PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY PRESS CONFERENCE
Q: What was it like when you were just learning in your first couple of years in the league?
TB:You're always learning at this position. I don't think you ever really can learn too much. It takes a long time to grasp it kind of mentally and physically and all the different things that you're asked. I think the thing I've been most fortunate [with] is to play in the same system with the same coaches, sameterminology. I've played with so many smart players. I'm playing with so many smart players this year, which allows you to do a lot of different things, so it's great being out there and having the type of control and command that we have on offense. There are a lot of different tools we have, things that we can go to if a certain scheme isn't working, and like I said the other day, you're always trying to adjust because you're never quite sure how the other team sees you or how they're going to game plan you. So you've got to have something else to answerwhat their answer may be. It's just you're always working hard and you're always emptying the tank every week, and certainly at this point in my career I try to be really efficient with the work that we need to do. I think our coaches are the same way. They get right to it with us as players saying, "These are the things that we've got to focus on." And every team presents different challenges, so this week is a short week, a team that's playing really well. So it has its own real unique challenges, and I think I can rely on the experiences that I have. But ultimately you've got to go out there and you've got to execute it under pressure, so that's what you have to be able to do.
Q: Have you been able to put in the game plan on game day with teams in the past? Is that something you're able to do this year because this team is a little more experienced?
TB:I think that every week, like I said, it entails something a little bit different, so you're always adjusting in this game and finding different ways to, like I said, attack the scheme that you're facing. Teams are always trying to put different pressures on us in order to execute, whether that's through their blitz packages or their different schemes up front with the front four, whether that's coverage schemes, and every team has a little different flavor to it. So part of what our job is, is to try and counter that and figure out our schemes and our ways that we're going to try to protect up front, and those adjustments go all the way down to the last snap of the game. And when you're adjusting on the sidelines or constantly talking on things and Josh [McDaniels] is raking through the call sheet to figure out something so he can spring someone free, which leads to some critical plays when you need them. And we made plenty of them there in the fourth quarter, which is what we needed, so a lot of it is trying to keep finding ways to adjust, whether that's pregame, during the game, all the way up, like I said, to the last snap.
Q: What differences have you seen with the Dolphins in the last two weeks?
TB:They're playing great. They've got a lot of great players, and they've had them ... You know, every time we've played these guys, they've been a challenge. So we started off last year and lost to them in the first game of the year. We battled back against them in the second half of last year. So they're riding high right now, and I think they're really getting after the quarterback. They've got some real good guys in coverage, but I mean, [Cameron] Wake and [Olivier] Vernon and [Ndamukong] Suh and [Earl]Mitchell and [Derrick] Shelby – they've got a whole group of pass rushers who, really the last couple of games have been performing really well. Then offensively, they've just been scoring a lot of points, so they get ahead and they kind of unleash the pass rushers on you. And then Cameron Wake strip-sacks the quarterback, and then next thing you know, the game is blown open there. It was blown open in the second quarter against Houston. It was blown open in the third quarter against Tennessee. We've got to make sure we try to stay on track and execute well so we keep things under control. But you can't be onedimensionalagainst these guys. These guys are really a talented group.
Q: How would you assess how the offensive line is playing and their ability to adapt and adjust?
TB:Yeah, our offensive line has been phenomenal this year. The challenges they've been up against, they've faced a lot of really great defensive lines, a lot of different scheme challenges. They've had perimeter rushers. They've had interior rushers. We see a lot of games and twists. I mean, everyone is obviously trying to get to the quarterback all the time, but we've been faced with a lot of challenges and I think those guys have really stepped up to it. So it's a great group. They're really well-coached. Coach Gug [Dave DeGuglielmo] has done a great job. Josh [McDaniels] has done a great job. Dave Andrews and Tre' [Jackson] and Shaq [Mason], Josh Kline ... Wendy [Ryan Wendell] has provided incredible insight being that he's been so experienced in the system. Nate [Solder] was playing great until he got injured. Marcus [Cannon], everyone has a lot of confidence in Marcus. Sebastian [Vollmer] has done a great job going from right now to left and Cam Fleming coming off the practice squad, whatever it takes for those guys. They just, however they can put that unit together and play cohesively, play as a group, but it's a great group we have. I think those guys taken a lot of pride in it, and they've just done an incredible job this year.
