Brady feeling rusty, not trusty
FOXBOROUGH - Part of the reason Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have been able to work together so well for so long - other than the winning, of course - is that the quarterback is as detail-oriented and driven to perfection as his coach is.
And thanks to the absence of offseason practices, and with training camp sessions cut down to just one a day, Brady the Perfectionist isn’t very happy with the progress the Patriots are making thus far.
“It has been quite a bit different,’’ the 12th-year veteran said yesterday. “There’s a lot of work to be done, in all honesty. We missed a lot of practices this summer and spring.
“The time that we have on the field is so valuable, and we can’t afford to make mistakes and get behind, because we’re already behind. There’s a lot of ground to make up.’’
As receiver Julian Edelman noted, the Patriots have had just 10 on-field camp sessions to this point, where previously they’d have had twice that many. Add the 10-plus that were taken off the table thanks to the new rules to the 14 offseason practices the team would have held were it not for the lockout, and there’s a lot of ground to be covered in a short amount of time.
“I think we have to understand the learning curve has to be so fast,’’ said Brady. “You can’t come out here and have a bad practice because, look, you don’t have many of them. We’re out on the field for 2 1/2, three hours, but it goes fast out here.
“Finally, we’re getting into the goal-line [packages]. In the springtime, in a normal year, next year, a whole goal-line package will be installed, and just now guys are hearing it for the first time.
“It takes a lot. Guys are going to have to do a lot of extra work, seeing the tape and listening to the coaches, spending extra time in here studying, understanding what they have to do.’’
During the practices the Patriots have had, the offense has not looked sharp; overall, the defense appears to be winning the battles. Yesterday, Brady and Belichick had an on-field exchange during practice, with the quarterback raising his hands at one point; both appeared to be frustrated.
Brady acknowledged that he has been a bit off with his throws, and during the barrel drill yesterday - a crowd favorite that has the quarterbacks trying to land passes inside a large trash barrel from varying distances - Brady tapped himself on the helmet a couple of times as he overthrew or sprayed the ball wide right.
Brady did nick the outside of the barrel on one throw, and the drill certainly isn’t an easy one, but his frustration was evident.
“It’s been getting better,’’ Brady said. “I think that to not play football for six months and to come out and think you’re going to back in midseason form . . . I wish the game was that easy, but that’s not the way it is.
“We’ve had seven practices. We have to - and I have to - continue to improve and get better, and every day I feel better out here, so I’m sure the other guys feel better as well.’’
Brady discussed the influence of his longtime passing mentor, Tom Martinez, whom he spent quite a bit of time with during the offseason. At one point this spring, Martinez’s family took to Facebook to announce that he had just weeks to live, as he had complications from diabetes; since then, Martinez’s medical outlook has improved greatly.
Despite the scare, Martinez and Brady worked together to make sure Brady is as efficient as ever on the field.
“He’s meant the world to me,’’ said Brady. “We talk all the time and he understands what I need to do to be a great quarterback, and that’s what I’m trying to be.
“It’s always working on the technique. The technique and fundamentals are one thing at my position, and understanding the plays that you’re trying to execute are another thing, and that’s what you’re trying to do out here.
“You’re trying to keep your technique while you’re in the middle of guys who are rushing and different blitzes that you haven’t talked about or haven’t seen, different coverages you haven’t talked about or haven’t seen.’’
Asked about receiver Chad Ochocinco, Brady said playing with him has been fun and he appreciates Ochocinco’s competitiveness and desire to get things right. He acknowledged that the two have made progress in getting on the same page, but there’s still a ways to go.
That was a frequent refrain during Brady’s longer-than-usual interview session - that there is still a way to go for this team.
“I’m glad I have a lot more practices until the season starts,’’ he said. “I could use every one of them, and I’m going to use every one of them.’’