QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
September 11, 2019
Q: Getting right to it, do you have any comment on the Antonio Brown allegations that are out there?
Q: Not a word to say?
TB: Didn't I just answer that?
Q: Do you think it'll be a distraction at all for your team going forward? I know you guys have dealt with so much through your careers and have gone through stuff like this before, so how do you put it aside?
TB: I'm just trying to show up and play football, and try to prepare. Miami's a good team. I'm going to get ready for them, and things that don't involve me, don't involve me.
Q: What have the past couple of days been like getting to know Antonio, and how was the first day of practice with him?
TB: Just like a lot of new players, trying to get up to speed and so forth. There's a lot to learn. Again, coming in at this time of year I would say is challenging, but that's just the situation. It happens a lot throughout the NFL. Different players change teams and so forth, and I think that's happened over the years. So, just trying to do the best we can do.
Q: Did he take you up on your offer to live at your house?
TB: Yeah, I'm not getting into all of that. So, yeah.
Q: What does he do well? I know it's one day, but what stood out to you about his skillset when you were working with him?
TB: Well, he's a very productive receiver. I think that he's done a lot of things in the league as a great player over a long period of time. So, yeah.
Q: Do you share any kinship because you're both sixth round picks?
TB: Yeah, I think you look at a guy like Julian [Edelman], too. We've had a lot of undrafted players, late round picks. I think what they can't evaluate at the combine are probably things that might help you prolong your career. You know, you learn different skillsets when you're not the top pick. So, a lot of times, I think if you can stick with it and you can keep finding a way, the things that make you successful as a player, to me, are continuing to evolve your game, continue to work at your skills, the things you need to do, continuous improvement, discipline, hard work. Sometimes, I think the guys who are later picks develop those traits and then you realize, "Man, those really paid off for me, let me keep doing them." So, I think sometimes it's a disadvantage when you're a high pick. Everyone tells you how great you are all the time, you get more opportunity than everyone else. So, I think the things that are sustainable are hard work, discipline, commitment, and I'd say we've had a lot of players over the years that have fit that mold.
Q: Is the crazy ending in Miami last year being used as motivation for this week's game, and are you anxious to have a good game down there this week?
TB: Yeah, we've had – for one reason or another – just struggles over a lot of years. I think they even predate me, which is hard to say because I've been here for a while. But, five of our last six we've lost. You know, I remember when we finally beat them down there the first time. It was either '03 or '04 on a pass to Troy Brown. That was like the first time in however many years. So, it's a challenging place to play. I think it's challenging when they come up here; I think it's challenging when we go down there. It's just, I think, dealing with a lot of different elements and showing mental toughness. Last year, I thought we played a pretty good game, but what coach reiterates is 60 minutes. In football, a lot of crazy things happen. You can't assume that – you know, these guys are extremely skilled and they're great players. So, we just can't take our eye off of what the goal is, and that's to play a great 60 minutes of football against a team that we've always struggled against there. It's a division game on the road early in the season, so it means a lot.
Q: In the preseason, you won two important games on the road despite what your coach might have said. Is it a focal point of the team to play better on the road this year?
TB: Yeah, that's important. We've had some years – I think a couple years ago we were 8-0, I think the year before that, maybe we were 7-1 or something like that, and last year we weren't as good. Yeah, his math was a little off the last time he brought that up. But, it's tricky. You know, you're going on the road. I think communication's always the key, and you know for us, really over-communicating is really important. Even early in the season, I think what's challenging is, you know we haven't had – this is our first game on the road, regular season, with a lot of new players. So, there's a lot of different things that come up. We have to be able to communicate nonverbally, a lot of signals – you know, just make sure we're all on the same page. That's definitely part of the early season challenge, and hopefully we can go out there and correct our ways from last year.
Q: Do you have to make any adjustments or changes because Brian Flores knows you and the system so well, or do you just go and do what you do?
TB: Yeah, Brian's a great coach. So, he's been sitting in these meetings for 15 years too, learning from Coach [Bill] Belichick. So, he knows what we're trying to do; we know what they're trying to do. I think we've faced that before over some years when Josh [McDaniels] was in Denver, when Matty P's [Matt Patricia] in Detroit, Eric Mangini was with the Jets, Romeo [Crennel]. Ultimately, the game comes down to fundamentals and how well we executed the things that we planned for, but they're going to have a plan. They're going to have confidence in what they're doing. They're going to have a lot of film work to show their players to say, "Look, this is how it works, this is what you've got to do." You know, it's two well-coached teams that are going to go out there and try to play tough, hard-nosed football. It's a challenge for us, but hopefully we can pull it out.
Q: We always hear about the adjustments players have to make on the field when they come to New England. So far so good with Antonio?
TB: Well, I think like all of us, there's a lot of work to do. We have a long way to go. Where we're at today is very different than where we're going to be weeks from now. So, just going to try and take it one day at a time. I think all of the, "It could be this great, it could be that," that's for everyone else to discuss and not us. We have to go out there and do it, and to do it takes a lot of hard work and effort and commitment. So, if you focus on the short-term goals, over a period of time those things can take care of themselves.
Q: Good start today with Antonio?
TB: You know, I always think that we have good practices, good effort and so forth. So, there's a lot of guys out there working hard. I mean, it's been a lot of fun – even for you guys to see all of those joint practices we did. This is a hard-working team. We're going to stay that way. It's been a good hallmark of our team for a long time, and just go out there, put the effort in, try to do the best we can do and then match up on the weekend and get the final result.
Q: I know you make an effort to try to connect with every guy in the locker room. Just from a logistical standpoint, does having a guy's locker right near yours at all make it easier because there's more of a chance for small talk?
TB: Yeah, that's like Park Place and Broadway, that area of our locker room. That's the high rent district. So, yeah, I mean I think there's a lot of offensive players down there over the years. So, it is, I think for all of us to be together – Coach kind of groups everyone with their position groups for the most part – but definitely, it's good to have everyone close. I think teams are about everyone coming together, trying to do the right thing and we're all here for one reason, and that's to help us win games.
Q: Would you say this group of receivers could be the most talented you've had in your career? I know you've had some great ones.
TB: We've had some great ones, and it's tough to compare. You know, everybody's got a different skillset. I think it's easier to compare after the work's been done, rather than before it's all been done. So, we've got a lot of things we've got to try to go out there and improve on. We got off to a decent start, but this week we've got to start fresh.
Q: How do you view those evolutions of the offense, when you go away from a guy like Rob Gronkowski or Randy Moss – do you feel that as you go throughout your career?
TB: Yeah, I think for me, it's been – we've had different strengths on this team at different times. Early in my career, it was probably more the running game. And then we got Wes [Welker] and Randy and Donte Stallworth and Jabar [Gaffney] – it was probably more receiver heavy. And then we got Gronk and Aaron Hernandez, and that became a little bit more tight end heavy. So, I think over years, the experience that we've had has been helpful to transition our offense to the skillset of the players. I think that's what good teams do. You know, you're not going to be able to replace this player for that guy. It's hard to replace a Randy Moss, it's hard to replace a Rob Gronkowski, so you've just got to morph the offense and try different things and see what works. That's what makes it fun to play. Try to go out there and reinvent yourself in different ways to try to put pressure on the defense.