QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
Q: What's the biggest thing you try to take away from a bye week?
TB: I think just the overall evaluation of kind of where we're at, what we've done, what we need to do going forward. I know the coaches have worked pretty hard on that, talked about a lot of things the last few days. I feel like the bye week always comes at a good time whenever it comes but it just gives everyone a chance to - you know, we've had a lot of weeks of football and we've got some really important ones coming up. So hopefully we can learn from the things that have happened over the course of the season and use them to our advantage moving forward.
Q: I think you've mentioned in the past the offense is at its best when it goes through everybody. How do you get it to go through everybody then?
TB: We've talked about a lot of things to try to be more productive. I think we have a lot of good players and I think it's just a matter of everyone getting their job done the right way and the way that we expect, doing things with a lot of effort and a lot of confidence. We've done that kind of at different times this year. Certain times it's been better than others. We'll see how it goes as we move forward.
Q: How much do you look forward to getting Rob Gronkowksi back after the bye week?
TB: Whenever we get him back, I think everyone's going to be excited about that. Hopefully it's soon, but those things are really up to him and the trainers and so forth. I know he works extremely hard at preparing and I know he wants to be out there. So I think really getting everyone out there, everyone that is on the roster, that's available, that we have confidence in, that can go out and help us win games and make plays and be productive. That's what our goal is.
Q: Does his presence just uplift you based on the connection you guys have had since 2010?
TB: Absolutely. I've played a lot of football with him and I think I have a lot of trust and confidence and a lot of things have happened over the years. When he's not there, there's just a different level with other players. Sometimes we don't try some things because Gronk [Rob Gronkowski]'s not in there, sometimes we do. Obviously the more dependable, consistent players you have on the field, the more productive and efficient you'll be which leads to scoring more points, which leads to better opportunities to win the game, which is ultimately the reason why we're all here. You know, just understanding what we all do well consistently and to try to do those things over and over again makes for a successful team. Probably makes for a successful column.
Q: Do you feel as an offense you know what your identity is at this point? Normally it seems you know what that is but maybe now it seems like you're searching for it a little bit.
TB: I think we're definitely trying to find things that - this is the first really chance we've had to evaluate that. There's been a lot of moving parts this year for one reason or another with the receivers, tight ends, running backs, a little bit with the o-line, not so much with the quarterback position. But I think that's all part of what we're trying to do. We've got to get out there and practice together and that transitions. If you practice well, you can gain a lot of confidence and ultimately you go out and you play confidently because you can play aggressively knowing what the other guys are doing. We just haven't had that, I would say, overall consistency and the ability to practice together - which that's not an excuse. I mean, every team goes through that. A lot of teams deal with injuries and moving parts and bringing different people in. That's just part of football. But we're trying to adjust and adapt like everyone else. Some weeks it's been better than others. But we're just trying to grind our way through it. I think the important part is what we've always realized, is we're going to learn as we go and you're always judged over the course of 16 weeks, not four games or the first eight games or the first 12 games. It's really a long season and you've got to be playing your best at the end of the year and that's what we're coming up on. So it's a lot of urgency our coaches put on us to be able to do that and we'll see what we do. I think it's one thing to say it. It's another to go do it and I think we have a great intention to go out there and do it.
Q: Is there a level of frustration from your point though? Here you are in November and you can't point to things that you know if you dial them up, will work.
TB: We definitely have confidence in some of those things. And I would say in general, frustration - everyone's frustrated at some point in football. The game's too difficult, there's too many other challenging opposing teams you'll face, players, coaches. They make it very hard on you. It's tough to win, certainly if you don't play well. It's very tough to win. There's always a level of frustration in football. It's just really how you manage your frustrations and whether you can use it to motivate you as you go forward. But I've been part of a lot of teams that were frustrated and it's not too often when you're not frustrated. Really if you go out and probably play really well on a Sunday, you probably feel pretty good for two days and then you get to practice on Wednesday and then you're grinding out again.
