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Tom Brady Press Conference Transcript 12/8

Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, December 8, 2016.

Q: You were able to participate in your first Wednesday practice in a few weeks yesterday. How much of a reflection is that on the progress you've made with your knee?
TB: I'm feeling good, so it was good to be out there. I always enjoy being out there at practice. I'd much rather be practicing than getting treatment. It was good to be out there. It was a productive day and we've got to have a productive week, too. This is a big challenge for us. [The Ravens have been] one of the great teams in the AFC consistently over a long period time. They've got a great defense. They always have had a great defense, so they challenge you in a lot of ways with some good scheme stuff and a lot of really good players. This is an important week for us and I think Coach [Bill Belichick] has tried to put a lot of urgency on our team and we feel it. We need to go out there and do a great job. 

Q: What do you think of the season LeGarrette Blount has had for you guys as well as his importance now that the calendar has flipped to December?

TB: It's been pretty amazing what he's been able to accomplish to come back from his injury last season. He was having a great year for us last year and then got injured, but this year he's been so consistent, dependable. He's running the ball great, long runs. He looks very decisive. He's catching the ball whenever we throw it to him, so he's been a great factor for our team. We've got a great backfield. 

Q: How has LeGarrette Blount's importance increased now that the cold weather games are coming?

TB: Yeah, he's had some big games this time of year. It is - it's tough if you get wet weather or cold weather. It certainly gets harder to tackle, and he's hard to tackle anyway given that he's 250 pounds. It's tough to bring him down. You've got to be able to win in a lot of different styles this time of year. You don't get too many great days to throw the ball, so you've got to be able to be multi-dimensional and to hand it off to him and then to force that defense to tackle him is a big challenge. 

Q: Do you still view Monday Night Football as kind of special as a player?

TB: Yeah, I think you do. It still feels that way, I think, especially when you hear the music when you run out. You only get one of them a year usually, and this year ours comes pretty late in the year. You've got two pretty good teams playing. I think it's two teams that are kind of similar, that are very mentally and physically tough. I think both teams are going to be at their best. 

Q: Can you talk about Chris Long as a player and what he's added to your team?

TB: He's added a lot since the day he got here. I think he's been such a professional and I really enjoy playing with him and conversing with him. He's done a great job, played a great game last week. He's made some really important plays over the course of the season and this is when things really start to matter. He's provides great leadership and he's been a lot of fun to have around. You get tired of playing against him, so. 

Q: Do you have any relationship with Chris Long's father, Howie Long?

TB: I don't know him very well, but I've always seen tapes and he's one of the greatest defensive linemen to ever play the game. I've been around for a long time so I've seen a lot of guys over the years, and I think we've done a few interviews with him in the past.  

*Q: What is it about Terrell Suggs that's made him such a challenge over the years?  *
TB: I think it's - every year he's had pretty major injuries, and then he comes back and he looks like he didn't miss a beat. It's his 14th year. He's been a great player for as long as he's been in the league, and I think he just does a lot of things very well. He's got all the rush moves, he actually drops into coverage, he bats down balls, he butches the tight ends coming off the line of scrimmage, he's really a playmaker for their team, and it's not just sacking the quarterback like probably most defensive ends. I think he makes plays in a lot of ways. I've seen him intercept slip screens, jumping up and picking [Ben] Roethlisberger off, going the other way. I think he has great instincts. I mean, he definitely plays with his instincts, so if he feels like the ball is going to go inside, he rips inside to try to take it away even though that's not really his assignment, and I think 99 percent of the time, the ball goes inside. I think he just has great instincts for what he's doing and you can't ever really count on the same thing from him. I think you have to kind of play him straight up and see what he's going to do because I think he makes a lot of really good decisions out there and he makes a lot of plays. 

Q: Is there any sort of animosity towards the Ravens given the history between the two teams?

TB: For me personally? I think all these games are kind of the same. I just look at the opponent, look at what they do, and the only thing that matters is what they do this week in practice and in the game. I think you just try to put everything aside and whether it was that or whether it was a playoff game a couple of years ago or whether it was a regular season game a couple of years ago or championship games, I mean, none of those really matter. It's really going to be about what this team does this week and like I said, Coach [Bill Belichick] has tried to put a lot of urgency on that. We understand that, we know we're facing a team that's 7-5; they're at the top of their division. They have a lot of confidence in what they do and so do we, so it's going to be a good, tough matchup. 

Q: Is this the best defense you guys have faced all season and what can a matchup like this tell you about your offense?

TB: Yeah, they're the first-rated defense in the league so no one has done a better job over the course of the season than them. I think they do things really well in a lot of areas, so they're good in first-down defense, good in third-down defense, third-and-short, good on the goal line, good in the red area. They contest every yard, so I think that's the mark of a good defense. They don't give you anything easy. You have to earn it. I think they do a good mix with their scheme and also with their personnel, so we're prepared for a 60-minute game. That's what we're practicing for. If it's something different than that, then we'll adjust, but we know it's going to be a good, tough matchup. 

Q: Is this the type of game where you can learn something about the offense you have going forward down the stretch?

TB: Every game we're learning different things, and I think that goes all the way throughout the year because your team changes a lot over the course of the season with injuries and adjustments and schemes. You have to adjust when Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] goes down. You have to adjust when Dion Lewis comes back. You have to adjust when Danny [Amendola] goes out. So it's just constant adjustment and trying to build on certain things and adjust to certain things, and ultimately you're still trying to move the ball down the field and score points. 

Q: Can you talk about the consistency LeGarrette Blount has shown and maybe compare him to some of the guys that you had here early in your career?

TB: Yeah, I think he's had an incredible year just in productivity, rushing yards, touchdowns. Every time we hand the ball off to him, something great is happening. He has a lot of confidence in the guys up front and what they're doing for him. You've got to have confidence in the offensive line when you're a running back because when you're taking that ball downhill with a full head of steam, you've got to believe that the hole is going to open, and he hits it hard. He's just had an incredibly consistent year for us from the start of the year all the way on to last week. We're going to keep needing it. It's a big part of the reason we've been successful whether it's been in the run game, pass game, blitz pick-up, I mean, all of those backs have really played well for us.

Q: Are there guys like Antowain Smith or Corey Dillon that you can compare him to?

TB: I think they're a little different players. I always think it's so hard to compare one guy to the next, but a 250-pound running back is pretty tough to tackle. When he gets away from people, they never really catch him, so he's got great speed and agility. They really don't know how to tackle him. He's jumped over guys, he's run over guys. I think he makes great decisions when he's in the open field, so he's done a lot of great things. 

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