QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
December 14, 2017
Q: The last few weeks, you have taken at least one day off of practice. How much do you feel like that has impacted the passing game, if at all, and is that why you have practiced both days this week?
TB: No, just feeling better. So, it's a short week, so I just try to get out there and practice. Like I said, I take it week-to-week, and I feel really good this week, so I'm very happy about that.
Q: How does Cameron Heyward impact a defense?
TB: He's a good player. We played against him a few times, and they got him for a reason. He can really cover, he's a veteran and he's been very productive. So, if he's out there, he definitely makes a defense better, but we're prepared for everybody. They've played a bunch of guys at that spot in his absence. But, they're playing good on defense. They've got a lot of good players – a very veteran group that plays well, they've been in that system for a while and they're playing really well. A lot of turnovers, sacks – they're pretty high up there in all the rankings, so it's going to take great effort by us.
Q: Keith Butler has talked about the need to play more man coverage. Have you seen the Steelers mix coverages this year?
TB: Yes. I mean, I think they definitely do that. Within their zones, there's always man elements. So, it looks like the Steelers to me. I mean, they've had the same defense for a long time. Whatever they decide to do, we'll be prepared for. I mean, we prepare for everything. We'll go out there and cut it loose on Sunday.
Q: How is Kenny Britt fitting in so far?
TB: Good. You know, he's just kind of come in and worked hard the last couple days and trying to understand all the things we've got going. Hopefully, we can add something to the mix here in a short period of time. It's always challenging for a guy to come in late and pick up everything at once, but hopefully he can figure out a role. He's had a lot of production and he's going to have to go out and earn it, earn everybody's trust to get out there, but he's done a good job the first couple days.
Q: Why do some veteran players find it easier to fit in here than others?
TB: I don't know. That's a good question. I'm not sure. We've done pretty good with veteran receivers, so those guys –
Q: But some just have it, right? I'm curious why you think some do and some don't. Is it really on them?
TB: I mean, it's probably on a very individual basis. I think for most people, what you do is kind of up to the player and the professionalism and the ability to come in and put the work in every day. Some guys make it and some guys don't. Veteran receivers – I would say in our offense, it's a pretty high degree of difficulty. So, the guys who have been around a little bit know how to play football, know how to play professional football and prepare and study and all those things, can come in and do pretty well.
Q: Even though you are familiar with the Steelers defense, how much can you prepare for the unexpected in terms of what their defense might present?
TB: Yeah, I mean, I think at this point in the year, it's not like you're going to go reinvent your whole defense in Week 15. They're ranked pretty high. They do a lot of things well. I'm sure they're going to want to continue to do those things well. They rush good, they're tight in coverage, they mix their schemes in – zone and man and blitzes – and they do it on all three downs. They don't make it easy on you. Now, for us, it's just being on alert. We're going to try to go out and play the way we play, too, and that's what makes for a good game. They've had a lot of good teams over the years. These are always pretty big matchups and this is a big one for both of us.
Q: Do you use the loss to Miami as motivation this week, especially with the playoff implications?
TB: You know, I think just us putting together a great game is going to be enough motivation for us. We're playing a good team on the road. We've had a bunch of those in a row now. I mean, it's late in the year, so all these games are important. Playing against a team that has the best division in the conference, you know they're playing well. They've played well all year. So, in order to beat them, you just can't go out and play mediocre. We're going to have to play well, and everyone's going to have to do it and everyone's going to be called upon. You expect a 60 minute game, and hopefully we can go out and get the job done.
Q: Is there ever a point that the team gets tired of being on the road?
TB: Yeah, it's been a while. It's just the way it is. You know, we've been pretty good on the road, so I don't think any of us really mind going on the road.
Q: How does having Rob Gronkowski back on the field make your life easier?
TB: I mean, he's a great player, so he's a great matchup for us in the passing game. He's a great blocker in the run game. His size, speed is good, so they've got to really factor him in. He's obviously a big part of our offense and gets a lot of targets and he makes a lot of big plays. I think when he's out there, it's just tougher to defend. The better of players you have on the field, the tougher it is to defend, and Gronk's been one of the best to ever play at that position. So, it's good for our offense.
Q: Are you able to step back and appreciate the longevity that you and Ben Roethlisberger bring to the field, to your position and to this game?
TB: Yeah, we've been playing together a long time. I mean, he's a hell of a player. I've always loved his style. It's pretty unique – big guy that extends a lot of plays and tosses guys off and chucks the ball down the field. He's got great command and great leadership and hangs in there, he's tough, and [I] always really liked the way he plays. [He has] won two Super Bowls, so he does a great job, and he's been impressive to watch, too. So, it's been a lot of fun.