PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
Q: Ten years ago, you tore your ACL. Was that a tipping point in your life to better take care of your body, change your diet, work on pliability, etc.?
TB: Yeah, pliability, you got it. Yeah, that was a big - that was kind of a big injury, the first real significant one in my life. You know, I had - it was a tough contact injury and I had the surgery and then had a staph infection after that. And then it's just a long rehab process. So, those injuries are tough and I think it requires a lot of mental toughness, and if you haven't been through them, I think you gain a new appreciation for being back out on the field with your teammates. You know, I always love feeling great when I'm out there and I feel if you feel good, you can perform really well. So, I kind of always focus on feeling good, and football's obviously a big commitment for all of us and we'd all love to feel great every time we take the field. It gives us the best opportunity to be successful.
Q: Did you think something needed to change with how you were taking care of yourself and training?
TB: Yeah, that was a particularly tough one, you know, because I actually didn't wear a knee brace back then. A lot of the other quarterbacks were and you don't think those injuries can happen to you. Just as I was striding, my foot planted and the helmet hit my knee and since then I've worn a knee brace, tried to protect my left leg. But, yeah, that was a long time ago and I feel pretty confident in there now and you're just trying to avoid those the best way you can.
Q: How excited are you to get your 19th NFL season underway this Sunday?
TB: I'm really excited. I'm really excited. It's a blessing to be able to do it and I love playing football. I love the sport. I've been doing it for a long time, so I'm not sure what life would be like without it. I've had a few experiences where I haven't been out there and I haven't liked those very much. Hopefully we can go out and start the season well. We're playing a really good team and they're going to test us in every phase. They're really well-coached, got some great players and that's really where my focus is.
Q: Last night the Eagles ran that "Philly, Philly" play successfully and it didn't work out so well for the Patriots in the Super Bowl. What's your reaction and thoughts to seeing that play run again last night?
TB: I mean, good execution wins games, so I think that's ultimately what we've got to do. When you make the plays, you either make them or you don't and I think - I was saying to someone the other day, it's not about projections and so forth. And then you go through - I was saying my son does fantasy football and he's looking at his projections for this week and going, "Dad, I'm supposed to lose." I said, "Well, none of that matters because, you know, you actually got to go play the game." And that's what we're all here for - no one knows what the outcomes are going to be. You put everything you can into it. It comes down to a lot of players on the same page trying to make the right plays and throws, catches, blocks, tackles, all the fundamental stuff which we work pretty hard at. I mean, it's a long season, we're getting tested right off the bat and hopefully we can perform really well.
Q: Who's the quarterback on your son's fantasy team?
TB: Not me. He had Matt Ryan actually, so he was watching with me last night.
Q: How much confidence do you have in the receivers you'll be throwing to the first four weeks of the season?
TB: I have confidence in them certainly. You know, Phillip [Dorsett] and Chris [Hogan] have obviously played a lot. I've played a lot with them last year. And Cordarrelle's [Patterson] new and he's done some good things - obviously, it's the reason why he's here. He's a really good player and he's been productive in the league. To be on this team, you've got to be a good football player and, you know, the guys that are out there, I have certainly a lot of confidence in. Hopefully - again, we're all going to be learning on the fly and you've got to build as the season goes. We're in a certain place now, but this is not where we want to be as we get through the season. Every week we want to build on things and there's no way to replicate what we're about to go up against and that's why you got to through it. So we'll see where we're at.
Q: Do you plan to continue your longstanding weekly interview with the WEEI morning show?
TB: I don't know. Yeah, not sure. I think so.
Q: Has there been any change in Alex Guerrero's availability to you on road trips and game days and are you satisfied with the current arrangement?
TB: I think - Alex and I, I mean we work together. I don't want to bring on any drama this year. You know, I'm just focused on what I want to do and be a great football player for this team, try to be a good example in the locker room and provide great leadership. That's where my focus is. I know we want to oftentimes talk about a lot of other things, but I just really want to stick to football and like I said, try to really focus on being the best I can be for this team.
Q: Does the arrangement that he has here work for you as it's set up now?
