PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
Q: How important are your first preseason reps assuming you play tomorrow?
TB: They're important. You know, it's good work. I said earlier, it's always - whether it's walk-through, practice, game, it all matters because I think if it was a waste of time, you know, we wouldn't do it. I think there's a lot of urgency and you know we're not where we need to be, got a lot of work to do and these practices are a part of it, the opportunities that we get in the game. When everything's full live, quarterbacks getting hit, that provides a little different element. So it's good to get out there and it's good to be out here practicing and we got to try to see if we can put together a great performance on Thursday.
Q: Does it give you a little more urgency because for the first time in seven years, you won't have joint practices and you used to love getting so many snaps in those - maybe the game takes a little more sense of urgency for you?
TB: Yeah, I think too that, you know, sometimes when you practice against another opponent, it actually gives you a pretty good idea of where you're at because we've been going against each other for a while. We just haven't had that chance and we had a game to show it so you know, we got a big one against the Eagles and we know the challenge they present. So, trying to put a lot into it and see if we can obviously get a lot out of it. You know, it's a big test. They're a good team and we're going to have to play well.
Q: How are you feeling health-wise?
TB: I feel good. Thank you. I feel really good.
Q: Is the plan for you to play tomorrow?
TB: Yup. I mean, I think the plan's always to play. It's - whether I do or don't is up to Coach [Bill Belichick] but yeah, I certainly plan on being out there.
Q: Are your long-term goals still in line with you playing until you're 45? I know it's a number you've repeated in the past, but has that changed at all?
TB: You know, I think you always have short-term goals and long-term goals and this year's the one I'm focused on and obviously I want to play for a long time so I've said that for a while. Feel like I'm a broken record. You know, it's really this year is the focus and this team. This team needs a great quarterback and you know, hopefully I can go out and be that.
Q: We saw you punt the ball yesterday - was that a little frustration with the drops and the incompletions in the passing game?
TB: I think I'm generally frustrated. That's a very - generally frustrated would be a very typical term for me out here so I think there's a lot to do and a lot to get done and hopefully we can have the urgency. I think you just trying to - every drill's got to get something out of it and you got to build toward something because the competition's tough and they're building and you got to keep the pace.
Q: Did you have a feel of, "I can be an emergency back-up" after you kicked that punt because you kicked it pretty well?
TB: That was one of my better kicks. We have the quick-kick obviously in our repertoire, we've called that a few times over the years and we always punt after practice on Friday -the quarterbacks - so I was just warming up for that I guess.
Q: We've seen you talk a lot with Eric Decker, just getting to know him and everything else. What's that process like for you and especially in this camp, with a lot of different guys, you haven't seen that much of him?
TB: Yeah. The thing about him is I've watched him play a lot of football over the years. I mean I feel like we've - he's been on the opposing sideline a lot. Whether game-planning for him, I've watched a lot of them. I think that he's always been on great offenses so I just - he's got to use his skill-set, the one he's learned for and used for a long time. He knows how to get open and now it's just about learning what we do and how we do it which is always a little different than how other teams may do it. But you know, he's worked hard, he's been out here every day, you can tell he's a real pro and hopefully he can add something to the group. Every role is there to be taken and it's different opportunities out there at every position and you know, if you can play a role and be consistent, dependable and make the plays then I'm sure Coach [Bill Belichick] will put you out there.
Q: When you have to make an adjustment to a new wide receiver, do you have to learn more of what they do or do they have to learn more of what you like?
TB: You know, I think it's both. It's just adapting to each other, I think that's the key. You know, certainly have expectations for players at certain positions and if it's a receiver position, you try to show him as much film as you can and say, "Look this is how it's got to be" and so forth. You know, it's up to the different guys to figure out how quickly they can pick it up. But it's a lot of back-and-forth, a lot of conversation and the way that you probably did it in the past, probably a little different but I mean it is pro football. To be - you know how to get open and run routes and win against man coverage. A lot of the concepts are the same, it's maybe just termed a little bit differently.
*Q: What goes through your head when Phillip Dorsett goes down with all the competition at the wide receiver position? *
TB: You know, you never like to see it and I think everyone wanted to go over and see how he was doing because he's been doing so well in the spring and in training camp. Hopefully he's okay and I certainly hope he is. He's got a great opportunity ahead of him. I hope he takes advantage of it.
Q: How would you make the case for Rob Gronkowski being in the conversation for greatest tight end of all-time?
TB: Well he's - I mean I think everything about him is what you're looking for in a player, in a teammate. You know, plays well in the biggest moments and he's everything you look for. So, I'm glad he's on our team, glad he's been a teammate for as long as he has. I've watched him develop from when he first got here to now and seen a lot of growth and I know he's trying to do better every day like we all are. I hope he has a great year.
Q: After all these years, why the new helmet?
TB: I know, you know? Our equipment manager Brenden [Murphy] was - been begging me to try it and I'm very resistant but it's been pretty sweet so I kind of like it.
Q: Are you keeping it?
TB: I don't know. The facemask isn't quite right so I'm working on that but trying it out.
Q: We saw you putting in the extra work after practice here today. Does that sort of show the love for the game you still have and how dedicated you are to getting the little things right and being in top shape even at 41?
TB: Yeah, I mean I love doing it. I love trying to get wherever, you know whatever you can get a little extra in. We've had so many hot days, really hot days or really wet days and neither of those days are very good to do that extra stuff so got to take advantage of those days while we can and try to get a little extra work with the receivers and the tight ends and that's what the goal is.
Q: Are you hoping to teach the younger guys by leading by example that you have to put in the extra work after practice to succeed in this league?
TB: I think, you know, having the stamina to do whatever it takes is the best trait you could have. I think you either get the job done or you don't. It's very clear to see when you do and it's very clear to see when you don't. There's a scoreboard at the end of each field and you get to see what the score is at the end and you got to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
Q: What have you noticed from Jacob Hollister and his jump from his first to his second training camp?
TB: Yeah. Jake's put a lot of hard work in. I mean, I'm really proud of him to come in undrafted, free agent and create a role for himself like he did last year and then have the ups and downs of a rookie year. He played some, he was not playing some and he's kind of taken advantage of that role that he's got and he's willing to put the work in and that's all you can ask for from a quarterback standpoint, from a guy who wants to get better and wants to improve. You can only do that one way, by getting out and doing it, earning the trust of your fellow teammates and your coaches and I think Jake's done that.
Q: Is that how he earns trust with you by putting that extra work in after practice?
TB: Yeah, I think that's really important and Jake has no problem doing it. I mean, he'll do it all day so probably calling off the dogs a little bit at the end and you know, we got practice tomorrow, we got a game Thursday and we're still grinding through. The better - the things we do better more often is going to contribute to being more productive on the field, moving the ball and scoring more points. That's what we're trying to do.
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