Tom Brady knows what the Detroit Lions' defense can do: last year on Thanksgiving, it sacked him once, but he was hit a total of five times. Led by 2010 defensive rookie of the year Ndamukong Suh (who got that sack), it is a front that can cause problems for opposing offenses.
New England will be facing that test again on Saturday.
"We have a pretty good idea the issues they present with the (offensive) front, with the running backs included. Itís a very talented group, a very talented front, especially with pass-rushing; they get after the quarterback," Brady said today. "Youíre not going to stand there and hold onto [the ball] for too long. Not that we do that anyway, but especially a week like this where all those guys really feed off sacks, the negative plays, their crowd really feeds into it, really that was evidenced by the first half last year. Thatís always a concern when you play a team with a good front so thereís a lot of thought that goes into play-calling, and obviously me making quick decisions."
Brady also addressed how he goes about improving his decision-making; during his WEEI interview on Monday, he said his biggest area of concern coming out of the Tampa Bay preseason game was the speed of his decision-making.
"You make a really conscious effort. You go through training camp and thereís a lot of 7 on 7 drills where thereís no pass rush, and you kind of look to the right and look to the left, then, 'Yeah, OK, where am I going to put the ball now?' And you throw it," he said. "In a game, you donít have a lot of time. Some plays, you think you may have time and a guy gets an edge on an offensive lineman and heís at the quarterback and youíve got to make a good, quick decision of ĎOK, what am I going to do now?í Try to throw it away, you try to put it where only your guy can catch it.
"A lot of it is just getting used to the tempo of a real game, and thatís why we play those preseason games. Really, when you start training camp, itís the same way: you feel like everythingís slow and 'God I just canít read things fast enough, I just canít get the ball there fast enough' Ė and I think over the course of the six weeks of training camp, preseason games, you really get into the flow of the game, so, 'Ok, now I know the tempo'Öand you can actually bring that to practice the next week because we know from the previous game how youíre going to feel when youíre out there, boom. The decision-making, which is something Iíve been thinking about, and itís actually been a lot better the last few days, so we have to keep that going."
Brady was asked about his friend Peyton Manning potentially not being ready for the Colts' regular-season opener as he recovers from offseason neck surgery (Indianapolis signed recently-retired and now unretired veteran Kerry Collins today) and Brady shot down the idea: "Heíll be playing. Are you kidding me? Heíll be playing. I know Peyton, heís as tough a competitor as there is so it will be hard to keep him out. I think I heard, [former Colts coach Tony] Dungy said that heíd have to be dead or something not to play in that game."
One last answer from the Patriots quarterback: he was asked about fan and media reaction to New England's preseason performances thus far, and in a nutshell Brady answered that there is still plenty of improvement to be made.
But then came the question - haven't you heard, the Jets are winning the Super Bowl this year?
"Well weíve heard that for a few years," Brady said. "So itís always...you donít ever hear us talking too much about that. I think there is a long way to go between now and the regular season. We have a very important preseason game coming up. All of these games are important for us. Itís so far away at this point Ė we have other things on our mind."