Tom Brady Q&A, 10/31

Posted on October 31, 2007 
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Here’s the complete transcript of today’s Q&A session Tom Brady had at Gillette Stadium:

Q: Discuss this matchup with the two undefeated teams and yourself against Peyton Manning.
TB: Yeah, I’m sure this week is going to be long, in a sense, to get to the game, but it’s going to go fast as well. We’re playing a great team, I think, in every phase of the game. We know them just as well as we know any opponent, probably, that we play. They do so many things well and are very well coached. They play extremely hard. They play great in the second half; they’re a clutch team so we’ve got to play our best game. I think everybody’s excited.

Q: I know when you look at a defense to prepare for a game each one is different. How much of a factor is Bob Sanders in preparing for the Colts?
TB: He’s a great playmaker for that team. I think he brings a great level of consistency and dependability for that defense. He tackles so well. He’s obviously a leader. When he’s not in the game, I think he’s able to make up for a lot of things that happen on defense and he doesn’t bite on play-action. We always talk about players that guess and he’s one of those guys that is always guessing right. It’s not that he’s guessing, but he’s very instinctive and he’s always in the right place. He’s a great player. He’s one of the best strong safeties that we play. He’s a great tackler and I think they’ve got a group full of guys and I think they really all feed off of Bob.

Q: Is Coach Bill Belichick the same before every game or do you detect any difference in him leading up to this game?
TB: He’s very consistent. That’s one great aspect of his coaching is he’s very black and white. He always kind of speaks exactly what he sees. He know the challenges we face this week and we had a squad meeting this morning and he’s always on top of things. I wish as players we would be as on top of things as he is always. He knows how important this game is for this team and any time you match up against of the best teams in pro football it’s always great to see where you stand. They’re proven over the last bunch of years that they’re really the team to beat so we’ve got to go out and perform certainly a lot better than the last three times that we’ve played them.

Q: What impresses you most about Peyton Manning?
TB: What’s not to be impressed by? He does everything well. He throws the short stuff. He throws the deep stuff. He’s a leader. I mean, once again, he’s a clutch performer. He’s always in command of the team and the offense. Um… he’s a great actor. He can do it all.

Q: What is it about Belichick that makes players still believe in him that maybe the public isn’t able to see?
TB: Like I said, he’s very consistent in the way he approaches each week and he’s able to break down teams and understands what gets you beat and he also understands the way you need to play the game in order for you to play your best. I think there are some coaches that say, “All right. We need to stop the run, the pass, the draw, the screen, the trap,” and give you 25 things so you’re going out there saying, ‘What the hell am I going to stop?” He breaks it down to a couple things and usually… I’ve been playing for him for eight years and he’s never wrong and, usually, we come in Monday morning and look at the evaluations and if we do the things that he really talked about, usually we come out ahead. He’s a great leader and he’s a great coach to play for. We all believe in him and we trust him. He always says that he makes decisions based on the best interest of the team. He truly means that.

Q: Of all the characteristics you applied to Peyton Manning, which of those do you see in yourself? Can you act?
TB: Can I act? You guys tell me. Probably not. No, that’s definitely not like him. I try to just drop back and throw the ball to the guys that are open. He’s probably got a better arm. He’s faster. He’s bigger. He’s probably smarter. He’s proven over the years how consistent he is. I’ve always looked up to Peyton and the way he plays. He’s gotten the best of us the last three times we’ve played them. We’ve got a great challenge and, hopefully, we’re all up for it. When you play the Colts, it’s a team effort. It’s not this offense against their defense, it’s their defense versus our offense. You really have to play a complimentary game. It’s just all phases of the game have to be clicking. There’s just no letdown. Coach always talks about playing for 60 minutes and I think there’s no better example of a team that you have to play 60 minutes against because if you play for 59 minutes and 30 seconds they’ve got a chance to beat you and you just can’t let down against them.

Q: A lot has been made of the way you guys have been playing. How much of a factor is Josh McDaniels in his game plans and the play calling?
TB: Josh has done a great job all year. I think he’s done a great job since he took over the role as a play-caller. I think he has the respect of all the players and all the coaches. I think he’s a great leader for us. He always brings energy. He always brings excitement and enthusiasm. He’s extremely smart. It’s great that he started on defense early in his career under Coach Belichick so when he evaluates defenses, he looks at them through really a defensive perspective, which allows you to find the strengths and the weaknesses of what that team does. Very much like our offense does, that’s what we try to do. We don’t try to just bang our heads against the wall for 60 minutes. You try to find mismatches and try to exploit them the best that you can. What Josh does, I don’t think there’s anybody else who does as good a job as Josh in doing that.

