New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, October 14, 2009.
Q:[On consistency in the offense]
TB:Well, we've all got to play better. I think - as a whole - we've done it in spurts at times and at other times we haven't. When you play like that, there's a reason why you end up at 3-2 at this time, and we're trying to make these improvements. The team has worked hard and I think everybody's excited to get back on the practice field today.
Q:Have you been happy with the contributions that have come in the passing game from people not named Randy Moss or Wes Welker?
TB:Well, you're always trying to find ways to get the ball to your best players. When you're in there, you do try to get Randy [Moss] and Wes [Welker] the ball, and the other guys play the role that they have. They've been productive at times, I mean, Joey [Galloway] has, and Sam [Aiken] has, and Julian [Edelman] has, and they're good players. It's just about finding ways to get them the ball, when it's not going to those two other guys. You've got to get everybody involved. The more productive plays you have and [the more productive] players you have, the more the defense can't really focus on those two particular guys.
Q:As a golfer, you know that if you don't play a lot, the short game is the first thing to go and the last thing to get back. As a quarterback, when you don't play for a while, is the long pass the first thing to go and the last thing to get back?
TB:I'm not sure. I mean, you're right, we haven't hit them this year. Coach hammered into us today that we haven't had a pass over 40 yards yet this year in five games. It's something that I've got to do a better job of. There's only one way to do it and that's to go out there and work on it. You've got to hit them, that's why you play quarterback. You've got to go out and the complete the balls that are there when we have opportunities down the field; you don't get them often and - when you get them - you have to really take advantage of them.
Q:[On working on the long pass in practice]
TB:We hit them in practice ... In practice, everyone looks pretty good all the time. You drop the cards against the best look and the scout team is in the most favorable position for the offense. It's really a matter of how it comes down on game day and the level of execution. Like I said, I've got to do a better job of hitting those deep ones.
Q:On that pass to Wes Welker, it looked like he had a clear path to the end zone. How frustrating is that?
TB:I talked about that after the game. I kind of said everything I needed to say on that and I'm focused on Tennessee. We've got to hit the passes that are there against Tennessee. We've got to go out and play well. You can't miss opportunities against this team. It's a very tough game and to have opportunities out there that you don't make you don't give yourself a very good opportunity to win.
Q:Talk about what it means to have Junior Seau back.
TB:You know, I was in there lifting weights. I walked in at 6:45, and he was already in there in like a full sweat. He hasn't changed at all. He brings a lot of energy to the team and excitement. Attitude is everything with Junior. He's a great professional and he shows great leadership. And he's a playmaker. He's a guy that, there's only one of him. There's only one of him that's ever played and I'm glad he's back on the team.
Q:You've said that you'd like to play until you're around 40. If you could talk about Junior's physical skills and what it takes to play this game at that age.
TB:He looks great when you see him. He looks like he's 25. He works out really hard. He has incredible mental toughness, I think if there's one thing that I've learned from him over the years. I remember when he broke his arm a few years ago in the Chicago game. He ran off holding it. He got on a plane that night and went surfing like two days later. That's how he lives his life. He's just a very excitable player. Like I said, there's very few people that you can bring into the locker room at this stage that bring that type of leadership and experience that he has, and that can also still play very well, but he certainly can do that.
Q:Can you talk about your protection, potentially playing without Matt Light against this Tennessee defense?
TB:It's a great front. They really have ... The front seven is very aggressive. They're all up-field, they get to the quarterback. They really do a great job of attacking from different angles. When I watched the Colts game, the first half of that game, they were really getting after Peyton [Manning]. It seems like the four starters in there, but everybody they kind of roll through there that plays, they're all of kind of the same - they're not the same - but they're kind of the same guy. They just get after the passer. That's definitely something that you see consistently from that team. They've done that for a long time since Coach [Jeff] Fisher's been there; he's had really the same kind of defensive style and that's get up the field and get after the quarterback, force him into making quick throws and poor judgments. They had a lot of interceptions last year, which hopefully we'll try not to throw to them this week.
