FOXBOROUGH — Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spoke about the challenges his team faces Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, specifically with outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware.
“He [Ware] can get after a quarterback as good as anyone we play,” Brady said. “He’s powerful, he’s fast off the edge, he’s got a bunch of different moves. It’s not like you just set on the speed-rush and he’ll speed-rush you and then he’ll power you right into the quarterback. The first play of the season he sacked [Mark] Sanchez when they were playing the Jets and kind of had an up-and-under move. If he gets going early he’s going to be a problem all day, so we’ve got to make sure we really account for him on every play.”
Brady was asked how his offensive line prepares for a someone like Ware, who’s been credited with five sacks this season.
“It’s tough to prepare for those guys,” Brady said. “They’re unique players. If we had someone like that on our team – there’re just not many guys like that in the league. When you play a guy like that, you’ve just got to… the tackles and tight ends know they’re up for a challenge. You try to give them help at times but at other times they’re on their own, they’ve just got to stop them. As a quarterback you don’t just drop back there and hold it and see how long you can hold it all day because eventually they’re going to get there. You’ve got to make sure your making the right reads and that my passes and the timing of my passes are coordinated with our protection.”
More from Brady’s presser:
Q: What kind of similarities do you see between Rob Ryan’s defenses from Oakland, Cleveland and now with Dallas?
Tom Brady: “Well, he’s a great coach; he gets those guys playing hard. I think they’re very talented. They’ve got a bunch of good skill-type players over there – Terence Newman – I played against him a bunch of times, he’s [a] phenomenal player. Michael Jenkins on the other side is great, [DeMarcus] Ware – he can get after the quarterback, so they really get pressure on the quarterback from everybody. They’ve get pressure in a three-man rush, they get pressure in a four-man rush [and] when they blitz they get pressure, so we’ve got to make sure we really stand up to them. It’s a very good defense.”
Q: Coach Belichick says that one of the things that stands out the most is that this is the fastest defensive team that you guys have seen all year.
Tom Brady: “Yeah, they can really run sideline to sideline. They track a lot of plays down from behind. Everything is very well coordinated. They’ve got a bunch of different things that they do. It’s certainly not easy to prepare for. They’ve got a bunch of different blitz looks, a bunch of different defensive packages. It’s kind of a game plan defense, so you’re not really sure what you’re going to get until you’re out there, so you’ve got to prepare for everything.”
Q: How much carry over is there between what you saw with the Jets and Rex Ryan versus what you’ll see with Rob Ryan and Dallas?
Tom Brady: “They’re very different teams. I think they have very different styles. I’m not sure.”
Q: When you’re at the line, how many plays are you usually armed with that you are able to change to?
Tom Brady: “Well, you like to go with one, ideally. If they take that away then you try to get into something else, but you can’t go up there with six different plays in mind – you’ve only got 20 seconds to figure out what you want to do and figure out what they’re trying to do and then communicate to your guys. You really would like to try to have one.”
Q: How much would you say you change the play at the line? How much would you say you did it last week, half of the time?
Tom Brady: “I don’t think so. It’s hard to prepare for everything that they’re going to do in the huddle. You call your play and then if you got a great look, great, if you’ve got good look, you run it, if you’ve got a decent look, sometimes you run it also. If you’ve got a terrible look, you change it – a look where you just know the play won’t be successful – there’re guys that are unblocked or you’re running right into the teeth of the blitz. For the most part, we call it and run it.”
Q: How much work does it take in practice to give a guy a signal or even just communicate all the way down the line just so everyone knows to change it and it has to happen in five seconds or so?
Tom Brady: “It’s got to happen quick, it really does. A lot of times [with] two seconds left I’ll make the call and we snap the ball, so we make a call and boom – the ball snaps. So, guys are moving on the fly and sometimes you get it and sometimes you don’t, but for the most part we’ve had a bunch of guys who have been here together – on the offensive line especially – so they’ll hear what we’re trying to do and then the receivers, they hear a call and they’re able to adjust as well.”
