Patriots

Tom Brady on Elandon Roberts, facing familiar opponents, and losing sleep after losses

"You hate to have nights like that, but you have to do something to change them."

Tom Brady speaking to reporters after the Patriots' loss to the Dolphins. AP Photo/Elise Amendola

It was a near-sleepless night for Tom Brady after losing to the Dolphins 27-24 on Sunday.

The Patriots quarterback has admitted in the past that he struggles to go to bed after losses. Following the defeat to Miami — which cost New England a first-round playoff bye — Brady told WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Monday morning that his emotions were still running too high.

“Yeah, that’s a good assumption,” said Brady when asked if he couldn’t sleep. “I was just tossing and turning. Not much sleep and you just have a lot of emotion after the game. You hate to have nights like that, but you have to do something to change them. It’s important for us to just realize our goals are ahead of us and we have to go out there and try to have our best week and figure out how to win a game.”

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Despite his obvious frustration, Brady remained determined on the road ahead.

New England faces the Tennessee Titans in the wild card round on Saturday at 8:15 p.m.

“You can’t change anything from yesterday,” said Brady. “You can try to correct it and learn from it, but you can’t change it. I’m sure everyone feels disappointment. I mean that’s just part of the natural part of the game when you don’t play your best and you lose and you do things that allow you to lose. For me, that’s what I think about: the plays that I made that I missed that would’ve given us the chance to win. But it’s not my first loss. And you realize that one week doesn’t lead to the next week.

“This week is a new week and we’re going to have to put a lot into it in order to get as much as we can out of it,” Brady added. “And that’s to try to play our best football in the biggest game of the year, because if we don’t win this one, the season’s over.”

The 42-year-old managed to keep the 12-4 Patriots’ season in perspective. Despite the shock of not having a first-round bye for the first time in a decade, New England remains in an exclusive group of playoff teams.

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“Fortunately, our season’s still going,” said Brady. “And even though we lost yesterday, we still have a chance next week. That’s better than a lot of teams, and we’re not going to take it for granted that if we win this week, our season keeps going. That’s a good place to be.”

After losing to former Patriots assistant Brian Flores’s Dolphins, New England now faces another familiar face: Mike Vrabel. The Titans’ coach was a Patriots linebacker from 2001-2008, helping Brady and Belichick win their first three Super Bowl rings.

Brady was asked about what it’s like to prepare for an opponent who knows the Patriots from experience.

“I think it’s just good execution,” Brady explained, “because at this point if you look at Buffalo, their offensive coordinator used to be with us. You look at Miami, their offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, head coach. If you look at the Jets, for example, Adam Gase coached with Josh McDaniels, so they know him. Vrabel in Tennessee, Bill O’Brien in Houston, so in the league there are just a lot of guys that have coached for the Patriots that are now in different places.

“Good football is good football, and that’s keeping the fundamentals and throwing the ball accurately and making plays in the passing game and executing well in the running game,” Brady continued. “That’s what football comes down to. You could draw up a lot of plays, but ultimately it comes down to us getting the job done on the field. That’s what we’re going to have to do this week.”

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What bothers Brady about the loss to the Dolphins was the way in which the Patriots made it easy for their opponent.

“We can certainly execute a lot better than we did yesterday,” Brady admitted. “We had too many unforced errors. Things that Miami didn’t even have to do to stop us. And I think that’s when you know you’re disappointed in the way you played is that it’s just self-inflicted errors. If they go and make — and I give them all the credit for winning — but there are things that we did that we shouldn’t do. We have to tighten those things up.”

One bright spot for the Patriots on Sunday was the performance of makeshift fullback Elandon Roberts. Normally a linebacker, Roberts has grown in his role on offense after injuries pressed him into service at the unfamiliar position.

On Sunday, Roberts made a catch out of the backfield and sprinted 38 yards for a touchdown.

Brady praised the 25-year-old for his catch and run.

“He really did a great job,” said Brady. “We ran that play earlier in the game and he was open. They kind of pressured us, not expecting us to throw the ball, and the second time we got them.

“That guy does everything the team asks him to do,” Brady added of Roberts. “Great teammate, captain, contributor, just really, really proud of him and his effort.”

The play-call was a sign that Roberts has developed since first being put into the fullback position.

“We haven’t thrown the ball much with him in there,” Brady explained. “We were able to do it yesterday a little bit. He showed that he could make the plays, and that was a great thing to see. Hopefully we can keep building on it. As he keeps doing a great job for us, he gets more opportunity.”

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