QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
December 28, 2018
Q: What’s the challenge that this Jets team presents and is it any different from when you guys played them a few weeks ago?
TB: Yeah, it’s a tough division opponent that we know pretty well. It’s a tough, grind-it-out game. They’re well-coached, they’ve got some good players, good defense, playing well offensively so it’s a big test.
Q: If you guys win this game, you secure a playoff bye. How important would that be?
TB: I think playing well this week’s been the focus, and anything beyond that, we haven’t even talked about for good reason. I would say it’s tough to win a game and this is a tough one and we’ve got to focus on this one hundred percent, which we have, and just be prepared to go out and play our best. I think a good 60-minute game is still out there for us and that’s what we’re working to do and this would be a good time to do it.
Q: Is there a level of dissatisfaction that you haven’t put together the full 60-minute game you want yet?
TB: I think it’s out there for us and I think it’s a great opportunity for us. We’ve been working and building and trying to get there and it’s been a lot of moving parts all year – it’s just part of the football season, it’s like that for us, like that for everybody. But competing for all 16 weeks is what it’s all about and we’re at Week 16 and we’ve got to finish strong.
Q: Earlier this week, you said on the radio that you plan to play next year. Can you elaborate on that?
TB: Yeah, I don’t want to elaborate much. This week’s the one that matters and that’s what we got to do – take care of business this week.
Q: Rob Gronkowski spoke yesterday about dealing with mental challenges this year. How have you noticed him handle some of those challenges and have you tried to help him in any way in terms of dealing with some of that stuff?
TB: Yeah, he handles it well and I think for all of us, over the course of 16 weeks, it’s not all going to be perfect. It very rarely goes where you just breeze through. It’s a challenging, tough grind and mentally, emotionally, you have to be in a good place. Gronk’s fought hard, he’s been available a lot. I think we’re all looking forward to this week.
Q: Is there a stat in terms of evaluating quarterback play you pay attention to more than any other?
TB: Not really. I’m not really a big stat guy. I’m into wins. Wins is the one and that’s what we’re here for. There’s a lot of ways you can evaluate stats and so forth. Winning the game is what’s most important.
Q: Has completion percentage ever been a big one for you?
TB: I think just making the right plays. I think your focus as a quarterback is just making the right play whenever it’s there. You could throw a ball away instead of taking a sack and it looks like you have a low completion percentage but you’re making a good play for the team. I just have to make good plays for the team and that part of it is just good, solid football and making good decisions, throwing to the guys who are open. Sometimes ending a drive with a punt is not a bad thing when you consider a lot of other factors, it’s just – that’s part of football, making good decisions.
Q: How about touchdown to interception ratio? I would think that would be one that means more to you, keeping turnovers down and touchdowns up.
TB: The ratio is not as big of a deal as the interceptions because I think the turnovers are what hurts you. If you turn the ball over, you’re not giving yourself an opportunity to score. Whether you throw it in from the 1 [yard line] or hand it off on the 1, a touchdown’s a touchdown. But interceptions are tough to overcome if you’re giving the defense a lot of chances to score more points.
Q: Were you at all frustrated with some of the criticism of the passing offense last week? You were running the ball well and when one thing’s working, there’s no need to overthink it and go away from that.
TB: I just think when you look at it, you’re trying to be – you look at each play differently and at the same time, they’re all individual plays and it just comes down to good execution. If you throw it five times in a game, you’d love to have five well-executed pass plays. If you throw it 50 times, which we’ve done, you like to have 50 of those, and the games are going to take different shape and so forth. It really comes down to execution in the run game and the pass game and them complementing each other so it makes it difficult to defend.
Q: Ben Watson announced yesterday that he’ll be retiring at the end of the season. What do you remember from playing with him and are you impressed he’s been able to be productive for so long?
TB: Ben’s been a great friend for a long time and had an incredible career. He’ll certainly be missed. He had a great impact on this team and every team he played for because of the person he is. He’s just a great man, great father, great husband, great player, great teammate. We’ll always be in touch so wish him nothing but the very best.
Q: Do you feel that playing at Gillette Stadium gives you and your team any kind of an edge?
TB: I think if we play well, the crowd’s into it. But I think the one positive I see from being here is we practice in the elements all the time and I think we’re so used to playing in this climate with the ever-changing weather conditions that we have. Just understanding how it works in our stadium and I think those things end up being a benefit if we use them the right way. We love playing here, we’ve done a great job, communication’s certainly better at home which helps. But going out and executing in whatever conditions, hopefully we handle them better than our opponents.
Q: What are some of the unique challenges of facing a team that’s coming in here with nothing to lose? You’ve faced this sort of scenario before.
TB: Yeah, definitely. We’ve talked about all those things. We’ve prepared for all those things. We play this team a lot and they defend us a little differently each time that they play us. They’ve got good players, they’ve got a good scheme, they have a lot of defense, they have a lot of calls, they’re well-coached and they kind of pick what they want to do. I’m sure they’ll be aggressive and we’ve got to be able to counter that and whether they’re playing more man than zone or blitzing or not blitzing or how they’re blitzing or where they’re blitzing from, we’ve got to be prepared for all of it and hopefully we are.