FOXBOROUGH – Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spoke to reporters today about a variety of topics, including how the team is working on its weaknesses. Whatever those might be:
Do you feel like you match up better with one of the three teams you might face?
TB: “They’re all the best in the league, there’s very little margin for error at this point. I think this week we’re trying to make some improvements on the things we haven’t done very well over the course of the season. Hopefully those will help us next week, whoever we may play. But I don’t think we have a pool in there or anything of who we want to play or anything. I think whoever it is is going to be a damn good team and we’re going to have to go out there and play our best game of the year to beat them. I think that’s really what we’re focused on.
Doesn’t seem like there’s a lot to fix…
TB: “There certainly is a lot to fix. I don’t want to sit here and tell you all the things we’re working on. But there’s plenty of things that we need to figure out ways to do things better. You know, certain guys haven’t been out there in a few weeks. A guy like Aaron (Hernandez) and Deion (Branch) and hopefully they can be out there to practice and get better and make some improvements. There’s teams that are practicing today that do have games this weekend and the team that we play is going to win a playoff game this weekend and they’re going to have made improvements and I sure hope we can make improvements too. So that’s what we’re focusing on.
When you lost Kevin Faulk and his third-down role, were you worried how you would compensate and how have you?
TB: “Certainly. I think any time you lose a dependable, consistent player like Kevin who has performed so well under pressure over the years, there was really nobody on the roster to fill that void and to get Woody (Danny Woodhead) the next week … [he’s] really stepped in and done a great job of running, catching, blitz pickup. He’s a smart player. He’s really filled that role pretty well. And I think we’re very fortunate to have a guy like Woody step in like he’s done. That’s certainly a great credit to him coming from the Jets and a different offense and different system than the things we’ve asked him to do here and he’s done a great job of it.”
Probably one of the better seasons where guys have just stepped in?
TB: “Yeah and I think that’s a credit to those guys, a credit to the coaches of getting those guys up to speed and those guys taking the coaching and understanding what it takes to be successful here. It’s not an easy program to step into. I think there’s quite a bit that goes into each offensive and defensive scheme so… I’ve been in the same system for a long time and I make mistakes. So those guys that are coming in right off the street and stepping in and filling big roles for us in big situations and big games has been pretty impressive.
How much have you had to do to make sure guys are on the same page?
TB: “We spend a lot of time communicating about the different things that may come up or have come up. It’s a constant process of watching a bunch of film this morning on things that we’ve done over the last 16 weeks and saying, ‘OK, this was a good way and this was a not-so-good way. Was this the spacing we need? This spacing doesn’t work. Is this the timing we need?’ Hopefully as those things come up it’s probably good to make some of those mistakes in practice rather than always learning in games. You take the learning when it comes. But it’s a constant process, it happens in the meetings, happens in the walkthroughs, happens in the games. And everyone is trying to make good decisions.
What does it say about the personnel department that these guys show up in the huddle and you know he’ll be capable at what he does?
TB: “We as players, whoever they bring in is going to be able to play, be able to handle what we’re doing. And if you can’t handle it, you’re going to be out of here pretty quick. So guys who stick around, they’re here for a reason. I think they’ve earned a trust and respect of the coach and scouting department, all the people within the organization that they’re going to be able to do their job and do it effectively no matter what the situation.
Are you amazed at how well you guys adjusted after the Moss trade?
TB: “I wouldn’t used amazed but I would say it’s kind of what we were hoping would happen. I think anytime you lose a great player, other guys have to fill the void and not necessarily with the same skill set that Randy had but with the skill set of the players that are here. And we’re continuing to try to do that now. We’re trying to continue to find ways to be effective getting the football to guys who are doing good things with it. Whether we lose Kevin over the course of the season, Randy, Laurence Maroney, all these other guys..Steve Neal, guys who are filling in say, ‘OK, what are my strengths? How am I going to play to those strengths and how can we be effective against the defenses that we’re playing?’ That’s part of the coaching that we’re getting is to figure out ways to still be effective.
Will you watch the games this weekend?
TB: “I’m not sure. I don’t think I’ll be scouting them or anything. We’ll be paying attention, certainly.”