FOXBOROUGH –- Quarterback Tom Brady appeared to send a strong message to his teammates at his Wednesday press conference –- reiterating the way the Patriots have traditionally approached their business –- and also tossed a salvo at the Dolphins, last week’s opponent.
A few clips from Brady:
Were you surprised that Doug Gabriel was released?
“I don’t make those decisions.”
We know you don’t make the decisions. Nobody has a better sense of who is getting it done as a receiver and who isn’t. Were you surprised when he was let go?
“Like I said, when all those personnel decisions are made, I’m a player on the team and that’s my job to play quarterback. Like I said, the guys that are here, that’s who Coach obviously feels … I wish him the best of luck, I really do. I think he’s a really good person. I wish him the best of luck. I think this team is moving in a certain direction and obviously Coach didn’t feel he was a part of that, just like most guys that Coach lets go doesn’t feel like. As a player, I’m supportive, always, of my teammates. I’m supportive of the guys that we have here that are going to help us work hard, and show up every week and try to compete.”
There was a report in Miami that the Dolphins had your line calls. Is that possible?
“Yeah, someone told me about that on Monday, but I don’t see that. I’d love to see evidence of that; that they could know exactly what our line calls are. Our defense knows what our line calls are and it doesn’t matter. They could say that, but I think that’s a big crock of you know what. I think it’s a matter of how we played. I’m sure if you asked them, it probably sounds good for them to say they have it all figured out, but they’re 6-7 and we’re 9-4, so go tell me who probably has it more figured out.”
Does anyone in the organization have to pick you up after a loss like that on Sunday?
“I don’t think I’m ever a person who lacks confidence or anything like that. I don’t lack confidence in what I think we can accomplish, but some days it looks better than others. I don’t think anybody needs to pump me up.”
Does anyone ever do that for you?
“I have a lot of great leaders on the team that I rely on, that are great teammates of mine. Guys like Rodney, Tedy, and Mike, we all lean on each other. I think we’re all in this together. If we’re going to make something of this year, we have to rely on each other as a team.”
Does Rodney still play a part in that, even though he’s been injured?
“Oh yeah, definitely. He’s as supportive as anybody. He’s what this team has been made of, he’s like Troy Brown and Daniel [Graham], and all the other great leaders we have. There is a certain style about those guys that allows them to be motivated, energized and that’s why guys make it here and some guys don’t make it here. You have to bring it every day. Those guys do, and that’s why they’re great leaders on this team.”
Do you feel like this team is capable of playing consistent and making a push to the playoffs?
“I hope so. I could stand up here and say yes, and we could not be, and I could say no, and we could be. It is all going to be determined by how we play and how we perform the next few weeks. It will be a big test for us. I hope we can match the challenge. I hope that my teammates feel that we have a great opportunity ahead, if we don’t squander it away like we’ve squandered some games away this year.”
Have you seen things from Chad Jackson in practice that he’s developing nicely?
“I think it all depends on what you do out on the game field. He hasn’t been out there the last few weeks. He hasn’t practiced in a few weeks, either. We’re going to see how he does when he does practice.”
In your time here, how has this team responded to adversity?
“This team? I think at times we’ve done it pretty well, and at times we haven’t. I think there’s no really easy answer to that one. We’ve had our back against the wall a few times and performed better than others. There are times we haven’t. We’ll see how it goes this week.”
What is it about December that has helped the team succeed in past years?
“Toughness. Preparation. Playing physical. Playing smart. I think those four qualities have been the makeup of this team, the reason why we’ve been successful late in the year. You come in, you’re 9-4, and you sit at a place where you can go one or two ways – you get better or you get worse. This team has always chosen to get better, to work hard, to put the work in to improve. It can go from this point on; I don’t know how it’s going to go this year. I wish I could tell you. I don’t know. I’m waiting to see, too. I know I’m going to put the work in, I know I’m going to try to set a great example and provide leadership. Hopefully all the guys who have been here for a short amount of time will follow that, just like the other captains, I expect them to provide the leadership. I’m sure they will. But this team is built on some certain qualities. Like I said, if we play that way, I’d feel pretty good that we’ll do pretty good.”
Has that been one of the messages today, in that locker room, that this is what we’re built on, these are our qualities, are the guys in this locker room are the ones going forward with that?
“That’s what we’ve been trying to do since Day 1 of training camp. I think this team has to listen more to what the Coach says. I think if we listen more and we did more of what our coaches told us to do, I think we’d be a lot better off. But at times, I think we figure we can do it our way, and we show there is quite a bit of inconsistency to that. We just have to keep trying to find a way.”