Tom Brady Q&A, 12/19

Posted on December 19, 2007 
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Here’s the full transcript of Tom Brady’s weekly Q&A session with the media this morning at Gillette Stadium:

Q: How do you feel about the Pro Bowl?
TB: How do I feel about the Pro Bowl? Obviously, it’s always an honor to be selected and to have your peers recognize you, and the fans and the coaches. It’s always a very nice thing. I think [you] probably look back at it at the end of your career and appreciate it, but this is certainly a team game. We’ve got a bunch of players who I thought were… As it’s been all season, it’s been a fun year because it’s been such a team effort: The way the receivers have played, the way the offensive line has protected, the way the running backs have run the ball. We have terrific coaches and it’s been fun. It’s been fun. I can say this, the 14 wins we have are a lot better than any selection to any All-Star game.

Q: Did it gratify you at all though to see three linemen who have protected you all season get noted for it?
TB: Yeah, that’s more fun for me than having been selected myself – seeing my teammates go and my friends-especially the guys that it’s their first year. I know they are very excited and I know the team is excited for them and they should be recognized because they’ve done a great job.

Q: Do you guys talk amongst yourselves about how close you are to making history?
TB: Never. No.

Q: It’s only human nature though, right?
TB: Maybe we’re not human. Maybe that’s it. That might have something to do with it. We just don’t. We don’t talk about it. Coach [Belichick] gave it to us pretty good today. We’ve made plenty of mistakes. Especially the last month of football, I don’t think it’s been our best. I think it’s been challenging. I’m glad we’ve got the wins, but it should be a challenge this week with Miami. We always struggle with them. I thought we played really well against them the first time, but I know they’ll present some different challenges this time around.

Q: Certainly there have been a lot of accomplishments this year, between the record and what you folks have done individually and as a team. Can you just talk about, to this point, what has happened and how you perceive and how it happened to go 14-0?
TB: It’s been fun. It’s been a lot of fun and every time you walk into the locker room, and after the games, everybody is celebrating. It’s a lot of fun and really in the most successful season[s] that we’ve had around here, we’ve tended to play our best football late in the year, and I hope that’s the way it continues. We don’t just sit around on Tuesday afternoons saying, “God, this is all [great] and the accomplishments are so great.” I don’t think we get caught up in that a whole lot. We just try to get on to the next week. You win the game, you sit down and relax for a couple of hours and then you get ready for the next week’s opponent and all the demands and pressures that come with playing each week so we try to spend our energies on the things that we feel are most important. That’s really trying to win that football game.

Q: You just said about how the last month hasn’t been your best football. You don’t think it’s been your best the last few weeks and why is that?
TB: I think we played some opponents that — I think it’s always challenging to prepare for teams and what you see one week is not really what you get in a different week. We’ve left some opportunities out on the field and I think we’ve just got to find ways to capitalize, even though the margin for error might be a little bit less late in the season. We’ve got find ways to still capitalize on when the opponent makes mistakes. I’d love for us to continue to play better, I think, as the next two or three games approach.

Q: Do you think your team has been better insolated against some of the outside pressures that come with being 13, 14-0? Is it just the culture of this team and Bill [Belichick]?
TB: Probably. I think he demands the same things every week. Whether we win or lose, I think he coaches us very much the same way. He puts a lot of pressure on us to achieve each week up to our own level of expectations and he rides us pretty good when it doesn’t go so well-and believe me, he always finds something that doesn’t go so well. I think for the guys that have been around here, we’ve had great success here and for the last seven years. I think a lot of that has helped with dealing with all the questions from your family or friends. Every time you step outside of your house, you get great encouragement from our fans and so forth, but at the same time, you can’t buy into what everybody’s saying because, as much as I hate to say it, no one really knows. You guys don’t know, our families don’t know, our friends don’t know. Only we know what we need to correct. Even though you guys say it’s good, it may not be good. If you say it’s bad, it might not be bad, depending on how Coach [Belichick] evaluates it. We listen to him because we truly believe he knows exactly what he’s looking for and we trust in him to know that if we do it the way that he coaches us to do it then we’re going to go out there and perform much better.

Q: You are aware of this though, 14-0. Even though you don’t talk about it amongst yourselves, but you have to be aware that you’re in the midst of this, perhaps, historical accomplishment.
TB: Sure, but at the same time, our goal wasn’t to be, “Let’s be 14-0 this year.” So I don’t think you accomplish much. I don’t think you play this game to be 14-0. You really don’t. Hopefully, you play to every time you take the field you win, but it doesn’t always happen that way. This year’s been a special year in that we are undefeated to this point. Believe me, if we go 16-1 this year, no one’s going to be happy about that. I think you set your goals up because we’ve established that level of championship play here. I think everyone is hoping that we can improved these next couple of weeks so that we’re most prepared for going into whatever happens in January.

Q: Your statistics would suggest that you’ve really elevated your play on a personal level this season. Is that the case or is it a reflection of other things?
TB: I think it’s a reflection of a lot of things. I think it’s been because the receivers that we’ve had this year have done a great job of getting open and catching the football. I think the offensive line has protected very well, I think, as shown yesterday by the three guys selected to the Pro Bowl. The coaching’s been great. I think Josh [McDaniels] has done a great job of understanding the strengths of our team, and of our offense, and the weaknesses our team, and trying to set up game plans that each week take advantage of what we do well. I think the tight ends have played well, the running backs are running well. I think it’s my job to evaluate who’s on the field and they’re doing against the coverage we face and try to throw the ball to the open guy. I think the great thing about playing quarterback here is that you’ve just got to do your job and you don’t have to worry about a whole lot of other things because you have great confidence that all the other guys are going to do what they’re asked to do. I’ve just got to drop back and try to throw it to the guys in blue.

Q: You’ve made it clear in the past that you have a great respect for Peyton Manning. What would it mean if you could break his single-season touchdown record?
TB: I think Peyton’s a great player. I always watch him and admire him in the way that he plays. He has tremendous pressure on him and I think that team relies heavily on what he’s able to do, whether it’s directing things at the line of scrimmage or through his leadership ability. He plays at such a high level of consistency, he’s alone with the few other players in the league I really look at and admire how they play. He’s had great teams and great wins and, last year, winning the Super Bowl, that was a great accomplishment and I think he would say that, like everybody else, he’d rather have that Super Bowl championship than the touchdowns record, which I know is the truth for myself.

Q: How much pride do you take that in your career? If you’ve had a game that didn’t live up to your standards, you’ve almost always come back with a big game.
TB: I think, as an offense, that any time we don’t perform as well as we’d like, we’re coached pretty hard and we try to go out there and play better the next week. There are a lot of factors why things don’t go the way that they do and we can evaluate the mistakes that we make and how to go out and correct them. I’ll focus on what I need to do and I think my teammates will focus on the things that they need to do.

Q: Do you have any special Christmas wishes this year?
TB: None that I care to share, but yes, I do.

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