An upbeat Tom Brady was up early for his weekly appearance on WEEI this morning; here are some highlights from that chat:
On what adjustments were made that he didn't take any hits after the first few possessions:
I think we settled into the game as we seem to do as of late. When you play teams that have very good pass rushers sometimes it takes a series or two to understand the speed that they’re playing at and then ultimately we find the plays on the call sheet we feel are protecting us the best. We’ve played some very good pass-rushing teams from the Giants to the Jets in their own way to the Cowboys, we’ve played some really good pass-rushers. This is a team that can really get after the quarterback…Cullen Jenkins is a phenomenal player and Trent Cole, he’s a hell of a pass-rusher too. They were really into it early and I thought once we settled into the game, we handled it really well.
Why would a defense play soft against New England when it's proven that being physical against its receivers is effective?
There was definitely times they were up there in our face too and we did a very good job with our matchups on the inside. A lot of it has to do with matchups and what they’ve been working on and what they feel is going to be successful for them. I got the question yesterday too – the Jets, they’re up in your face too and we moved the ball pretty well against them. To me, it’s a matter of our execution, and that’s the way it’s really been all year for us. When we do things the way that we’re capable of doing, without causing issues for our own selves, then we can move the ball against anybody so it’s just a matter of doing that on a very consistent basis. When we do that, we put points on the board.
What did Eagles do wrong that the Pats made it look so easy?
I wish it was easy. We work all week to try to make it seem that way and some weeks it looks easier than others. But we’ve got some pretty good experienced players on offense and I think weve grown over the course of the season with Rob and Aaron who are young players who are out there a lot and have become very dependable, along with Wes and Deion. Still trying to find our way in the third receiver spot – Chad was out yesterday, Tiquan was in there a little bit, Taylor’s been in there a little bit, Slater’s been in there a little bit, Julian’s been in there a little bit, and we’re trying to get those guys involved. The way that we balanced out the running game yesterday, to me, was hugely important to the success of our offense because it’s so much more challenging for a defense when you’re able to hand the ball off and then play-action pass and then once you get the running game going, everything else seems like it opens up. From the start of the game we were running the ball well. We didn’t throw it very well the first series or two, but after we got into the flow of the game we were running it, we could play-action, we used some spread out formations and our up-tempo offense that really put a lot of pressure on. Coach Belichick the one thing he said is we just gotta keep the pressure on this team; we gotta make them earn it. I thought we did a good job of doing that and not really giving them any easy plays.
Was it easy to deceive Eagles defense?
Well, it’s, like I said, that comes off the running game. So at some point, they have to come up and start tackling the running backs and especially, they play a particular style of defense where they rely heavily on the inside linebackers and the safeties to make plays on the inside part of the defense because they line up their defensive ends very wide to contain the quarterback, contain the running game. So when you fake the inside run, sometimes you get some opportunities in the play-action game. That Wes – that wasn’t even the play that we designed going into the game. Wes just said, ‘hey, if I see the safety low, I’m going to fake like I’m going to run the in-cut’ and that’s what he was coming up for. He thought he was trying to cover Wes going across the field and Wes stuttered on it and ran by him. That’s just part of Wes being a veteran who’s leading the league in receptions, one of the best receivers in the league who sees something and then we take advantage of it. All-around that was a great play, both in the route, recognition, in Wes thinking through that and then the protection I got was great because that play takes a little time.
On Rob Gronkowski telling CBS broadcasters he felt it was “dump on Gronk week this week” during the production meeting:
I never think Gronk even knows when I’m getting on him. He looks at me with this blind stare like, ‘what are you talking about?’ You know, I have a lot of respect for both of those guys and I am tough on them because I think there’s very high expectations for them both, on the practice field, obviously in games and then in the meeting rooms as well. Everyone has high expectations for those two because they’ve proven they can handle it. So when you see certain inconsistencies, you point it out to them and sometimes they don’t want to hear it, but ultimately I had a lot of older players do that to me when I was a younger player and that’s part of being a veteran player is pointing things out that you need corrected as a team because every year that goes on is one less opportunity you’ll have to accomplish the goals that you set out and to be honest I’ll be damned if I let some rookie or second year player get in the way of our goals.
Who is Tiquan Underwood and why was he on the field yesterday, not Taylor Price or Matthew Slater?
Well, Ti is…he was on our team late in the preseason, really picked up our offense very quickly, and he’s just always been on the radar for our scouting department, we had an opportunity to bring him back and we did. He’s proven that he’s very dependable in practice and I was bummed for him last night because I know how badly he wanted to make that play, but he’ll have other opportunities. He’s a good young player that really works hard and he deserves and opportunity and he got one yesterday and like I said, I know he wishes that we would have executed better, but that’s part of football.
On being so heavily favored against the Colts game and whether it's a 'trap game'
Well, I don’t ever feel like we should lose against anybody if we play the way that we’re capable. So when we go into any game, whether it’s this game or last week’s game, it’s about what we’re doing and what we’re trying to accomplish and what we need to do with penalties and turnovers, scoring in the red area and converting on third down and playing smart, situational football -all those things that allow for good execution and consistency, which allow us to score touchdowns and get points on the board so…Look, we’re playing against Indy, I know they’re not having the year they want to have or they expected to have and we’ve had some great games against those guys. Their defense looks the game to me; I know we have our work cut out for us on offense, they have two of the best pass rushers, another great pass-rushing group, some guys in the secondary that we’ve played before that are very good, that match up well against us. So I don’t give a damn what their record is, we’re going out there and we’ve got to try to execute very well against a team that always gives us problems.
On his rushing against the Eagles and whether he practices sliding
I wonder if that was a career high for me? [27 yards] That’s not bad for me. That usually would eat up about half of our time of possession with me on the run...
No…but I probably should, because that was pretty pathetic. Maybe I should go over to Fenway and have those guys teach me how to slide. But I’ve got this big-ass knee brace on my left knee. When I slide on grass, it just digs into the turf. There was a huge clump of grass that came up. Maybe I should slide on my right knee.