Is Tom Brady calling out Patriots Nation?
The Patriots quarterback spoke to a large assembly of media in the locker room today about the challenges the team faces this Sunday against the New York Jets, and the disappointment he felt when he saw so many empty seats in the second half at Gillette Stadium in the season opening win over the Bengals.
“The road environment is very different than our friendly home crowd, who when I looked up, half the stadium was gone when we were up 21 points early fourth quarter, which I wasn’t so happy about,” Brady said. “I don’t think the Jets fans leave early. They’re going to be loud the whole game. Communication is always an issue.”
But do Jets fans stay until the end of the game? That did not appear to be the case Monday night when the Jets took on the Ravens in the Meadowlands where Jets fans reportedly left early with New York trailing by a point with four minutes left in the game.
The rest of today’s Q&A with Brady follows:
Q: Any shot of you throwing us a bone next week and talking at the podium?
Brady: Maybe. With a win, maybe we could do that. I just feel so comfortable in here [locker room].
Q: Can you talk about that intensity and the rivalry this week with the New York Jets?
Brady: They’re a great rival for us. [When] we play them, it seems every game comes down to the end. Over the years, there’s been a lot of transition with players and coaches and so forth. They’ve got a good team. They’ve got a very good defense. Last year we didn’t do so well down there, so we’ve got to go down and try to score more than nine points. That’s what we’re thinking about offensively.
Q: Have you spoken to Laurence Maroney and what was your reaction to the trade?
Brady: I didn’t get a chance to talk to Laurence yet. That just happened late yesterday. There’s a lot of player movement. Laurence has been a great back here. That’s what happens.
Q: Did anything surprise you on the Jets defense that you’ve seen in the last 24 hours or have you seen them enough over the last number of years?
Brady: I think I definitely have a better feel for them this year than I had last year. Last year, you weren’t really sure who the guys would be. We had played Rex [Ryan]’s defense before but never with Jets personnel. Seeing how they played their guys and the strengths of their guys, we have a better feel this year. Of course you’ve got to go out and execute still, and everything they do, they do very well. They’re big. They’re physical. That game the other night, that was two great defensive teams playing. We’ve got to stand up to them. That’s what it comes down to. We’re pretty physical, too. And we’ve got to really stand up to their presence.
Q: This Randy Moss-Darrelle Revis battle, do you get into that? Would you help Moss out a little bit and see if he can win that battle?
Brady: Randy’s a big part of our game plan. He is every week. I know they feel very good about Revis. I know it’s pretty entertaining for the fans. Ultimately, what it comes down to is our offense against their defense. It’s never one guy against one guy. It’s about can we get the ball in the end zone. Obviously, when a lot of attention goes to Randy or Wes, we’ve got to go to other guys, and those guys have to be able to make those plays. It’s a team game. That’s what it comes down to. There’s no one keeping score on these one-on-one battles. Really, what we’re keeping score [with is] the scoreboard.
Q: Over the course of your career, I don’t think I’ve ever heard you use the word hate, or not too often.
Brady: I’ve said it a few times.
Q: But when you talk about the Jets you say ‘hate.’ Why such dislike for them?
Brady: I will say I have respect for the Jets because I think they play extremely hard. And they are very well-coached. It’s just the way the rivalry is. I don’t think there’re a lot of Boston people who like New York people. The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry goes back a long ways. Over the years, there’re have been very competitive football games played between the two of us. Really, we’ve got to go out there. Obviously we all talk, we all feel confident about what we’re doing, but we’ve got to go out there and execute our plays and play well.
Q: When you get on the field, does that intensity get ratcheted up or how does it work when you play a team that’s as big a rival as the Jets are?
Brady: It gets ratcheted up. When you are out there playing against these guys, there’s a certain level of intensity that these rivalries bring out. And it’s not just another game for us. They’re a division opponent. We know how hard it is playing a division opponent on the road. We’ve gotten off to a good start last week. Coach said we’ll have to play a better game than we did last week and I agree with him.
