FOXBOROUGH — Are you ready for some real football?
Tom Brady is.
The Patriots quarterback addressed the media at Gillette Stadium this morning and said the players have a sense of urgency and are excited to get the season started.
“I’m ready as could possibly be,” Brady said from the podium in the media work room. “I think everyone has put a lot of work in the last six weeks to get to this point. We’ve moved on from the preseason and I think getting here for a regular season week has been a lot of fun for the guys. There’s certainly a lot of urgency in the air. The guys are excited to watch a lot of film on these guys (Dolphins). We’ve got a pretty good understanding of what they do well and the things we’re going to try to take advantage of. It’s good.”
Brady addressed the potential of the team’s passing game, which has not received rave reviews during training camp or the preseason.
“I think we’ve been a little bit inconsistent over the course of the preseason and we’re trying to get a lot of things straightened out,” Brady said. “We’re trying to do the things that we’ve consistently done well, whether it’s training camp, whether it’s practices, whether it’s games, but look, we haven’t had a ton of practices so that’s when the inconsistencies come up, that’s why we’re going out to work on these things. We’re a long way from figuring out where we’re going to be. I’m sure every week we’re going to improve if we keep working hard at it.”
More from Brady’s Q&A session:
On the Dolphins cornerbacks:
Brady: “They’re very good and we’ve played them plenty of times to understand that and Vontae’s [Davis] really a ball hawk. He’s made some great interceptions against us, especially. But he’s very talented, he has all the tools of a great player. And Sean Smith’s another one, both those guys are the same age. He’s long, he’s tall, he’s physical. He covers well, for a big guy he moves very well. They have two very good corners. Benny Sapp who goes in there in nickel situations is a very good player and has caused us some problems too. It’s a dangerous group. They’re experienced in the secondary, they’ve been playing together now for a little while. They’re very good especially when the pass rush gets going, it’s loud at home. I think that we experienced that last year when we were down there. They were really revved up early and thank God for some special teams play because offensively we didn’t play as well as we would have liked and we’re going to need to play a lot better this time down there.
On having another Gronkowski (Rob’s brother Dan) on the roster:
Brady: “He seems excited to be here, I think the two brothers were giving each other headlocks in the locker room yesterday. They’re excited and he seems to be a nice guy, mature, and he has some familiarity with what we’ve done being with Josh (McDaniels, former Broncos coach) the last few years, so the more good players we have, the better football team it’s going to be.”
On if the Patriots have something to prove this season after the recent early exits from the playoffs:
Brady: “There’s only one team every year that has a good season and we haven’t been that team in a long time, so how this team takes to that challenge, we’ll see, I don’t know. This team has never been together in its current state with that opportunity, so how the other teams did, measured up, this is not those teams. This team will have its own identity and it’s all going to be based upon the work we put in, the toughness that we play with, the way that we play under pressure. It sucks to lose at the end of the year, there’s no doubt about that, but we’ve got a great opportunity to be on this team with opportunities this year and we’ll see if we can take advantage of them.”
On the atmosphere in the locker room with all the new guys joining the Patriots:
Brady: “We have high expectations. Coach Belichick lays it on us every single day what he expects from us, so when the new guys come in, you get used to the program pretty quick. He doesn’t accept anything less than our best every day in practice, every day in the meetings, every day in the walkthrough, so when we’re not performing at a high level, they’re going to hear about it, so the new guys that come in? Who knows? I’ve never been a new guy to come in so I really don’t know. I just know that every time I take the field in practice, I’m trying to be a great leader for the team, I’m trying to perform at my very best and that’s a 365-day a year process. It’s not just, ‘OK, now it’s the first week of the regular season, let’s really ramp it up,’ no, this is something that’s been on all of our minds for a very long time.”
On playing in Miami and Brady’s 4-5 record down there:
Brady: “It’s always a tough place to play. We’ve had our struggles down there [and] we’ve had some great wins, but we play them at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year, and it always seems to be a tough place to play. It’s a division rival. They put a lot into the game, we put a lot into the game, and it’s going to be fun – a fun way to start the year.”
On Brady’s “clock ticking” now that some time has passed since the team won a Super Bowl and he’s had some injuries:
Brady: “Well, I think you realize how tough it is to win games over the years, and I think that when you’re out there as a veteran player and you provide the leadership for the team because you’ve been experienced – I’ve been experienced in this program. We’re hoping to go out there every year and put together a winning season and it’s frustrating when we don’t do that. It’s frustrating when we have a bad day of practice, so we’re trying to make the improvements so that we can be a great football team. That’s a lot of things; that’s consistency, playing well under tough conditions, it’s playing well under pressure. How this team stacks up against the people that we’re going to face – that’s why we’re playing the game. That’s the stuff that coach [Bill Belichick] stresses. We’ve got to go out there and practice and practice at a high level. Every time you take the field it could be your last time, so you’ve got to put everything you can each week into the games. This week, who knows if it’s your last week? You really don’t. I think that maybe that perspective has helped me a little bit as well.”
On if he would have felt the clock ticking seven years ago, when he was younger and had not suffered through any injuries:
Brady: “I think that injuries are certainly part of the game and I’ve been very fortunate over the years to be able to play consistently. [There’re] fluky things that happen out there and [if] you sprain your ankle the wrong way and you’re not out there and can’t help the team win, then that’s disappointing because if you’re not out there helping the team you’re pretty much useless to the team. Missing a whole season, that was as hard as can be to watch. But you come back with hopefully some more resiliency, a little more mental toughness and you understand that each week you have a great gift – you get to go out there and do something you really love to do and to play at a high level, and ultimately try to help your team win.”
On new guys looking for a championship joining the team and bringing a sense of urgency:
Brady: “I’m not sure. Look, it’s hard to win games. You can’t come here and think, ‘Oh just because now I’m on this team we’re going to [win]. Boy, it’s going to be easy.’ Everyone starts at the same point every year. Look, we’ve added new guys [and] other teams have added new guys. We have new coaches and some other teams have new coaches. We’re trying new things on offense [and] so are other teams, so like I said, how it all comes together, that’s why we’re playing the games. That’s why we go out there and practice – to see how it all fits together. You win games and you put yourself in a good position. That’s what we’re trying to do out here; we’re trying to win these games. The game that we have coming up on Monday night against a division opponent, there’s nothing more that you could ask for to start the year. We’re all excited. We’re excited to be out there playing in a big game after a long layoff, and we’ll see where we measure up.”
On the time it takes for the team to mesh when you have so many new guys coming in:
Brady: “The way that you mesh is being together and playing, making mistakes and correcting mistakes, so there’re usually not a lot of mistakes with guys that you’ve played with for five or six years. There’re still mistakes because things come up and the other team makes good plays, but as the season goes on, hopefully you make less and less mistakes. A team like Miami, they put a lot of pressure on you in a lot of different ways. We’ve got to understand what they’re trying to do to us by trying to study a lot of film and see the things they do well so that we can hopefully not make critical mistakes against them. By the time the ball is snapped on Monday night, we’re all hopefully going to be on the same page, doing the things that we need to do consistently to get the ball in the end zone, because offensive football, you need to make very consistent plays in order to sustain drives and get the ball in the end zone. If you don’t do that, then you’re not going to score points. If you don’t score points, you lose the game.”