New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, October 7, 2009.
Q: I know the self-scouting process is a year-round thing. But now that you're a quarter of the way done with the regular season, can you look back and kind of give your own assessment as to where you and this team are?
TB: Well, it's a long season for us. We've only played four games, so it's really early still. We're trying to make some improvements. Obviously, we wish that we would be 4-0, but we're not. We've played some good teams, some good defenses that have really challenged us in some different ways. This week will be a big test for us, [and] another very talented defense, a very well-rounded team, a well-coached team. We've got our work cut out for us.
Q: What do you think about Josh McDaniels and the success that he's had?
TB: It doesn't surprise me at all. From being around him for as long as I had, and being in as many meetings, I know he's always so well-prepared and so diligent. He's got so much composure. He loves coaching, and I think he's always really dreamed of being a head coach. [Denver] is a great organization and they obviously really believe in him. It will be a fun week for us. It'll be a little strange seeing him on the other sideline, but I guess we're kind of used to that around here.
Q: [On how McDaniels dealt with offseason challenges in Denver]
TB: I don't know all the details of the situation. It seems that ... They're doing great, so I think that speaks for itself. Josh is a very high character person and he has the respect of his team - you can tell by the way that they play. It's a tough environment to play in; in Denver, we always have some tough battles there at Mile High, and I'm sure this week will be no different.
Q: In your relationship with Josh McDaniels, was there ever a moment where you realized that he really had a handle on the offense?
TB: Yeah. When was the Quarterbacks Coach, in his first year of 2004, you could really tell he really understood. He had studied under the defense for awhile, and I think he really brought that over to the offense. He said, 'All right guys, well, this is how they're trying to stop us, so here's how we're going to beat it.' Obviously, when you can do that and you learn under Coach [Bill] Belichick, then as an offensive coach, you can bring so much information to their formations, what they're going to do, how they're going to play certain looks that we're giving them. Then, you try to take advantage of those looks. He was really great at that, he's still really great at that. It just evolved. I think over time you keep indentifying what you do well, and what you don't do so well. [When] you get to the things that you are doing well, that's where - after a few years - you really see where the improvements start to be made.
Q: With Bill O'Brien, the new quarterbacks coach that you're working with, obviously it takes some time to get used to. What's that been like?
TB: Sure, that's a process, too. It's learning a different personality and a person who coaches a different way, who's their own person. They're not Josh, they're not Coach Belichick. Billy [O'Brien] is really his own man, and he's done a great job. He's really got the respect of the players. Billy means business. There's not a lot of horseplay out there, you're out there to get a job done. I'm really enjoying it and I think all the players really enjoy having him, too.
Q: [On Denver's defense]
TB: Well, they've got a lot of good players. They have 30 new players on their team this year I guess. You see that secondary with [Andre']Goodman, and Reynaldo Hill, and Champ [Bailey], and [Brian] Dawkins; those are talented players. [Elvis] Dumervil's got eight sacks. They rush the passer. D.J. Williams has been there, and he's been as productive of a linebacker as there is. I think up and down that defense, they have very complimentary players; they cover, they're very athletic, they do a lot of things with their front. You're not going to get comfortable out there as an offense out there. They have a great defensive coordinator in Mike Nolan, who we've played against several times [and] who always presents his own wrinkles as a coordinator. There's enough change in scheme each week to keep you off-balance and the players are really opportunistic within that defense, and they do a great job.
Q: Do you anticipate challenging Champ Bailey as much as Tony Romo did last week?
TB: Well, I hope not. I was watching that [game] and I think there's a reason why Champ's been to eight Pro Bowls. He makes those plays, he's made them against us. He made them in the playoff game a few years ago, when Ben [Watson] had to go run him down. But he takes advantage of any mistakes by the offense. [On] a bad route, or a bad throw, he's going to make the interception; he's not going to knock it away, he's going to intercept the ball. He's one of the very best in the history of the league at playing cornerback. He plays well against all styles of receivers, too. It's not like you go in there saying, 'let's figure out if Champ can beat us,' because he usually can.
Q: Looking back to last week's game, it looked like a chess match between you and Ed Reed, constantly making adjustments at the line of scrimmage. Do you sometimes say to yourself after that and think that was fun?
TB: Yeah, anytime you play a defense like that, with players like Ray [Lewis], or Ed [Reed], they're so good at what they do, you can't ever be sloppy with guys like that. You can't say that about a lot of the defenses you face. Some guys you can do things that aren't fundamentally sound and still get away with that; not with those guys, obviously not with this Denver defense, or a guy like Champ Bailey. It's similar in style, you can't lose track for one play; if you do, it kills a drive, or it ends a game, like it did for the Cowboys. You have to do everything right. You have to do everything well. Everybody has to be on the same page, in order to move the ball. Obviously, in order to move the ball and score points, you have to move the ball down to the red zone - and with them giving up seven points a game, that's pretty unbelievable.