Q: From what you see on film, what is the Cowboys’ quickness and reaction time to the play because that is different than just being fast?
Tom Brady: “They move very well. It looks like all of those guys can understand the concepts of the offense and pattern recognition. Their inside linebackers are great at that – Sean Lee and Bradie James and Keith Brooking when he’s in there. They make a lot of plays on the ball – plays that you wouldn’t see a lot of linebackers make, so they really handle the inside part of the coverage. [They have] two very good safeties who are both interceptors. I’d say this defense really thrives off interceptions; they had a ton of them last year. They can all intercept the ball. [If] you make a bad throw, they’re going to make you pay.”
Q: In what areas have you seen improvement from BenJarvus Green-Ellis?
Tom Brady: “He’s been pretty consistent since he has been here. Since the day he walked in, he’s been very dependable, [he’s] very smart, he’s tough, he runs with a great pad level, he always falls forward, he’s always makes yards after contact, he’s a physical runner and he has got good speed, too. He can get around the edge, make yards out there and he does a good job catching. He made a big play catching the ball this last game. He’s a very versatile player for us and when you hand the ball off to him you know you’re going to gain yards.”
Q: Who the heck is Sean Lee? He just came out of nowhere.
Tom Brady: “[He’s] a second year player, [he] went to Penn State. [He] runs well, [he’s] very quick. He’s not big and stature almost a Zach Thomas-like. He really dissects the passing game, really reads the quarterback very well. He had some picks last year – some pretty impressive plays that he makes. That return he had for a touchdown against the Jets was a phenomenal play – he read the quarterback, kind of figured out the route and anticipated the throw, made a great catch and a great run. He’s very good.”
Q: This might be a stretch, but he almost seems a little like Tedy Bruschi.
Tom Brady: “Yeah, Tedy was very instinctive also. Tedy was one of a kind, so that’s a pretty good compliment to give a guy. He definitely makes plays in the pass-game. He’s obviously very smart; you can see that from just watching him play. He communicates a lot and when the play is called into the defense, you can see he is one of the guys that’s always trying to get everything communicated to the rest of the guys, which tell you how the coaches feel about him – in a defense [that] I would say is not very easy. There’s a lot that they do, so when you put all that on a second-year player, it tells you what they really think of him.”
Q: Do a lot of their interceptions come from pressure on the quarterback because they’re so good at rushing the passer and forcing the passer to throw earlier
Tom Brady: “Yeah, I think they do. Anytime a quarterback is limited in the amount of time that he has to dissect a play or hold on to the ball, then you don’t make as good of throws or as good of reads. And some of it comes from that and some of it comes from great defensive plays because I think all those guys are really looking to intercept the ball. So, they can be aggressive on routes and they see a route combination and bam, they try to hammer it. Quarterbacks lay the ball up in the air on the sideline and Newman and Jenkins can come up with it, so they’re both kind of rangy guys, they’ve got great hands. Long arms and soft hands is not a good combination for a quarterback, unless it’s a receiver, but not for defensive backs and they really seem to come down with most of those balls.”
Q: Any type of difference in a defense when it’s coming off a bye week?
Tom Brady: “I don’t remember the last team [we played] that has come off a bye week, so it’s tough. They’re ready to go; they’ll be healthy [and] they’ll be rested. We’ve got to rest this week so we can kind of get up to speed on the preparation – they’ve got two weeks on us. It should be a great game; they’re a damn good football team.”
Q: What’s the most important thing when it comes to running a successful no-huddle offense?
Tom Brady: “It’s communication. It’s communication within the group that we have out there and it does no good if 10 of the 11 guys have the right call on; we’re all trying to be on the same page. It doesn’t really do any good if you’re not on the same page, because then that leads to negative plays and negative plays lead to long-yardage situations. Long-yardages situations lead to three-and-outs or punts. So I think most of the time you have to – before the ball is snapped – everybody has to really know what they’re doing and be on the same page so that even if it is a bad play, it’s not a negative play; it can be an incomplete pass or a run for one or two yards. But you really can’t afford a lot of negative plays when you do that.”