game. It's a regular-season game against a division opponent that's 9-2, and I think we treat it just like that. This is not the Super Bowl. There are games after this game that are very important as well. This game, for what we're trying to accomplish and winning the division - which is always our first goal of this team - it's a big game. You can't expect to win the division and lose to the same team twice. We have to really go out and execute at a much higher level than we did the first time we played them because they don't leave much room for error, this team. And they've shown that they take advantage of mistakes, offensively and defensively. They can score quick. They can score of defense. They've got some really dynamic players on defense. I think it's been good having the extra few days to prepare. I think we've all used it well. We've just got to have a good few days of practice here leading up to the game.
Q: The Jets have done a good job forcing turnovers and, besides Week 2, you've done a good job protecting the ball. What did they do in that game to force some turnovers that other teams haven't been able to do?
TB: Well, turnovers are always an important part of the game. They're scoring opportunities. That particular game, I don't know how many we had - I know I had two interceptions - so that was not something I slept very well over for a long time. But, they made some good plays in that game. I think that's what they showed. Antonio Cromartie is really a ball hawk. He's got great hands and ball skills, great awareness. Darrelle Revis is really an incredible corner; he's really a dynamic player for them, too. Oh, and Jason Taylor strip-sacked me - that'd be the other one - so, I guess I was responsible for all of them. He's been doing that for a long time, too. I think they put a lot of pressure on you with their scheme. Their blitzing scheme is a very heavy blitz team on all downs and distances. They create a lot of different ways to cause confusion with the quarterback and with the offense. They make it tough on you - you've got to get the ball into tight spots. They're covering guys pretty tightly, so we have to do a good job getting open and delivering the ball. And in the run game, we've got to run the ball. We have to do a good job running the ball.
Q: Do you ever hear anything creative from Jets fans when you're walking the streets of New York? How long did it take for you to buy into the rivalry?
TB: I bought into pretty quick. My first summer here was Red Sox-Yankees. That's the way it's always been around here. So you get acclimated to it pretty quickly being here in Boston, and the rivalry has really taken shape. It really started with baseball. But Jets-Patriots, there were so many players that were former Jets that had come to play as Patriots. Obviously, Coach Belichick and Bill Parcels, [but, also] a lot of different players that we picked up whether it was Bryan Cox, Roman Phifer, or Anthony Pleasant, Otis Smith or Rick Lyle - all these guys that came to be Patriots has really kind of stoked the rivalry as well. It's been a fun rivalry; they're a great team. They've really been playing great football this season.
Q: You have said that you hate the Jets; do you still feel that way?
TB: Do I still hate them? Well, I promised Coach Belichick that I wouldn't say anything derogatory, so, I have no comment.
Q: How much does Darrelle Revis impact you on your reads?
TB: Quite a bit. I don't think you look going into a game thinking, 'Man, I can't wait to start throwing the football at this guy.' There're definitely passes that have been completed on him this year. I've watched a lot of games where guys are getting open, but he makes just as many of those. You really don't want to come out of a game thinking, 'Yeah, we went after him 18 times and we had nine completions.' And really, that's what they've been doing to quarterbacks this year. Quarterbacks have been throwing at a 50-percent rate and you can't be a very effective passing team throwing at that low of a percentage because you won't be able to sustain drives. When they opportunity is there, we have to be able to try and take advantage of it and make throws and run good routes on a guy like that, but he covers guys pretty well - as well as anybody in the NFL. He and Cromartie are two of the best in the league, and to have them both on the same team playing in the same scheme where their coach really allows them to do what they do best is something I'm sure they really enjoy as well.
Q: Rex Ryan said that he isn't going to be passive with you. What do you see from Rex or how is his defense against you different than other teams?
TB: Well, they've always done that. I don't think that's anything that we don't expect. When you look at their blitz percentages, they blitz about half the time. On third down, they blitz about three quarters of the time. They're blitzing a lot and that's really a trademark of the defense: to try and find different ways to get after the quarterback. That runs in the family. Rex said the same thing and I know, talking to Coach Belichick, [Rex's] dad was the same way. If you could hit the quarterback, who cares about the coverage? But, with this team, they cover you well, too. They hit the quarterback and they cover. I think that's what makes them so unique.
Q: Have you gone back and watched film of Rob Ryan and the Browns? Are they similar?
TB: No, they're a bit different than that scheme. They may have some of the same calls or some of the same philosophies, but it's a very different defense in terms of what they're running. [It's] probably based on how Rex feels those guys can cover, which, they cover pretty well.
Q: This is the eighth of 12 times that you are playing a three-four defense. Do you have more of a familiarity with it now?
TB: Yeah, I would say that, yeah, they're a three-four defense in the depth chart and the media guide, but the snaps of regular defense that we get against them are four, five snaps a game. They really don't line up in a three-four very often. I'd say 90 percent of the game, they're in a four-down front - it could be an odd front, but with multiple defensive backs in the game. They do everything. I think preparing for that in training camp, with our defense, who does quite a bit of it as well, we're probably much more of a traditional three-four team than I would say the Jets. We played a lot of three-four teams this year and all those games that we have played this year have prepared us for this game. This team presents some very different challenges than Cleveland or Pittsburgh. They definitely have their own style. One that we didn't handle very well the first time we played them.
Q: Is their creativity part of the problem because you aren't sure what they are preparing?
TB: Sure, they are a game-plan team. What they see and what they think they need to stop on defense, that can really change every week. So stuff that you saw them do against Houston or whatever they felt the threats in Houston were, or Cincinnati, you've got to really evaluate what they think your threats are going to be - how they chose to cover those guys and how they're going to choose to rush based on our protection schemes. So, there is carry over from week-to-week. I wouldn't say a lot of carry over. I think he's got a pretty extensive playbook. He's got a lot of different calls. All of them are based around rushes and getting to the quarterback and I think it provides him with a lot of flexibility when he has the type of cover players that he has because, okay, yeah, one-on-one matchup is fine - if you've got Darrelle Revis on anybody and Cromartie on anybody. With the other nine guys, five can rush and who knows which five it will be. Sometimes it's six guys that are rushing and other guys have to cover. They change it up pretty good.
Q: You've had a lot of success with the spread with four wide because it seems to force them to declare who's coming. Is that one of your favorite formations - the shotgun with four wide receivers?
TB: We go into a game always doing different things, too. There are plays where we spread everybody out. There are plays where we pack it all in, all with different reasons for why we're doing those. Really that shows itself after the game, but all the other stuff that we are working on in practice this week is hopefully stuff that will give them problems. We go through all the studying and coach gave us practice off yesterday, but we had a lot of time to meet yesterday and go through a lot of games that they've played and really get a good feel for their scheme and what they're doing. I certainly feel like I have a very good idea of what we're going to see and things that worked for them, things that haven't worked for them and things that have worked against other teams, I think we've got to prepare for all that. I think that playing them on 11 days [between games] has certainly been a huge benefit for me.