Q: The Jets did a tremendous job of running their mouths throughout the offseason. Do you hear it? And what’s your reaction to it?
Brady: How can you not hear it? Of course we hear it. We just go about our business a different way, and a way that has worked for us. Every coach has their style. And we really take on the style of our head coach, who, as you guys know, doesn’t say much. So we typically don’t say much. And when we do, we get yelled at pretty good. That doesn’t seem that’s the program the Jets are on. That’s the way it is.
Q: Last year in the first game when you played the Jets, you didn’t have Wes Welker. In the second game, he played. The Jets talked about how that made a huge difference. Did you think that was a huge difference between the second game where you blew them out and the first game where they beat you guys pretty well?
Brady: Julian [Edelman] took Wes’s spot in the first game and had a pretty good game down there, too. What they were trying to do was take away our outside receivers and throw to the guy on the inside. We did that in both games. Hopefully with Julian and Wes, both of them will be able to be a factor in the game if Julian plays. Hopefully he does. They’re going to have to deal with all of us. What we showed in the second game was we were better prepared for what they were doing. [In] the first game we played, we didn’t do a very good job of picking up their pressures. They’re a blitzing team. If you don’t pick up a blitzing team’s blitzes, they’re going to stay at it. They really got after us and forced a lot of drives we ended up killing ourselves [on].
Q: You said you got a better feel for the Jets this year than you did last year. Do you attack this defense on Sunday or do you stay back and let them dictate what you do?
Brady: It’s a chess match out there. There are times when you’re aggressive, and there are times when they’re aggressive. You’re not aggressive on every play because you’ve got to take your shots when they’re there. We’re always expecting the line of scrimmage to go forward whether it’s a run or a pass. Every play is ultimately designed to score a touchdown. When you hand off a running play, you’re not expecting to go 70 yards, but you’re expecting to gain yards. We’ve got to play well all around. As an offense, what we’ve shown in the last five games is we’re a balanced team. We’re going to run the ball, and we’re going to throw it, and we’re going to take advantage of both the opportunities. When they’re playing run, we throw. When they’re playing pass, we run it. That’s the hardest way for a defense to play it.
Q: Do the 110 yards that Ravens’ Anquan Boldin gained against the Jets tell you anything?
Brady: No, he’s a good player. I saw the plays that he made. He made a lot of really good catches. I thought the Ravens, they didn’t score a lot of points on them. He had 100 yards, but they scored 10 points. I’m hoping that we go out and execute better than that and hopefully we score more than 10 points.
Q: With struggles that you had on the road last year, how important is that going in there and making a statement?
Brady: It’s a tough place to play. The Meadowlands has always been a tough place to play. The road environment is very different than our friendly home crowd who, when I looked up, half the stadium was gone when we were up 21 points in the early fourth quarter, which I wasn’t so happy about. I don’t think the Jets fans leave early. They’re going to be loud the whole game. Communication is always an issue. We work on it a lot in practice. We worked on it during training camp quite a bit. Last year, we didn’t do a good job of it and that was painfully obvious to all of us. We’ve got to do a better job this year.
Q: What makes this game fun from a media perspective is how different the teams are. From what you know about the way the Patriots go about business and what you’ve seen from the Jets, how would you compare and contrast?
Brady: You’re right; we’re very different teams. Ultimately, we’re trying to play the same style. We’re both trying to play physical. They’re a tough team and we think we’re a tough team. Just the way we go about our business during the week is probably a little bit different. Who knows what’s right or wrong. Our styles work for us, and that’s what’s most important. We’re not trying to be the Jets and they’re not trying to be the Patriots.
Q: Do Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan have any similarities?
Brady: I don’t know Rex too well. I haven’t seen much. I hear him from time to time. Bill’s unlike anybody. There’re not too many people like him. It’s hard for me to think that Rex would be like him.