Tom Brady on wide receiver criticism, the playoff picture, and ‘realistic expectations’ for the Patriots

"I think there's realistic expectations with our circumstances, incorporating different elements, and players, and injuries, and we're just trying to do the best that we can do."

Tom Brady throws a pass against the Houston Texans during the third quarter Sunday.
Tom Brady throws a pass against the Houston Texans during the third quarter Sunday. –Tim Warner/Getty Images

Tom Brady called in to WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Monday for his weekly radio interview following the Patriots’ Sunday night loss to the Texans.

The 42-year-old offered a straightforward assessment of the 28-22 loss in Houston.

“Anytime you go on the road and you get behind early, it makes it pretty tough to overcome,” said Brady.

Discussing the team’s current situation, Brady offered an interesting description of where he thinks the Patriots are at this point in the season.

“We’re not 2-10, we’re 10-2,” said Brady. “I know there’s very high expectations, as there are for us. I think the expectations for our team often are [at] a very, very, very high level, and I understand that. At the same time, I think there’s realistic expectations with our circumstances, incorporating different elements, and players, and injuries, and we’re just trying to do the best that we can do. We’ve got a whole season ahead of us. We’ve got to learn from the things we did last night and try to go out there and try to get a really tough win against Kansas City and see if we can get back to winning.”


Still, as he explained later in the call, the Patriots are familiar with this type of adversity.

“It’s not like we haven’t dealt with losses before,” said Brady. “We’ve dealt with them last year, we’ve dealt with them the year before that, the year before that, the year before that, year before that. I think a lot of it is about mental toughness, and realizing that when you don’t play well, you don’t win. You’re not supposed to win when you put less than your best out there. Sometimes you get away with it, and sometimes you don’t.

“I don’t think anyone’s feeling sorry for us, we’re not feeling sorry for us,” Brady added. “We’re going to try and go out there and have a great week of preparation and see if we can get back to winning. We’ll let everyone else kind of enjoy the holidays at this point, but for us, our focus is on football and trying to do a better job this week than we did last week.”

Here are a few other topics Brady touched on during his call:

How he felt about players being sick with the flu

With the news that multiple Patriots were dealing with a flu outbreak, Brady was asked about its impact on the game.


“I don’t think it was a factor at all,” Brady said. “Different teams are dealing with different things, and everyone has adversity over the course of the year. It’s a long year. You just don’t wait until everyone’s feeling great to play a game. The games are scheduled and then your life happens.”

That said, he acknowledged that it’s affected the team in the last week.

“A lot of guys, it was a pretty tough flu bug,” said Brady. “A lot of guys were pretty wiped out, but everyone played hard yesterday, and again, it just wasn’t our best performance.”

Regarding his own health, Brady dismissed concerns that he might be sick too.

“We had a long flight, and the game ended pretty late,” Brady said of sounding “congested,” according to show host Greg Hill.

What he thinks of the race for the AFC’s top playoff seed

The Patriots’ loss on Sunday dropped them down from the AFC’s top seed (which for the moment is now the Ravens).

Asked about how much he thinks about that, Brady downplayed its importance.

“I think that’s the furthest thing from my mind is anything like that,” Brady responded. “I don’t care about any of those [things]. I care about winning the game that’s coming up. I know everyone likes to think about those types of things this time of year. It doesn’t matter. We’ve been 10-0 at this point, we’ve been 5-5 at this point. You deal with those other things, that whole situation would be a consequence of what we do the next four weeks, so you can’t control that.


“All you can control is go out there and trying to win and putting ourselves in a good position,” Brady continued. “You can only win one game per week, and this week it happens to be against the Chiefs. We’re going to have to play a great game in order to beat those guys. ”

His response to wide receiver criticism

During Sunday’s loss, sideline footage appeared to show Brady showing frustration with wide receiver Phillip Dorsett.

“People look and alright he’s saying, ‘I’m done with him,’ with regard to Dorsett, or ‘He’s upset at [N’Keal] Harry,'” Hill said to Brady during the interview. “Does that end up being something that you guys as a unit kind of understand is going to go on because you’re in the heat of the battle?”

“I would never think that way, [saying] ‘I’m done with him,'” Brady replied. “That’s crazy. I think that a quarterback’s responsibility is to try to lead and motivate, and we’re often the voice of a lot situations, because first we’re calling the plays in the huddle, and B, we have a lot of information from the coordinators and the coaches on what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to motivate people and get people to play their best.”

Brady defended his receivers, trying to give context especially for the performance of Harry, the Patriots’ 2019 first-round pick.

“Guys are trying. I got no problem with, I love playing with Phillip Dorsett,” said Brady. “I love playing with N’Keal. N’Keal’s working his tail off. And he hasn’t had a lot of opportunity out there, and he’s learning as he’s going. But to expect someone to go out in their third game of the year and be perfect, I think that’s unrealistic for anyone. I love what N’Keal’s bringing, we’re gaining confidence every week. I love what Jakobi [Meyers’s] doing, we’re gaining confidence every week. Gaining confidence with Mohamed [Sanu]. Julian and I, we’ve played together for a long time, and I think that shows itself pretty well. I think you see James and I, we’ve played together a long time.

“So that’s just part of our sport is dealing with new situations and trying to deal with them the best way you can,” Brady continued. “This team’s facing some unique ones in and of itself, and just like every team has. We’re not different than any [other] team, but at the same time, we’re in a decent position again. Now we have to go and try to beat a great football team at home in Kansas City.”

At a loss over Michigan woes

Brady was told that a caller had proposed asking the Patriots’ quarterback about why Michigan — where Brady attended college — hasn’t been able to beat rival Ohio State in football. The Wolverine’s last win came in 2011, suffering an eighth consecutive loss to the Buckeyes on Saturday, 56-27.

“I think I was the 781 [area code] caller who proposed that question,” said Brady. “I’m at a complete loss. I have no idea. It’s been tough. I got a few bets I have to settle, so that makes it even tougher.”

Asked if they were monetary bets, Brady explained the circumstances.

“Mostly pride and a few pictures that I’m sure you’ll see at some point, hopefully with my face covered so nobody knows me,” said Brady.

Two of his current Patriots teammates are former Ohio State players who had bets with their quarterback.

“[Nate] Ebner and John Simon,” Brady explained. “And they love to collect and gloat just like most Ohio State people do.”

“Gloating,” Brady joked, “they love to do that.”

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