By: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com
July 29, 2005

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FOXBORO, MA -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady may be the signal-caller of the team; however day one of training camp at Gillette Stadium began the transition of Brady likely playing an even bigger role in the offense this season.

With former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis in South Bend preparing the Fighting Irish for their upcoming season, Weis' role was never officially filled during the offseason. That left head coach Bill Belichick with a new challenge, and when questioned by the media on Friday about his role in the offense Belichick said that as the head coach the success or failure of the team's offense will ultimately fall on him anyway.

"We will work it out. We'll call something," Belichick told the media on Friday. "Ultimately in the end I think I will be responsible for it, just like I have always been. I'm sure when something goes wrong you will be asking me about it. I understand that. Whatever we call, ultimately that will be my responsibility. If you want to put me down as the play caller, then go ahead and put me down."

The atmosphere on the field was certainly different. Weis was notably vocal on the field during his time coaching the offense and was never afraid to call out a veteran if he wasn't happy with their performance. The expectations were always high, and Brady told reporters that things are definitely different now that he's gone.

"It seems a little bit more quiet out here," laughed Brady. "Less swear words. It's different too. One thing with Charlie is you always knew where he was and what his expectations were. That's going to be missed too. Moreso than any other years, there's going to be some great challenges."

According to Brady, one of those challenges will likely be expanding his leadership role as a veteran. He says he's always been very vocal on the field, and so far he claims he's been even moreso this year.

"I have assumed more responsibility every year," said Brady. "Coach Belichick has become more comfortable in me as a player in my role as a veteran, captain and quarterback. That's continuing to grow. I'm more vocal this year than I've ever been before and I enjoy that part of it too. I'm always trying to encourage guys to do their best. When they play their best it helps me play better. We all kind of feed off each other."

But is Belichick comfortable enough to let Brady call every single play during a game?

"Probably not," laughed Belichick when asked if Brady would be calling every play during the game. "I'm not saying he couldn't do it, but it is just one more thing for the quarterback to think about. I think really the system in place that most teams use where quarterbacks may have a chance to change the play when they see something at the line of scrimmage or the defense does something, but you have to start somewhere."

For Brady he says the opportunity to call his own plays is intriguing, but that he's perfectly happy if Belichick decides to take on that role.

"It sounds kind of fun," laughed Brady. "I think you would probably learn a lot as a player doing that. You'll probably start thinking more like a coach. But like I said playing quarterback is hard enough, I don't need to take on more responsibility."

After all he's got enough on his plate. Winning three Super Bowls in four seasons have set the expectations in New England so high that anything short of a championship could almost be considered a failure. There will be moments when the same players who use to look to Weis when times were tough will now look to Brady instead, and he says he's ready for that responsibility.

"I ultimately have to be the best quarterback I can be on every play," said Brady. "If I don't do that we're all going to suffer because that's where it starts and I'm the one who has to really set the example."


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