TB: Yeah. I mean, I'm always - I'm a pretty mentally tough guy so I deal with a lot of circumstances over a long period of time - 18, 19 years - and I'm excited for the season. I'm really excited for where we're at, where we're going, what we got to do. There's a lot of challenges we're going to face. I want to feel good, I want to be the best quarterback I can be and that's a lot of big commitment, daily effort.
Q: What did you think of Colin Kaepernick's ad with Nike that just came out?
TB: I really want to focus on football. I know hot topics and my reactions to a lot of hot topics and so forth but getting ready for the Texans. They're a great team, that's where my focus is, not on advertisements and so forth.
Q: At 41, does the start of the season feel any different?
TB: Yeah, absolutely. I think like all of us who are - you know, a lot of people in this room have had the same career for a long time. I think you can use that to a real advantage and a great advantage if you do things the right way. I feel like I have a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge and I plan to use it. I mean, football is fun to me. I feel like I can go out there, I can anticipate a lot of things, seen all the coverages. You know, we have a lot of answers to the test. Now you've just got to go do it. I think most athletes, by the time you get to a certain point, you start to figure it out mentally, and physically it becomes really hard. So, trying to be my best physically and be my best mentally, that's a good place to be. There's a lot of confidence from my standpoint. I know we're facing a good defense. They challenge you at the D-line, they've got good linebackers, really well-coached, really good in the secondary, so it's a good place for us to start.
Q: Is the excitement the same for you?
TB: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I love playing football. I love being out there and the preparation, what it takes to be a great player. I mean, those things are still very enjoyable for me and there's no place I'd rather be Sunday afternoon than 1 o'clock, playing here and playing well.
Q: Has one of the toughest adjustments throughout your career been your ability to adjust to different receiving groups? Talk a little bit about that challenge of adjusting to new receivers.
TB: Yeah, I think that's part of the challenge of this particular position, of offensive football, is there's a lot of moving parts from year-to-year and you may be really good offensively in one area and through free agency, through guys - you know, whatever, competition, they don't make it - and you've got to morph the offense to what the guys do well. I've been in the same offense for a long time, so in a lot of ways, the system's morphed to what my skillsets have been and other people have to come in and really fill what that particular role is for them. So, it's a tough system to play in for a receiver, I definitely don't think it's easy, and I know that because we've had a lot come from a lot of different places and lot of memorization, lot of being on the same page with the quarterback and changing routes at the line of scrimmage, changing routes during the middle of play and you got to be on the same page. So, we try to morph the offense to what we all do a good job at and those things change over the course of the season with different guys that come in and out. So, hopefully we can do a good job of that this week.
Q: Can it ever be frustrating to work with a wide receiver and then he's not here anymore just when he's getting the offense?
TB: I think, again, that's part of the challenge. I think every football season, it'd be like climbing a mountain and every year you got to start right at the bottom. There's no easy part about it and you know it's going to be tough going all the way up and you can't start at the top the next year. That's not the way football is, and whoever you're starting with at the bottom, that's where you got to go. And it's not going to be easy. There's no part of it - I mean, it's a long stretch, it's a lot of games with a lot of practices and we're going to be challenged in a lot of areas. I think you've got to have the mental toughness, physical toughness, discipline, determination, all the things that it really takes to be a true professional, and the more you can do that and the more people are on the same page, the better results are and the better results are. I mean, that's why we're here. We're here to win.
Q: How do you prepare for the Houston Texans' defense?
TB: We've had a lot of experience with this defense. We practiced against them at the Greenbrier last year. I think we know the caliber of talent that they have. I think they have some of the best players in the league at their position - J.J. Watt, [Whitney] Mercilus, [Jadeveon] Clowney. They've got some really good linebackers - Johnathan Joseph, I play against him a lot. They weren't in there at the later part of last season. I think they were all in there the last time we played them and we barely came back and won that game. That was - you know, that took everything we had and some luck to win that one last year. They've got a good offense, got a really good defense, good in the kicking game, well-coached. I mean, I expect it to go down to the end and that's where our mindset is.
Transcripts are provided by the Patriots media relations department as a courtesy to the media and are edited for readability. All press conferences are posted and archived in their entirety at patriots.com.