But the players didn’t need to read the papers, check the blogs or turn on the tube to see their coach’s vitriol. It was there for them during the game and then again on Friday, and it sounds like the bill will come due for the players on Thursday night at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
“I think we’re all playing,” Tom Brady said on WEEI’s “Dennis & Callahan” show this morning. “We’re all expecting to play. I don’t know how long we’ll play. But he told everybody yesterday, ‘Get ready to play.’ “
OK, we’ve heard the “everyone needs to be ready” line before, and so the quarterback’s words might not translate directly into a lot of playing time for the starters against the Giants. But it’s clear that Belichick’s message came across loud and clear.
“He gave it to us pretty good on Friday after the game and then again yesterday,” Brady said. “There’s always a running joke with our team about humble pie, and he was serving it up on Friday. Just what we needed, we didn’t go out and play very well. Hopefully we can learn from it and move on.”
Brady added that, despite the offense rebounding late in the first half and into the third quarter, “He gives it to everybody. I don’t think it’s only a defensive thing. I think there are days when offensively we can certainly do things better, especially Thursday night. We had the ball for 14 minutes. We couldn’t do anything to stay on the field early on.”
But it didn’t take until that Friday meeting for the message-sending to begin. Brady got the picture when Belichick declined to go for a fourth-and-short during the game.
“I think he was just pissed off at us,” Brady said. “At that point I think he was pissed off at everybody. I went over, I said, ‘Coach, it’s six inches.’ He was like, ‘Get off the field!!’ I said, ‘Let’s go for it!’ I think he wanted to do that just to yell at us, just so he could say these are the things we can’t do.”
One bright spot was tight end Rob Gronkowski, whom Brady said has “had a very good training camp.” While couching his comments (“It’s not like this is the Super Bowl or anything”), Brady did say he’s looking forward to seeing the big rookie in the end zone in the regular season.
“I just look forward to him scoring, because I don’t know what he’s gonna do as a celebration,” Brady said. “He tells us after he makes big plays he kind of blacks out and really doesn’t know what he does. That’s kind of the funny part.”
Maybe that explains his celebration on draft day.
Here’s some more from the QB:
On offensive continuity: “I’ve been really fortunate over the years to be in the same system. Josh (McDaniels) became the offensive coordinator after Charlie (Weis) and we kind of morphed into more of a spread offense with Josh. That was just Josh’s style. And we’re kind of morphing now as well, into a much more flexible offense with the things we’re doing. I’ve learned through the whole process. Some guys, like Alex Smith in San Francisco, I don’t know how many coordinators he’s had, but for every year, he’s had a different coordinator. I’ve run certain plays in our offense at least 1,000 times, so I know where all the problems in the play come, and when they come and I know every look that I’m looking for. And over the years, I’ve continued to build up that inventory. So I feel pretty good about whatever’s called — Hey I have a lot of familiar with it, and I’m not gonna make any mistakes on this play. That’s been a huge asset for me. Our offense puts a lot on the quarterback. Some offenses don’t put much on the quarterback, and that’s a detriment to a quarterback’s development because you don’t learn. So the mistakes that you make in your rookie year are the mistakes you’re making in your seventh or eighth year, because you were never forced to grow out of that. You were never really challenged.”
On free time: “I’m not much of a video game guy. … I don’t go out very often. There’s a few shows that I watch. I like “Entourage,” I like “Dexter.” I love “The Shield,” that was probably my favorite. I love “The Wire.” So I can DVR those and then when I get some time, I’ll sit down with my wife and watch those. But my life’s very different now than it used to be. The great part about the football season for me is that I’m in one place. I don’t really have to go anywhere.”
On attending the MMA event on Saturday night: “It was actually a lot of fun. My cousin actually works for UFC, and has for the last 10 years. Probably the best part of the night getting to see him, and hang out with him for a while.”
On which teammate is most likely to be an MMA fighter: “I went with Steve Neal to the fight, and if anyone could, it’s Steve. He knows it and appreciates is. He was like my play-by-play sitting next to me the other night.”