QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY PRESS CONFERENCE
Q: What has made the pass-catching backs so effective in your offense? What are the characteristics of that position?
TB:Yeah, it's a pretty important position in our offense. Dion [Lewis] did a great job of it this year. Brandon [Bolden] has done a great job when he's had his chance. James White has done it for us, and we've had some great players at that position over the years. So I think it's dependability because there are a lot of things that you ask that player to do. Not just catch the ball, but when you hand it to him, what are you going to do and blitz pickup, and it's kind of a lot of things that happen back there. We have quite a few protections, so when it comes down to it, you've got to have someone that you have a lot of confidence in that can obviously be a playmaker with the ball but also be dependable to do some dirty work – that when the ball is getting thrown to Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] or Jules [Julian Edelman] or Danny [Amendola] or Jo [Brandon LaFell], you've got someone in the backfield that's picking up blitzers or maybe helping clean out the pocket. Hopefully, we can keep plugging away at it.
Q: Does the sight of the New York Giants disgust you because of the history?
TB:They're a good team. I mean, they've always played us pretty tough, so we're expecting their best. They've got some really good players. They're obviously really well-coached, so they're just a tough team. We've always played them, I mean, we've always had very, very close games against them even when we've won. We just haven't won as many of them as I would've liked to have won.
Q: Do those two previous Super Bowls still bother you and motivate you?
TB:I'd much rather have won them than lost them, but they won't have any bearing on this week or what the matchups are. It's a totally different team and game and situation and so forth, but they just have a great organization. They've had a great organization for a long time. They've got a great history with a lot of players, one of the oldest franchises in the NFL, so there's just a lot of history with the team. And we're pretty familiar with them because we play them in the preseason every year. I don't think I've played against them in the preseason in a long time, but I know our team does. So like I said, it's a very good team and they're tough on defense, so we're going to have to play well.
Q: How important is your accessibility in terms of practicing with guys like Bolden and White whether it is during practice or outside of practice?
TB:Everybody's role is really important. You could be second on the depth chart or third on the depth chart and really quickly become first on the depth chart, so you've got to work with everybody and have confidence in everybody. You just can't spend all of your time with three or four guys. Whatever skill players we have, those guys get a lot of reps. I've worked a lot with Brandon Bolden over the years. I've worked with James White since he got here. Brandon LaFell has been a starting receiver for a while now, so he's gotten a lot of action, but I'm still working with Keshawn [Martin] and Mike Williams and trying to get them as many throws because this game is a game of attrition. This is when you start to see what your team is all about. This is when you see the quality, the depth of the players, the mental toughness – all of those things play a factor – how well you've done in September and October in the improvement areas so you can see yourself in November improve on things that maybe you weren't great at early in the year. And that all comes with, I said the other day, just making deposits and doing it even when it may not be an issue, before it's an issue, so you can try to stay ahead of things in case something happens and you get injuries. At least you built up some reps with a lot of guys, and they've built up a lot of reps in the offense. So hopefully there's not much of a drop-off if you lose some players.
Q: What kind of things can you do to simplify what's being asked of the offensive line?
TB:It's a lot of communication because it's, we're all tied together, and whatever I do or call I make really impacts what they're trying to do, what they're trying to accomplish. And because I talk to our coordinator, I'm the one that conveys that message to the rest of the group in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage. I mean, you don't want to have three guys on the play doing one thing and the other seven doing another and the quarterback doing another. You've got to have everybody always doing the right thing, so it's just constant communication and trying to make sure everybody is always on the same page – that we're all working in the same direction. Even if we're wrong, we're doing it all wrong together, so you can do it with some decisiveness. So it's just about, you know, the more we're together and the more we do it, the more we can build confidence in certainly knowing things we're good at but also things that we're not good at. But that's part of the transition you have to make when new guys are playing different positions and so forth. I'd say we learned a lot last week in the second half of the game about kind of where we're at as an offense and things we're going to need to continue to improve on. And like I said, you don't plan for certain scenarios and all of a sudden they happen. You've got to figure out what to do when you're under fire, and that's part of the challenging thing about football. I'm glad we came out of it ahead.
Q: Other than ball security, what are some things you can do as an offense to prevent the Giants from forcing turnovers?
TB:Yeah, it's ball security, and that comes with physical drills we work on in practice. But it's also a lot of decision making, too. A lot of it is risk-reward in terms of do I stick the ball out at the goal line on first down. That's usually not a good thing to do. The chance of losing the ball is definitely higher if it's away from your body. Or if you play a team like this that strips the ball a lot, if you're in traffic with four defenders, how are you going to get to the ground without them raking the ball off you? And they've done a good job of that. They hold guys up. They rip the ball out, forced a lot of interceptions this year. They've got a lot of playmakers. I think their scheme really plays a part of that. I think their coordinator does a great job of putting those guys in position to be aggressive, to make plays on the ball, whether that's a safety position or the corner position. And they all catch the ball really well, so it's just going to be important making good decisions, reading out the coverage, obviously not throwing it to them. And then when we get the ball in our hands, it's about good decision making and knowing when to cut your losses and get down and protect the ball and be ready for the next play. But you've got to play aggressively. I mean, you can't kneel on the ball three times and score a lot of points, so there's always risk-reward to those decisions that you make when the ball is in your hands.
Q: When it comes to gaining yards after the catch, how much of that comes from the timing of the routes and how much comes from the talent level of receivers that you have?
TB:Yeah, I think both of those are very important because a lot of it is the timing and anticipation. I've always felt that the best offenses can anticipate one another. The receivers can anticipate where I'm throwing it, when they're going to get the ball. The better timing you have on offense, the more production you have because [it's] less time the defense has to react to where the ball is actually going. So when you get it to Danny in space or Julian in space or Jo in space or Gronk obviously, what he's been able to do, all those guys can catch and run with it. And we do a lot of drills, as you guys see in training camp, with us running in the open field. So much about football that will never change is running with the ball, tackling, throwing, catching, all of those fundamental drills that we've tried to build up with our team, and then when you get the ball in space, what do the guys do with it. Our guys have done a great job of doing great things with it after we catch the ball, so hopefully we can continue with it. If they're going to give us some off-coverage and we can hit something underneath and let us run, those can be big plays for our offense.