Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, September 22, 2010.
Q: (On the loss of Kevin Faulk)
TB: Yeah...very few guys over the years have played as well and consistently at such a high level as Kevin. He's been one part of this offense that's been so dependable for us, and reliable. There's nobody like him. He's such a unique person, a unique talent, a unique spirit about him. [Kevin] always provides great leadership, so it's a big loss for us. Knowing what he's going through, it's always a challenging time. Believe me, when you love football as much as Kevin does or you love the team as much as Kevin does, he takes it really to heart that he can't be out there with us. So, it's an unfortunate injury. We have to move forward, and other guys are going to have to step into those roles that I explained and really try to live up to what he was doing back there for us.
Q: How big of a security blanket was he for you personally in those critical situations on the field?
TB: Yeah, you could [depend on him], and that's a certain thing. As a quarterback, you're looking for the guys that you can trust. That's what Kevin has always done. When you call Kevin's number, he's open. He catches the ball. He makes a play. He makes a first down, or he gets the ball in the end zone in the most critical situations. So, that's something that takes a special kind of person to be up for that. Like I said, other people are going to have to fill in for that role and it may provide other opportunities for guys who have not been in that role to step in there and prove what they can do.
Q: Having gone through a similar knee injury, what advice would you have for him?
TB: Kevin will come back from it. He's come back from everything in his life. Kevin's a fighter. He's a warrior. It's just about hard work, that's all it is. Kev will do that.
Q: Can Faulk still lead the young players and be an influencer even though he is injured?
TB: Well, I think really it's for the position. The running back position has some veteran players. Kevin's going to be dealing with what Kevin has to deal with, truthfully. It's hard to really stay in the loop on a daily basis when you're not really participating in the meetings and so forth, or the practices. Kevin can be there, obviously, to offer insight, but obviously not in the same role he had been in.
Q: Have you thrown to Danny Woodhead at all yet?
TB: No, no. I saw him. I'm glad he's here. Hopefully, he can help.
Q: He's supposed to be a quick little guy...
TB: Yeah, he looks quick. He looks quick, so maybe he can do some things to help us out. I've never really seen him play, so hopefully he can [help the team].
Q: How important was Kevin Faulk as far as pass protection?
TB: Yeah, and Kevin was never a big guy, but he was very stout. He'd play with good leverage. There weren't many times where he got run over by a blitzing linebacker because he had great technique. He really worked at it over the years. He was a great pass protector, a great sub-run guy, great out of the backfield, always had different mismatches that you could rely on Kevin.
Q: Is your accuracy where you want it right now? It's hard to tell from the film on Sunday if you are trying to fit the ball into certain spots, or if you would like to have the throw back and try for a different spot.
TB: Yeah, I would like to throw [out] a couple plays, a couple balls. Definitely, I want to make those throws. Anytime it doesn't go where I want it to go, I'm evaluating why and sometimes the technique is good, and sometimes it's not so good. Typically, when it's not good, you're lucky when it goes where you want it to go. And if it doesn't go where you want it to go, then you have to make those improvements.
Q: What do you think the problem was on Sunday? Arm slot? Or did you just miss a couple throws?
TB: Um, yeah, I'd like to make all the throws, truthfully. I don't think I come out of too many games thinking, 'Wow, I put them all where I wanted to.' And that's the goal. You have to make the plays when they're there. If it's one throw that you miss and that ends up being the deciding play in the game, then you had a bad game as far as I'm concerned. You have to make the plays when they're there. You may not know during the game when that play's going to come up. But the reality is you have to make them all. Especially when you lose, you look back at each of those and you realize what critical throws in the game we need to make.
Q: Are you someone who evaluates your decisions as well?
TB: Of course, yeah.
Q: Looking at the Jets game, how many decisions would you have said, 'That's not the right one?'