Q:How impressed were you with how Peyton Manning handled their defense last week? They have a lot of looks, but it seems like they mostly only came at you with four players.
TB:They blitz about 20 percent of the time, so you're right. It's not a ton. But there are teams that certainly blitz 50 percent of the time, like Denver did, the Jets did, Baltimore did. A lot of teams are heavy blitzers. It's just different philosophy, and what they do, they do very well. Peyton's always in control back there. He's a great player and he played a great game against them. That's what you need from the quarterback position because if you make mistakes, they really take advantage of the opportunities.
Q:Have you gotten to see the clip of Junior Seau and the bull?
TB:I think all of us have seen it at one point or another. Yeah, I saw that on YouTube. It's pretty funny. He was giving the whole lowdown on it this morning. He said, 'You just have to play dead and loosen your muscles. If you tighten up, that's when it really gets you.' He said it was the 28th bull of the day - no one knows that. He said, 'I really tried to get a little too close. I tried to go right, it went right. Then, I tried to get left.' You'll have to ask him about it, it's a pretty good story. He loves telling it, his face lights up. Hopefully, there are no running backs as big as those bulls - though Chris Johnson, he's as fast as anybody.
Q:Did Junior getting struck by the bull give him some insight into what it's like to be a quarterback?
TB:Yeah, when everyone's coming at you. It's probably pretty similar to those bulls. Junior's kind of crazy though, that's why he's in the bullring. Not many people would choose to do that, but Junior is one of them.
Q:In your experience, does it take time for each offense to sort of take on an identity at a certain point in the season? If so, what do you think would be this offense's identity?
TB:Well, free agency starts, the season starts in March. You sign new players and then you try to evaluate and self-scout from the previous season. Then, you go into the mini camps and passing camps with some new ideas and say, 'this is what we're going to do,' and 'this is where we need to get better.' And you try a lot of new things. You work on them through training camp, and into the preseason. And then the regular season, you're kind of forming what the team is going to be. You know, like I said, in some ways we've done some very positive things over the five weeks. In a lot of ways, it's been inconsistent, which reflects in the amount of points that we're scoring. If we could be more consistent, we'd be scoring more points, we'd be winning more games, and everyone would be feeling a lot better around here. But because that hasn't happened, we're still searching. It's not plays, it's execution. That's what it comes down to. We've got to out and execute better. We've got to go out on the practice field and execute better and continue to do whatever Coach [Bill] Belichick asks us to do.
Q:When you say that you're 'still searching,' does that mean that you're still looking for something to hang your hat on to say that's what you are?
TB:Well, it's finding different ways to produce on offense. Like I said, some weeks you try - [thinking] this a great way to do it - you put together what you're going to do, and you go out there, and some things work great and some things don't. It's bad execution and it doesn't look good when you don't complete the passes, even though it's a great play against the right defense, it doesn't end up working and being productive. You're just always searching for ways on offense and that's what defenses do. They find things that they do well and that's what you do. If you continue to do things poorly, then you don't give yourself much a chance. You find the things that you do well and you build on it. You understand the things you do poorly and then you try to improve on those things, so you don't make them as big a part of the plan.
Q:It seemed earlier in this decade, you were very efficient in running the ball, whether it was Corey Dillon, or Antowain Smith back there. The last couple of years, you've seemed to get away from that and you guys don't run as effectively now as you did back then.
TB:I think last year we were like third in the league in rushing, or something like that. We were a pretty good team in 2007, but we were more a passing team. Every year, the different skill positions that you have on the team, it changes. You play to your strengths. And we certainly have great running backs that have run it very well this year at times. It's just being balanced and playing complimentary between the run, and the pass, and the play-action pass. The better you can run the ball, the better a play-action pass works, or vice versa. The better drop-back pass you have, the better your draws, traps and screens are. They all feed off of one another, when any phase is really not in sync, then the other phase typically isn't in sync. Once you get them kind of working and rolling, then it all looks pretty good.
