FOXBOROUGH ó Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addressed the media on Wednesday, the first time he has done so this offseason in an official capacity.
At this point in the year, the veteran quarterback likes to mostly offer insight on what he expects of himself. But he is invariably prodded on his young ensemble of receivers, which was the case after the second Patriots minicamp practice. Brady also had valuable takes on newcomers, his work ethic, and whose opinions he values most.
Here's parts of of what he had to say Wednesday.
On what he tells teammates after minicamp to be prepared for training camp
"I think we really had our vacation. I think that part's over. Not that you shouldn't enjoy time with your family and stuff like that. For that seven months we're pretty busy every day. I think you really focus on being preparation for camp. It's really a time to start accelerating your preparation because you've got a lot of time to basically what we've done these last four weeks, you know what you need to improve on, maybe it's conditioning or any particular aspect of your game that you really need to work on that showed up in this particular camp and you've got five weeks to work on it, make it better so you come into camp at the most important time, really at your best."
Is he going to Brazil, possibly for the World Cup?
"I'm not sure. I haven't finalized everything. It's a busy time. I've got three kids at home so they take up a lot of time and energy. I know my wife's heading down there which will be fun for her."
How important is this time for players, and what does it mean for a guy like Aaron Dobson who is out?
"It's always better if you're practicing. I think that's really how you make the improvement. You work really hard to put yourself in a position to make the improvement. Some people are dealing with different situations. If you're healthy you try to come out and get better. The guys who aren't really have to really do whatever they can to get back as soon as they can because you can't, when you get behind training camp it's hard to make up. Things are moving so fast at that point, improvements are so dramatic everyday with installation and correcting all the errors, you just gotta go through it. It very much conditions your body for the rigors of a 16-game season. All those guys are working hard to get back. We'll be a better team when we're at full strength with all the guys healthy and excited and ready to go."
Does it help to have Kenbrell Thompkins and Josh Boyce available for a full offseason?
"It's been great. I love working with those guys. We've had a great relationship since they got here over a year ago. They put a lot of time in, a lot of effort to get to the point where they're at now. And now they've gotta take advantage of it. You're only a young player for a certain amount of time in the NFL. At that point, people are just waiting for you to produce. You can't make -- nobody can really make mistakes. Not if you want to be a good offense. The best teams have the most consistent, dependable players and that's what everyone is our here trying to be for our team because that's gonna make our team
the toughest to beat."
What are his impressions of Jimmy Garoppolo?
"I really enjoy working with him. I think he's obviously a very talented young man. It's been fun to be out here. He works hard everyday. He's been out here at practice. And Ryan Mallett, one of my good friends out here, he's missed a couple days. We've got a good quarterback room. I think everyone really displays good leadership, a good positive attitude. We try to be the ones that are held accountable everyday for our actions. If the quarterback messes up, it's hard to make a good play. The more the quarterback can do the right thing on the field, whether that's a mike call or anything involved with the scheme and then the physical aspect of the play, throwing the ball to the right guy in the right coverage and making the right read, those are -- that's what playing quarterback is all about."
Does Garoppolo have good command of the offense as a leader?
"That's the role and the responsibility for our team is whoever plays that position has to take a strong leadership position. There's no one else that's gonna do it if the quarterback doesn't do it. That's a trait that all the quarterbacks have. Jimmy's got very good leadership skills."
With all this talk of your game falling off (no longer a top 5 quarterback), does that fire you up?
"(Laughs) Umm, Iím always pretty fired up. So I think thereís people that always have opinions about us as athletes. You just try to go out there and do your best and go home and hope that you left it all on the field. Some days you donít play your best, but thatís sports. Iíll try to go out there and be the best I can be this year and umm Ė were they Jets fans or Dolphins fans or Bills fans? Patriot fans? I donít know. Everyoneís a little biased. My wife thinks I played pretty good, my mom thinks I played pretty good. So that doesnít matter."
Is linebacker Jamie Collins a secret weapon on the goal line?
"(Laughs) Weíll see. Like I said, weíll see once the pads come on. I asked if he felt a little smarter when he got in the offensive huddle. Vince [Wilfork] heard me and said ĎWell heís definitely not as tough.í "
Is it your responsibility to help along younger quarterbacks?
"I think being the best I can be for this team, however I can help us win. Thatís ultimately what my goal is so, whatever I need to do to help our team win, thatís what I try to do. However that plays out with the other guys. Certainly, if those guys are gonna contribute, certainly whatever I can add to help them perform better is how I want to be as a leader and teammate, as a friend, someone they can rely on for information, You know, Iíve had some experience. I try to convey that to a lot of guys."
Can you look back at your experience as a young quarterback?
"Yeah, I was pretty fortunate to come in at the time when I did with coach Belichick. I got to learn the offense at the same time everyone else did. My first year was everyone elseís first year, too. So, we had a lot more time than the kids have now. We had quarterback school where we met five days a week for like nine hours, all going through the playbook. That was really helpful to me because by the time I got to OTAs I pretty much knew everything. And then you have the opportunity to compete. We kept four quarterbacks my first two years so, it was just a great position for me to be in to sit back and learn and watch and understand the things I needed to do to help us. And when I got the opportunity, I tried to take advantage of it."
School? That's must've been fun...
"I know, school, 9-to-5? Taking notes and going home at night and going through drawings and sketches but, I mean, youíve gotta do it. Youíve gotta put in the time if you want to be special at this game, than youíve got to do whatever it takes. Some things come a little more natural to some people than others. The mental part came a little more natural for me. I think Iíve really had to work hard on the physical part of what it takes to be an NFL player because, thereís a reason why I was a sixth round pick, because I didnít have much ability. So youíve gotta try to work hard to improve those things over the years while still keeping the mental game sharp."