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Brady: Ravens are 'best team we've faced all year'

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  January 16, 2012 07:49 AM

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On feeling like the game is "in the bag" when they were up 35-7 at halftime against the Broncos:
No, we don’t think about that at all. We went in there at halftime and what everyone was saying is it’s 0-0. We’re not changing what we’re doing, we’re going to go out there and try to play a good second half and play smart football and try to go get a win. We came out in the second half, we started fast, we got a touchdown on the board, we were moving the ball, we turned the ball over going in at the 15, 20 yard line, whatever that was. We didn’t change our mentality, we executed a little bit better than we’ve been executing, and we need to keep executing well so we can score points.

Do you prefer that the defense bring extra pass rushers?
Yeah, well, I think there’s risk/reward to bringing pressure and not bringing pressure, and look, if you’re not getting there with four guys and you’ve got to bring extra guys, that’s what you’re going to do, which leaves fewer guys in coverage. It’s tough to single-cover our guys all day because our guys, when they catch it, they’re going to make some yards with it. If you drop more guys into coverage, then I’ll have more time back there to figure things out. It’s like on offense – there’s different strategies we use, we certainly don’t use one, we try to mix in all of them so they have to be prepared for all of them, and I think that’s the same thing Denver tried to do with us. It wasn’t all blitz, there’s definitely times when they covered us, but if we’re hurting them, they’re going to change. And I’m sure we get in this game, if they’re not pressuring us and we’re hurting them, they’re going to start pressuring us, and vice-versa. So we’ve got to be prepared for everything. Last time we played them, we played them last year, they pressure quite a bit. They have a good team. They have a ton of talent, guys I really respect and have played against a bunch of times, so it should be a great game. I’m looking forward to it.

Are you more inclined to go to the tight end or slot guy when you’re being pressured?
Yeah, definitely, because they’re getting open a little bit quicker than sometimes guys on the outside part of the field are getting open, and a lot of your adjustments to blitzes are on the inside part of the formation. Between Aaron and Rob and Wes on the inside, and what Deion was able to do on the outside of the field the other night, along with Julian (Edelman) made a few catches, Chad (Ochocinco) had an opportunity that I missed him on, so there was definitely some plays that we had some great chances on, both on the inside and the outside, and again, it goes back to where they cover. If they’re not going to cover Deion going up the sideline, then we’re going to try to make that play, and if they do then we’re going to try to throw it somewhere else and it’s just a matter of where they’re not.

Does every receiver have a ‘hot’ route, an adjustment they make?
No. No. Sometimes you’ll call a play where all five guys have short routes, so if they do blitz I have choices; there’s some routes where guys have deeper routes and maybe one guy will be the adjustor based on a blitz look. It can vary; there could be two guys, there could be three guys, it’s just a matter of the play that’s called versus the pressure we face.

And Welker always does (have a ‘hot’ route)?
No, not necessarily. Because sometimes he’s got a different route, he’s focused on something different and then you can protect to his side and say, ‘I don’t care what happens to Wes’s side’, but if they come off the other side, and Rob, you’re going to be the guy or the running back, you’re going to be the guy. So it’s really just a matter of what we’re trying to attack.

On Kurt Warner's belief that the pressure to be perfect eventually takes its toll:
No, I don’t, because I feel like my job is to go out there and score points. If I’m not scoring points, I’m not doing my job. Our offense, when coach puts us out there, that’s what he expects us to do. He never says, ‘alright guys, we’re going to run four minutes off the clock and then we’re going to punt.’ He says every time we go out there, we’re trying to score. And we’re trying to score touchdowns. The pressure to score touchdowns, every quarterback should feel that pressure if that’s what pressure is.

Can you tell if you’ve had good practices that you’ll play well?
I think it gives you a pretty good indication of the focus and the heightened awareness of the team if you have a really good week of practice. Sometimes we’re practicing a little bit uneven and you’re not quite sure how it’s going to go. There’s other nights, say we’re playing on Sunday, and you’re sitting in team meeting on Saturday night saying, we know what we’re doing. We got a damn good plan, we’re prepared, then you can go out there and play with confidence. Believe me, there’s times you’ve felt that and then we go out there and lose. I don’t think it’s 100 percent. Ultimately, what decides the game is your level of execution on Sunday not your level of execution in practice, but if you practice well it certainly gives you a much better chance than if you practice poorly.

Were you confident last week?
Yeah we were, we definitely were.

Dennis & Callahan have terms this game 'Uggs vs. Suggs' [Brady is a pitchman for Australian boot-maker Uggs]
(Laughs) Maybe I’ll send him a few pairs to soften him up for the game.

Any fan left in you when you see the Niners advance?
Well I’m not a fan of the 49ers anymore. I think there’s a lot of people in the Bay Area that are happy, a lot of people that are friends of mine are happy. My college roommate was at the game and he had fun, one of our great family friends was here this weekend cheering for us, so he was pretty happy when I saw him after our game.

Did you watch the Ravens-Texans game yesterday?
I did. I did watch that game, which was pretty rare and I was watching a lot of the other game, so yesterday I was probably more of a fan. And in the breaks I got started on my Baltimore stuff.

Mixed emotions seeing Ed Reed carried off the field?
I love Ed Reed. If I could be a defensive player, I’d be Ed Reed. Or Ray Lewis, between those two guys. We’ve got guys that are getting banged up too. I’m sure Ed will be there – this game means everything to our season, so if he has any chance of playing, which I’m sure he’s got a chance, I’m sure he’ll be playing. And he’ll be playing good, I can promise you that.

Does 2009 playoff loss to Ravens play a role this week or chance to go to Super Bowl all the motivation needed?
That’s all we need. This is nothing about ’09 or ’10, this is nothing about last week or last season or last month or 10 years ago, it’s about this week, and the clock’s ticking and every second that goes by we’re one second closer to getting to that game. So we’ve got to use our time wisely to prepare, get our rest and be ready to go out and face our biggest challenge of the season.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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