Q: How do you feel you guys have handled pressure or blitzes? Because it feels like the production hasn't been there to the same level as it has been in years pass. I know your quarterback rating against the blitz, according to one outlet, is last in the league.
TB: Well anytime you're last in the league in anything, that's probably not very good. I haven't studied that as much. I think if they blitz it gives us great opportunities to make plays and if we're not doing that, then we've got to figure out how to do it. I think if you rush three, or four, or five, there's going to be opportunities, really in any case. It's just what you do with the opportunities. Hopefully we can figure that out, get out of the basement and move our way up.
Q: There's not one thing in particular that you look at and say, "If we could just shore this up, then we'll see better results?"
TB: I think every position needs to shore things up. The reality is for the quarterback, I can do what I can do and I need to shore things up with what I can do. The different positions do the same thing and that's part of what this week's all about. Looking kind of at everything you're doing, everything the rest of the team's doing, how my position fits into the rest of the offense. And that goes for every player. I don't think any player's really satisfied. I think we're all looking to get better and improve and again, we have some opportunity to do that. Still a lot of football left and hopefully we can make the most of this week, use the weekend to get our minds and bodies refreshed and then be ready to go for a great division road game against the Jets, which is always a tough place to play, and see if we can use the things we've learned. They're off too, so they're probably doing the same thing. It's a tough place to play, tough environment but we have to go out and be ready to go and hopefully we can go put on a great performance.
Q: How deep down does a quarterback drill on self-scouting during the bye week? Are you looking at video of your throwing mechanics or footwork or what do you do that you maybe wouldn't do on a normal week?
TB: All quarterbacks are a little bit different. So I certainly have a routine that I would never give away. But I'm trying to evaluate the different physical errors, mental errors and sometimes there's one, sometimes there's none, sometimes there's both. The less errors you can make the better. Could be a read, could be a decision, could be a throw. Ultimately, it's just trying to be productive, like I said, to score points, help us win.
Q: Do you think in the past you've benefited to having a young quarterback on the active roster, just to either push you or bring competition?
TB: I haven't thought about that particular subject. We always have quarterbacks. At one point I was young and I had some older guys and now I've gotten to be the older guy and there's some young guys. So I think there's always just a healthy balance.
Q: Do you think that your footwork in the pocket is where you want it to be or where it's been in years past?
TB: Footwork like on drops and throws?
Q: Yeah, on your drops and your throws.
TB: I don't think about that too much. I know we put a lot of drills and we work at it in practice and so forth and that's kind of what carries over to the game. I study my mechanics every day so I feel like I look like my normal self out there.
Q: How are you feeling physically at this point in the season?
TB: Pretty good, pretty good. Some bumps and bruises but I think that's part of football season and I feel pretty good.
Q: What's your own self-assessment at this point in the year? What are you hoping to come out of this week with?
TB: I think just trying to be the best I can be for our team going forward. That's what the goal is. So a lot of it is just, like I said, understanding everything we've done and trying to do a better job of the things that we haven't done so well and maintaining the strengths that we have. I think you just evaluate it, evaluate kind of the things we've done and decisions and plays and try to get to our best stuff as we go.
Q: You said you have a bye week routine. How has that routine changed over the years?
TB: I think it's just gotten more and more efficient. I think like anyone who's been in their job for a long time, you kind of know what to do and you know what works and you know what doesn't work. That's the benefit of experience. So, you don't have to waste too much time doing things that you know won't pay off. Could be physical things, could be mental things, could be personal, relationship things that you've got to work at. But all those things are important.
Q: Did you enjoy Hamilton?
TB: Hamilton? Oh, I love Hamilton. It's my third time seeing it. Yeah, it's a great show. Anyone who's here should go see it. It was great in New York. It was actually really good last night. I loved it.
Q: Can you give us a rendition of anything?
TB: No. Although I did tell my wife, one day I would love to just be on that show for, I don't know, a week. But I would need a lot of practice.
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