O’Brien speaking softly now
He puts shouting match with Brady behind him
Speaking publicly for the first time about the Shouting Match Seen ’Round New England, Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien mostly hit the mute button.
O’Brien didn’t have much interest in providing details or explaining his feelings about the expletive-laced exchange he had on the sideline with quarterback Tom Brady during Sunday’s game against the Redskins. Television cameras caught O’Brien and Brady yelling at each other after Brady threw an interception in the end zone late in the fourth quarter with the Patriots leading, 34-27, when even a field goal would have made it a two-possession game. Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer stepped between the two during the argument, and receivers coach Chad O’Shea pulled O’Brien away before coach Bill Belichick came over.
“Just two competitive guys that want the best for the team,’’ O’Brien said yesterday during his weekly teleconference with the media. “We’ve moved on to Denver, getting ready for Denver now.’’
Minutes after Brady and O’Brien were seen yapping at each other, they had apparently calmed down, sitting together on the bench, and sharing a hug at the end of the game.
Brady said earlier this week he appreciates O’Brien’s willingness and ability to coach a veteran, even if it means occasionally getting yelled at.
“I threw a pretty bad interception, so he wasn’t happy about it. I deserved it,’’ Brady said after the game. “We’re pretty emotional guys. When you make bad plays you’re supposed to get yelled at by your coaches. It’s certainly not the first time, and probably won’t be the last. It’s football, man, it’s a game of emotion.
“He and I have a great relationship, and I love that he feels that he can coach me.’’
O’Brien was asked yesterday about coaching the team’s star quarterback and communicating with him, in light of Brady’s comments.
“Again, I’d really like to focus on Denver. When you walk in the door here and you work for Bill Belichick, you’re going to learn how to coach and you’re going to learn how to play,’’ O’Brien said. “That’s one of the things we pride ourselves on here, both coaches and players looking to improve every day, and communicating with each other every day, and sometimes communication takes different forms.
“It’s an intense environment and a competitive environment, and the players would want it no other way, and the coaches would want it no other way. So that’s what it is. We’re getting ready for Denver and that same type of environment, going into a very hostile environment against a very good team, so we need to have a great practice week and bring a good game plan out to Denver.’’
The play that sparked the fireworks was a pass intended for receiver Tiquan Underwood, who was running along the back edge of the end zone, covered by Washington’s Josh Wilson. When Brady threw, Wilson cut in front of Underwood to make the interception. Underwood has been quick to accept blame, saying, “I know I have to catch the ball or bat it away.’’
O’Brien, in response to a question about the interception being a teachable moment for the receivers while watching game film, said, “There’s a teaching moment on every single play, that’s why we meet on Mondays and go through the tape, and communicate as to what we want to do better. Some things we’ve done really well. At the end of the day we’ve been a very productive offense this year, so there’s a lot more good things than bad.
“That was one play in a game of, I think we ran 60-some-odd plays in that game, so we try to correct and move on.’’
There was a light moment during O’Brien’s teleconference: He said, with a laugh, he heard from his mother after the exchange was replayed numerous times on television, and she told him to watch his language.
But when asked if he had any regrets about the incident, O’Brien turned serious, and again chose to look ahead, not back.
“Guys, we’re on to Denver here. That was the Redskins game, and I communicate with the players all the time, and the communication takes different forms at times, obviously,’’ he said. “But again, we’re focused on Denver at this point, and that’s what we’re game-planning for right now, so I’d really like to just focus on Denver.’’
Owner Robert Kraft struck a lighthearted tone last night at the Patriots Children’s Holiday Party at Gillette Stadium.
“Two fellas that I like a lot,’’ Kraft said. “Passionate, they’re of Irish descent, so they share a common bond. I think they were speaking in Gaelic, in a language most of us didn’t understand.
“They’re both passionate about winning, and sometimes in great relationships you have disagreements, and you hear it out. We won the game, we’re 10-3, we’re trying to clinch the division.’’