Making his weekly appearance on WEEI, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady put it plainly: if things are going to happen for this team, it's not time to lean on past success to search for it.
“It’s a different team,” Brady said. “We’ve got a lot of new players and we’re trying over the course of the season to learn each other and learn the things we do well, and the things we don’t do so well. That takes a lot of commitment."
I hang that loss on the defense. They had a chance to come up with a big stop and couldn't. But it's worth noting that an offense that rolled up 448 yards on the Dolphins performed poorly enough in critical situations to be held to 21 points.
And so the question was asked of Brady as to why there's a dropoff from 2007, when he, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker are still headlining the assault.
"That's a great question," Brady said. "It's funny, Barry Bonds hits 73 home runs, and the next year, it's like 'Why didn't you hit 73 home runs again?'
"I'd just love to win some football games. There's a lot that goes into an offense. It's not the same same offense. It's different guys out there."
Brady cited Donte' Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney as weapons that are now gone, while being careful to say the new guys are good players, too. But he did manage to point out that in 2007, "That was a new offense, and it caught a lot of people off-guard."
As for his injured finger, Brady deflected the question.
But he did address what's to come, starting with Carolina this week, and was happy that the Patriots have control of their fate.
"Our whole season's in front of of us, and that's all you can ask for," he said. "We'll get to find out what we're made of."
To read more of Brady's comments on WEEI, click the "full entry" button after the jump.
Brady spoke about a series of close plays throughout the game that could have affected the outcome.
“We’re moving the ball good, we’re getting the ball up and down the field, we’re just not getting it in the end zone," Brady said. "I think that’s kind of where it ends right there. The game’s about scoring points and outscoring the other team; when you’re not getting the ball in the end zone, it’s pretty frustrating.”
Brady also addressed the second-half slump this season that has New England averaging 18 points in the first half of games compared to just 9 in the second half.
“I wish I had a better idea myself," Brady said. "We seem to do pretty good in the first half and the second half comes along and the situation tightens up a little bit. Situational football becomes evident. Fourth-down plays. Third-down plays. Third-down plays in the red area. We just haven’t found the right ability yet to be able to be able to execute in those situations but we do it a lot in practice and we make the plays in practice. It’s not like I don’t have confidence in what we’re doing, it’s just a matter of getting the job done when it matters.”
“We had a good first half, we executed well. We made the plays. We made the throws. We made the catches. It was a good first half, well it was a decent first half, I don’t want to say it was good, we scored 14 points, not like we scored 42 points in the first half. We had a third-down play where we got stopped short by four inches and we had a fourth-down play where we got stopped by four inches, so the second half we came out, and [receiver Sam Aiken] made a great play to start the second half and that was it for the scoring. We had a couple of three and outs in the second half where I overthrew Aik by a little bit and that could have had a great impact on the game. The interception in the end zone, that really hurt us obviously, so those plays, if I make those throws, then we probably win the game, and that’s what it comes down to.”
Brady was also asked about Moss, who caught a touchdown early, but was basically invisible on offense for the rest of the game.
"He definitely wants to be a part of the game," Brady said regarding his talented wide receiver. "Sometimes it’s easier to get the ball to him than others, and when they really focus on him, it’s hard, you don’t want to really fire the ball into double coverage all the time, especially when you have someone like Wes, who is able to work the inside part of the field which he did a great job of yesterday, and Aik made some really good plays. Even on the touchdown play to Aik, if you see it, it’s man-to-man coverage but the safety is on Randy, he’s basically standing over Randy, so we’re not going to throw him the ball, you just don’t have much of an opportunity to complete the ball, so when Randy gets his opportunities he makes the plays and other times, they do a good job of focusing on him and I told him we’ve got to get the balls to other guys.”
Brady was asked if his missed the swagger that was evident on the championship teams.
“You’re not going replace all those years of experience and winning games with guys that haven’t been in those games," Brady said. "You miss those things and in other ways, with those players that come to the team, they add a different type of quality or asset to the team. There’s only one Rodney Harrison, those guys just aren’t floating around everywhere. It’s not like there’s 32 of those in the league. There’s just one guy and that’s why he was such a talented, great player. Ty Law and Willie McGinest and Ted Johnson and Roman Phifer and obviously Richard (Seymour), Vrabel, these guys were incredible players. It’s not like you win Super Bowls without great players, great coaching. And we have great coaching and we have some players now that are really doing . . . a guy like Aiken, who’s really starting to make some great plays for us on offense, for a guy that wasn’t even part of the receiver mix early in the year, a guy who wasn’t even playing much. And we started throwing him the ball and good things were happening, so those are the kind of guys that really step up and become good players for us and we need more of those guys.”