Q: What did you think about Ryan Tannehill's streak of 25 completions?
TB:Yeah, that's incredible. I mean, 25 straight completions, I mean it's hard to do that when there's no defense out there. To throw and to catch like that so efficiently, and they're making big plays, too. So they're an explosive offense. They've got a lot of guys who can make plays. So we on our offense have to really counter that. We've got to play well early. We've got to play well. We've got to be aggressive, but they're playing really well. They've got a great football team.
Q: What do you think when you hear Bill Belichick say that the Dolphins have simplified their defense?
TB:Yeah, those guys are great at what they do, and they really cut those guys loose to get after the quarterback and they've done it. Whatever they've changed is really working. I think they're playing at an extremely high level. Like I said, they've gotten out to some big leads, and that spells trouble against this defense. We did the same thing last year in the first game. We got behind, and then they're just, that's one of the things that they do great. They can really tee off on the quarterback, and they were certainly teeing off the other day. We've got to be balanced. We've got to try and take control of the game. It's tough to do. They're a good run-stopping defense, in the last two weeks especially, so it's just a ... There's nothing easy about it. You've got to go out, and you've got to execute really well. You've got to be tough, be firm inside and try to go out there and execute really well.
Q: Are these short weeks tougher mentally or physically?
TB:I'm not sure. I think you just do the best you can. Mentally, you've just got to work as hard as you can. Physically, you've got to be tough enough just to push through it. But it's a fun week. The competition starts as soon as the last game ends, and we've got the same amount of time to prepare. Hopefully we'll make as good of use with it as we possibly can.
TOM BRADY CONFERENCE CALL WITH MIAMI MEDIA
Q: What does the slot receiver position mean to your offense?
TB:It's been an important position in our offense since I got here, with Troy Brown and Wes [Welker]. Julian [Edelman] has played in that spot and Danny [Amendola] has played in there a lot. It is a critical part of the game, especially as these games, these offenses have been more spread-type offenses. All of those guys in that role on our team have done a great job. Danny's having a great year, and really he's come up huge the last couple of weeks. So it's just a matchup thing, and there are different players who play in the slot. It could be one of our tight ends. It could be Julian. It could be one of our bigger receivers. It could be Danny. It could be a running back. But whoever's in there, ultimately it has to come down to going out there and making the plays.
Q: What's necessary to playing in the slot?
TB:A lot of things, you know, things happen pretty fast in there. You're involved in a lot of action in the run game and the pass game, so a lot of it is, if it's zone coverage, it's finding those small, little holes in the zone. There are a lot of bodies out there, really on the inside. If it's man, you could still be dealing with some traffic on the inside, so a lot of quick decision-making. Some guys prefer being inside. Some guys prefer being outside. It just comes down to the individual.
Q: What are your thoughts on Thursday night games? Do you think these Thursday night games should exist?
TB:It's a lot of preparation, mentally, because you're squeezing a lot of information into a couple of days. But both teams have the same amount of time to prepare, so it's a competitive situation. And you've got to try to do the best you can on Monday, Tuesday. Fortunately, we're not traveling on Wednesday, so maybe we get maybe a little extra time to prepare. Every team's got to do this once a year. We've had it do it twice, with the first game of the year on Thursday night, but you've just got to try to empty the tank and see if we can be at our best when we need to be.
Q: What's the biggest difference you've seen in the Dolphins defense over the past two weeks?
TB: Well, they're playing great. It's hard to really pinpoint. I'm sure they could probably answer that a lot better than I could, but they're just playing great football. They've always had a great defense. All the way since I started playing the Dolphins a long time ago they've had great players. And they have a lot of great players now – guys who can rush the quarterback in [Cameron] Wake and [Ndamukong] Suh and [Olivier] Vernon. It's a challenging group. They can present a lot of scheme challenges. Their one-on-one matchups, they believe that they can win all of them. So it's a tough matchup, and we've got to be ready for everything. It's definitely not an easy defense to prepare for.