Q: Is the offensive play-caller to quarterback relationship, some people have equated it to the quarterback-receiver relationship in that you have to build timing, trust and rhythm.
TB: Not really. [With] the receiver, it just takes work, it just takes time. You've got to go do the work. You've got to go to the field and you've got to throw the routes. You've got to make the mistakes. You can get a lot of stuff done with your coach in the meeting room, but at the end of the day, when you leave that meeting room, you have to go out on the field and execute. That's where you don't have two minutes to make the decision, you have a tenth of a second. That's how you learn as an offense, as a team. That's how everyone does get on the same page because those situations come up, and you have to learn to make the right decisions. It takes a lot of time.
Q: There has been a lot of attention paid lately to "The Tom Brady Rule". How do you feel about people calling that "The Brady Rule"?
TB: Well, "The Tuck Rule" was kind of associated with that too. I just hope things are going for us. I'm sure all of the Jets fans love it. Rodney [Harrison] obviously does. Whatever they call it, they call it. We don't make the rules, we just play by them, and I think we were on the fortunate end of a few of them this week. Other times, we haven't been. Like I've said, in the end, they probably all even out.
Q: Did Rodney Harrison tell you he was going to say what he did on national television?
TB: He sent me a message. I wasn't watching, and I don't know what the hell he was talking about. I just ignored it. Then, I got a bunch of text messages from friends saying, 'What did Rodney say?' You know Rodney. Some things never change.
Q: So no hard feelings?
TB: No, never. Not with Rodney.
Q: Do you still feel the need when something comes near your knees to point that out to officials?
TB: I want the penalty call. I want 15 yards. I don't care whether they hit me or not, that's an advantage for our offense. I think you just want to make sure the refs ... I go hug the ref before the game, ask about his kids and stuff like that. I'm trying to get him on our side.
Q: What have you learned about these games - whether it's against Bill Parcells, or Eric Mangini - when somebody on the other sideline knows a lot about you?
TB: I think there are definitely changes you have to make. We made a bunch with Eric. We made a bunch, even going into the Jets game this year with Kevin [O'Connell] being over there. Obviously, with Josh, he knows it better than anybody. And we know them. I think in the end it comes down to how you execute, it really does. They may have information, we have information. When you're out there, what you see is what you see, and that's what you've got to react to no matter what they say in the meeting before the game. You can't go, 'Well, coach you told me two hours ago that was going to happen if they lined up in this and he ran by me for an 80-yard touchdown,' and you're blaming the coach. Well, you've got to go play it. I think that as a player, that's your responsibility. You take the information; you gather it from a lot of different sources. Then, you've got to go out and you've got to make the plays. All of those things can help you anticipate, and then, when you do see it, you really hit it. But in the end, if it's not what you thought it was, you still have to be able to react to it.
Q: It can almost be to your advantage, where you line up in one way and they think you're going to run this and then you flip it ...
TB: Yeah, but then Josh goes, 'OK, they're going to flip it," because they know that we're going to know. I think part of it, that's what you do, you try to set them up and then you try to do things that you did not. They're doing things they haven't done. That's what offensive football is all about. You don't want to have all of these huge tendencies as an offense, where on first down we throw it 100 percent of the time. Part of it is those tendencies, you have to change those tendencies. You have to try to keep things balanced. The last few weeks, we've been half pass, half run. In the shotgun, you need to run it, in the play-action. There are a lot of things they have to do so they really can't key on things.
Q: How do you feel the offense is going through four games? Do you feel there's a progression each week?
TB: Well, there are obviously things that we've done well, there are things we need to do better. I wish I could say that we're right where we need to be; we're not, and I don't think any team really is right now. If you're peaking right now in Week Four, then you probably don't have very high expectations for yourself. We've got a lot of football and I think each guy is trying to find ways to make improvements for themselves. It's a different team, and I think there are different roles for players. We've had quite a few new players that we've added. Everyone is just trying to get to know each other. I think after the Jets game, that it's been better, hopefully, it continues to improve.
Q: LeBron James was on "Entourage" on Sunday night. Did he call you for advice? Have you seen it and how do you think he did?
TB: No. I did see it. It was a great show. But he does fine. He does a lot of those ESPN "SportsCenter" commercials and the Nike commercials, so he's got it down. I should be calling him and asking him for advice.