Q: When you evaluate your play or that of another quarterback, how much does passer rating come into play?
TB: I think statistics in general for a quarterback don’t mean a whole lot in that you can tell a guy’s playing pretty good or not. You can tell that when you look at the film, but like I said [last week] after the Miami game, I threw a 3-yard pass and Donte’ [Stallworth] runs for 30 yards. I mean, how great of a play is that by the quarterback? It’s just you can throw an 8-yard completion and it’s not run in for a touchdown and you have a lesser passing rating. It just doesn’t mean a whole lot. Touchdowns, to me, those are very much team goals and scoring goals. I think that’s really something that the team strives to be able to do each year – score points. That’s really why, as Coach always says, he puts us out there. But in terms of… probably, I think the most important thing – and Drew Bledsoe gave me this advice early in my career – I think it was the first game we were sitting on the bench, a Tampa Bay game. He said, “You know, Tom, the thing about [winning in] the NFL is it’s usually the teams where the quarterback makes [fewer] bad plays. If your bad plays are incompletions, great.” I don’t think you can be a great quarterback if you can look great on one play and then throw an interception on the next play, or take a sack, or call the wrong play, or hold on to the ball too long and get strip-sacked. You really want to develop a consistent level of play by making good play after good play, even if the good play is throwing the ball away on third-and-15. I think that’s what the team looks for is a very dependable player that, hey, if the guy is open, you’ve got to throw it and complete it. You can’t miss open receivers, especially against the Colts. You can’t miss your opportunities, whether it be down the field or on third down because usually when you punt the ball to these guys, they’re going to take it and go the other way with it whether it’s their own 5-yard line or they’re getting it on or your 5-yard line.

Q: I know how much you enjoy playing the game. Could you comment specifically on how much you’re looking forward to playing with this receiving corps?
TB: Like I’ve said, I enjoy playing every year. We’ve had great receivers here for a long time. I think I’ve been fortunate enough to play with all of them from David Patten to David Givens, to Deion [Branch] and Troy [Brown] and this group has worked extremely hard. The new guys have really worked hard to learn the offense, understand what this team is about and what makes it successful. They just do what they’re asked and everybody appreciates that. It’s a very unselfish group that works hard and puts the team first. They rank right up there with the other great receiving tandems we’ve had here. I mean, it’s hard to rank. We’ve had pretty good years around here. We’re only eight games into it.

Q: Each team has had its share of negative press this year and now there’s talk of you guys piling it on. Is this a rallying point for this team to some degree?
TB: I think we just, like Coach says, look at every play on the field as a chance to get better and to improve. We play [until] the clock says zero-zero. That’s an interesting question of scoring too many points or I don’t know if that’s ever been a problem here in the past. I think you just try to do the best you can do. As an offense, that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re not trying to let other teams tee off on us, or let them get the best of us. If you call a play, we want to make it a great play and I don’t think we want to come off the field saying, “That was great. I hope they feel good about themselves. Because, you know, we just got the crap knocked out of us.” I don’t think that’s really the approach an offensive football team should take. I don’t think that’s an approach any team takes to tell you the truth.

Q: Tom, does this matchup deserve the hype that it’s been given?
TB: I hope so. I hope it’s a blowout, actually. I’m sure nobody else would like that. They’re a great football team and I think we’ve proven over the last eight weeks that we can play at a pretty high level ourselves. It’s two undefeated teams and, obviously with the history with these teams, it makes for a great matchup. Like I said, it’s going to be a long week, but it’s going to be a short week, too. I think you look back on games always throughout your career and you look at the ones that probably stand out and any time you play the Colts it’s always an exciting game for all the players and all the coaches because you know when you’re playing them you’re playing the best.

Q: What one player that doesn’t attract a lot of media attention do you feel could have a large impact on Sunday’s game?
TB: Uh. Wow. Randy Moss? No, he gets too much. I don’t know. That’s a great question.

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