Q: What does the combination of Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount give to you as an offense and as a quarterback?
TB: Well, I have a lot of confidence in those guys. I know our line does, too, that they'll find the holes when they're there. LeGarrette has been a huge impact on our team since we got him. Dion has done a great job this year. James White has done a great job in his role. Brandon Bolden has been here for a long time, and he's got the confidence of everybody. So we've got a really solid group. I love all those guys. They really play hard. There's a lot of attention to detail in what they're doing, so we've got to really rely on those guys at different points in the game. And like I said, I've got a lot of confidence in whoever is in there.
Q: Because you have players who are versatile in what they can do, you have the ability to change personnel without substitution. What does that do for you?
TB: Yeah, we try to, you know, we do change the formations quite a bit. It's not as predictable as maybe some other teams. Wherever those guys are, like I said, ultimately it comes down to their execution, so whether you're lined up inside, outside, in the backfield, you start one place and you're part of a motion or part of a bunch or a stack. Ultimately, it comes down to solid fundamentals. There are no magic plays you can call where guys are going to be open. Ultimately, it comes down to how well you execute, and like I said, the attention to detail. And playing on a short week, there are a lot of things that we're trying to cram in to a short period of time. So we've got to make the best of our time and try to go out there and play really well on Thursday.
Q: What are you seeing out of Reshad Jones?
TB:He's a great defender, and he's great against the pass. He's very much a physical presence, and he throws his body around. He's a great leader for that team. He's a playmaker. He had that interception return for a touchdown last week. He had an interception against Tennessee. So he's just, he's a big-time player for them. He's always in the middle of the action, and he's, like I said, he can do it all for them. So, I've got a lot of respect for him and the way he plays. He's a great player.
Q: What makes Cameron Wake so disruptive?
TB:He's such an explosive player off the edge, and he's just a ball hawk. Last year, that was a big turning point in the game when he strip-sacked me and they got the ball on a short field, and he's done that again the last couple of weeks. So not only can he get the edge and sack the quarterback, but usually he can create turnovers for their defense. So he's just, he's a dominant player. He's been to the Pro Bowl I don't how many times. It's been a lot. Playing against him, he's got the respect of everybody on our team, our coaches, and he's just, he's a force and it's hard to slow him down.
Q: How big of an influence is coaching in NFL?
TB:The coaches, you take your cue from the coaches and the message they send to the players. We have obviously a tremendous amount of confidence in Coach [Bill] Belichick and the way he approaches every week. He gives us a great chance to be successful, so he puts the players in great position to be successful. He really nails down the game plan and tries to simplify it for the players so we know the targets we need to hit. But coaching is hugely important to the success of an NFL team, and I'm fortunate to play for the one that I feel is the best of all time. So there's really no way it can be overstated, how important it is.
Q: How are the Patriots so successful in putting the next-man-up philosophy into action when someone goes down?
TB:We rotate a lot at practice. We're constantly using everybody on the roster to do all these different things. There have been times when offensive players will play defense and defensive players will play offense. Coach always said the more you can do, the more you can create an opportunity for yourself. So whether it's guards that play tackle or tight ends that play tackle or offensive linemen that play running back in fullback situations, receivers that can block, or if receivers that can run short routes — the more you can do and the more versatile you can be, the more benefit you bring to the team. So those are all important, critical factors over the course of a long season. A lot of people are called into action at different times and you've got to be able to have a deep roster and keep fighting through things when you're facing adversity.
Q: What do you think about how Ryan Tannehill is playing right now? He just set an NFL record with 25 competitions in a row. Can you relate to being on that kind of roll?
TB: Yeah, and that's phenomenal what they've accomplished, what Ryan's done in his short time there in this offense. But he's been a great player for that team. I know they count on him. He's got a great arm and he's a great leader. He does such a great job with the ball in his hands, too, on a lot of those run plays. He's fast. He's very obviously a very dangerous player, so he's done a great job. I really enjoy studying that offense and the things they do. They always come up with some good ideas. When we're not playing them, they're always an offense I keep an eye on.