TB: Oh man. Well, if they don't go for touchdowns, then they're not good decisions. That's what the design is. As a quarterback - before the game, you talk about coverages and you say, 'OK, if it's this coverage, this is where I'm going to throw the ball. If this is the matchup we get, this is where I'm going to throw the ball.' So then if you get the matchup, throw it, and it's not complete, the coach may say, 'Why didn't we throw the other side?' And you'll say, 'Because, we talked two hours before the game that this is where we want to throw.' But sometimes they make good plays on the ball. It's like a guy makes 10 jump shots in a row and then you miss one. Then it's like, 'Why didn't you make that?' It's just that they're working pretty hard to stop us. Execution in the passing game over the whole training camp - I feel like we've made a lot of improvements. But once again, it comes down to winning games. If there're one or two plays out there that stop a drive or limit us from scoring points, then those are certainly things that we need to do better on.
Q: Why have the Patriots been so successful against the Bills over the years?
TB: Yeah, we have [been successful]. Well, I think they've been in transition. They have a lot of good players. There's no doubt about that. They have guys that really play hard. We really had our hands full with them last year and they're playing really hard this year. Really, whatever happened in the past, it doesn't have much bearing on what's going to happen this week because they have different coaches, they have a different scheme. We've really never played this defensive coordinator before. So, I think as an offense, we're trying to - as we always do - figure out what they're doing and what they do well. Which, they do quite a few things well. They really played Miami really tough. The Green Bay game was really close until midway through the third quarter when Green Bay made some pretty spectacular plays. We expect a tough game as always. Hopefully we come out ahead.
Q: Why are you having problems in the second half? What do you have to do?
TB: Make [the problems] better. We have to play better. I think that's how we have to get them better and we have to perform better in the second half. You always try to play consistently for four quarters and that's our goal. It didn't happen last week. The first week of the year we played pretty good. So, this is a new team. Like I said, regardless of what happened last year, that was last year's team and this year's team needs to perform well for four quarters. I think we're going to do that this weekend.
Q: Are you glad to miss Aaron Schobel on the other side of the line?
TB: Yeah, I'm glad he's gone. Man, he kept me up a lot of nights before the games. He was a dominant player for them. I'm glad he's retired.
Q: What do you see from their defense, especially with a new coordinator?
TB: They're big. They're physical. I think that they're definitely a team that plays with great effort. They have some guys on the D-line that never stop working. In the secondary, they have guys that can make plays. Last year, they had 33-of-35 takeaways or something like that - second most in the league. They have some guys that can intercept the ball. [Drayton] Florence is an interceptor. Jairus Byrd's an interceptor. [Donte] Whitner's playing good football. [Terrence] McGee - [we've] played against him a bunch. So, if they can get a good rush, they can make plays on the ball, so we have to be pretty careful with what we're doing back there.
Q: What kind of crowd noise are you expecting on Sunday?
TB: What kind of crowd noise? I don't know. Hopefully we give them a reason to cheer. Hopefully we score some touchdowns early.
Q: Did we misinterpret your comments from last week about the Gillette Stadium crowd noise?
TB: Um, I have no comment.
Q: We were just giving you the opportunity to...
TB: Thank you for giving me the opportunity.
Q: Do you figure a tough matchup Wonderlic Test-wise between you and Ryan Fitzpatrick?
TB: I don't have much of a chance, believe me. I passed Michigan on a General Studies Degree, so... You know, he's one of those Harvard kids, so...We've had a few of those around here, but I wouldn't compete with that. I'm not getting into a math contest, thank God.
Q: Do you regret what you said last week about the fans?
TB: I don't regret anything that I ever say. I kind of speak my mind, for the most part.
Q: (On the remaining healthy running backs)
TB: Fred [Taylor] is one of the best running backs of all time. He played great the first game. The first run that he had called back [against the Jets], that was disappointing because it was a big run in the game for him, to get him going. Anytime a running back has a big run like that early, it can really set the tone for the whole day. He's a great player. He's worked very hard and he's been a great leader. Sammy [Morris is] the same way. He's obviously going to get a lot of opportunities with Laurence [Maroney] now and Kevin [Faulk] gone. We had five backs five days ago. Now we have three backs. Well, three-and-a-half backs, so hopefully those guys can really step in and take control because they're good runners. They run hard and they're downhill, physical guys that don't mind contact. They're going to get yards where there're yards.