By: Ian Logue/PatsFans.com
May 12, 2010

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The last time Patriots fans saw Tom Brady on the field, New England ended up on the wrong side of a 33-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens and a first round playoff exit.

They had a 15-3 playoff record heading into that game, and had never lost so early into the postseason. Unfortunately that resume didn't stop the Ravens from coming into Gillette and taking it to the Patriots from the first snap of the game. Baltimore runningback Ray Rice ripped off an 83-yard run for a touchdown to give the Ravens a 7-0 lead that they never relinquished. It also set the tone for rest of the game, and has set a tone for the players in New England's locker room this offseason.

Having had a few months to think about it, Brady knows his team wasn't tough enough both physically or mentally in that football game, which is something he told WEEI's 'Dennis and Callahan' on Wednesday they'll need to be when they take the field again in 2010.


Brady hugs Belichick following their victory over the Jaguars during last season. Brady says the team needs to pay more attention to what he says in '10 if they hope to be successful (Photo Credit: SMI/Select)
"Coach always used the words 'mentally tough' to us," said Brady. "And I agree with him. When the going got tough, we didn't get going. We weren't really a mentally tough team last year. I think that's been a big point of emphasis for coach this offseason. Hopefully, we've found ways to address it with each other and also with coach bringing in different players to see if they can bring a little bit of that to our team."

It was an embarrassing loss. Fans can make excuses that losing Wes Welker in week 16 was the problem, but New England's problems went far beyond one player in that game. When the Ravens weren't beating them up, the Patriots spent the majority of the game beating themselves, and it began right from the start of the game. On their first offensive series Brady was hit and sacked by Terrell Suggs and fumbled, gaving the Ravens the ball at the New England 17-yard line.

Five plays later they were down 14-0. Brady said before that game Belichick had warned them about the threat the Ravens posed and how good of a team they were at forcing turnovers. By the time it was over they ended up giving the Ravens 20-points off of turnovers - including a fumble and three interceptions by Brady.

Week after week when the game plan is put together Brady says they're told by Belichick what needs to be done in order to win, and what will happen if they don't. Heading into next season Brady emphasized the fact that the players really need to make more of an effort to do their jobs better and take everything their told by Belichick to heart - including himself.

"We do have the best coach, probably in the history of the NFL. He's got the answers," Brady said. "And when he comes in and talks to us on a Monday morning and says, 'This is what we need to do to win.' And then he comes back the next Monday morning and we lost the game and says, 'I gave you six things and we did one of them,' obviously, it's very frustrating for everybody.

"Me included. There are games where he says, 'This is a turnover-driven team and we can't have turnovers because they're going to capitalize and they've done that all season long. They're plus-12 in turnovers. They've scored this many points off them and if we do this, we're going to lose.' And of course I go out there on the first drive and fumble the ball. I always include myself. I'm at the top of the list. I've got to have a great season in order for our team to be productive. Along with everybody else, but the only person I can really control is myself."

Brady also talked about Welker, who he's spent some time working with this offseason. According to Brady Welker is making him look bad in terms of comparing his own recovery from a knee injury he suffered at the start of the 2008 season. While he wouldn't commit to saying Welker would be ready for their opener against the Bengals on September 12th, he sounded pretty upbeat about his progress. That's definitely good news for fans who are hoping that the guy who has had over 100 receptions in each of the last three years can be ready to return for the upcoming season.

"I love being with Wes. Wes is an old throwback," Brady said. "When you're faced with what he's been faced with this offseason, it's been pretty much, that's how he's approached it. It's really been fun for me to see him and the improvements he makes on a daily basis, when I was pretty much going through the same thing he was going through."

"He's made me look like I was a year behind schedule. He's worked really hard and it's great for me to see."


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