Q:Do you think other offenses are really buying into your running game right now the way they might have in the past?
TB:Like I said, if they're not, we're always going to try to stay balanced. If they think we're going to run it, or they don't think we're going to run it, we've got to run it at times anyway to be effective. On third and one, you're probably going to run the ball. If you're on the goal line, you're going to run it. When you're in a four-minute situation when you're protecting a lead, you're going to run it. You've got to run it when they know you're going to run it and you're going to have to run it against pass looks also. It's important. We've got some good backs. Getting them the ball with space - like in the Baltimore game - it wasn't a huge output, but you've got to run it enough to really stay balanced against those guys.
Q:Have you talked to Peyton Manning about recovering from his injury and how long it took him to get back to game speed?
TB:I haven't talked to him about it. I'm sure most of the situations are a little bit different. But it's just about going back to work. When you don't play as well as you'd like, there's really no secret to it. You just have to get out there and do it, and do it better, and be more focused, and be more concentrated. [You have to] go on the practice field with a sense of urgency. That's the way to overcome it. You've just got to say 'this is what it is,' and 'this is what we're not doing a very good job of,' and 'this is what I'm not doing a very good job of' and trying to do it better.
Q:[On playing with confidence]
TB:It's hugely important. For example, if you don't hit a pass, you can't loose your confidence and think I can't complete passes anymore. I think of it more like, 'Wow, the defense was pretty lucky there I didn't complete it.' The confidence that you bring as a quarterback, as a running back, as a wide receiver, to your teammates is what's very important. I'm always bringing that positive, confident attitude, no matter what's happening in the game, or what's been happening that week, or previous week. That's what makes good leaders. You've got to be the one to ultimately go out there and perform better. And everyone counts on me to perform at a certain level. I count on them to do their job. When you're not doing it, it's very frustrating, you really feel in a way that you're letting your teammates down. You also have to have the resiliency to go back out there and give it your best.
Q:Looking ahead to the London game, given your level of celebrity here, will it almost be a relief to be going somewhere where you're not known as well?
TB:That would be wonderful. That would be great. Yeah, I think it will be a great experience for us. The team's really looking forward to it. It's coming fast, the season's going by pretty quickly. I think there's two games before the bye week, and the second one being in London. It feels like we just started. It will be fun when we head over there. Hopefully, we head over there at 4-2.
Q:Are you going to do any sightseeing while you're in London?
TB:No, I think our coach will have us pretty well ... I think we'll be in the most remote area, there won't be anything within miles. We probably won't do a whole lot of that, not on this trip.
Q:I'm sure you're aware of David Beckham and his wife Victoria's notoriety over there. Do you feel your situation here kind of mirrors theirs in comparison in England?
TB:I'm aware of it. It's hard not to be aware of it. But I don't see much of a comparison, I really don't. He's older. He's got a lot more kids. He's a lot faster than me. But he's certainly a great player.
Q:Have you met him [Beckham]?
Q:What was that experience like? What did you think of him?
TB:He's a very nice guy. He loves playing soccer and he's very good at it. He obviously makes a big commitment in the work that he's done to travel as much as he has to play here and in Europe. You play at a very highly competitive level, I think that's what drives all of us. We want to be the best we can possibly be and to continue to find ways to challenge yourself. I think that's a big part of our lives.
Q:How would you feel if Rush Limbaugh bought the Patriots?
TB:Would I get a raise? There might be less taxes to pay. Yeah, who knows what will happen with that.
Q:Any thoughts on that whole situation?
TB:A lot of people have kind of been weighing in on that the last few days. I'm about ... No, I have no comment. Sorry guys, thank you.
Q:Have you been to England before?
TB:Yes, a couple of times.
Q:Have you ever been to Wembley Stadium?
Q:Do you know any English Premier League soccer teams?
TB:Yeah, I know them all. "Man U" [Manchester United], that's my team.