On Wednesday if there was any doubt Brady is focused on the task at hand, his abrupt end to his press conference told you about all you need to know.
His press conference lasted just under five minutes (he stepped down and was headed off in 4:48) with the veteran quarterback answering questions on going up against the Cowboys’ Greg Hardy, to how he’ll handle his pregame preparations at a new stadium and for what making his 100th start will mean to him. He was cordial, direct, but you could definitely feel the sense of purpose and determination, which has been evident each time we’ve heard from him this season.
All-in-all he answered seven questions, before the same internal clock he has in the pocket on game day seemed to go off at the podium, with the quarterback simply saying, “I’m done, I’ve got work to do,” as he stepped down and was out the door to get back at it.
He’s got plenty to prove as elsewhere Roger Goodell was in front of the cameras Wednesday in New York talking about the league’s ongoing appeal hoping to eventually suspend him.
The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin was there and asked Goodell point blank, “Why is the NFL appealing this? Why is it important to keep the fight going instead of just letting the story end?”
Goodell responded, “Well, Ben, that’s your description. To our description it’s simply about our rights under our collective bargaining agreement.”
“This isn’t about any individual player or any individual incident,” Goodell also told him. “This is about the rights we negotiated in 2011, the rights for us to have the authority to make sure we can discipline.”
He also went on to talk about how there have been fewer arrests and the success the league’s policies seem to be having in the decrease in personal conduct policy violations they’ve seen. But one final sentence was telling.
“Protecting the integrity of the game is not something we’re going to compromise,” said Goodell.
That means he’s still hell-bent on getting Brady after being beaten in the courts last month. It’s left Brady seemingly bitter and frustrated and the Patriots QB appears to be focused on the only thing he can control, which is his play on the field.
It’s been just three games but it’s setting to be one of the biggest seasons of Brady’s career. He’s completed an astonishing 72.2% of his passes while leading the offense to a league-best 60% 3rd down conversion rate and an impressive 39.7 points per game. The Patriots are marching up and down the field with precision at this point of the season and the worst part is, they’re not even clicking on all cylinders just yet.
Needless to say it’s going to be interesting to see how Brady and the offense continue to progress in the months ahead. The only thing likely sweeter than having his suspension overturned last month would be putting Goodell back in the position of having to hand him the Lombardi trophy one more time. That’s something Goodell is likely dreading, but if Brady continues playing at this level all season, the two might be on another collision course towards each other in February.
And Goodell is probably dreading just that.
BELICHICK’S PROPOSAL GAINING MOMENTUM
Following the controversial end of Monday night’s game between the Seahawks and Lions, it sounds like the league might be open to a proposal by Bill Belichick that initially wasn’t approved.
Belichick had suggested that all plays should be reviewable, especially considering there’s so much at stake for every coach and team based on calls that are made that directly affect the outcome of the game.
On Wednesday night, Albert Breer Tweeted that Goodell is considering it:
In the wake of Monday night, Goodell on Belichick's proposal to make all plays reviewable — "It clearly is going to be reviewed again."
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 7, 2015
Some would argue that it will make the games longer and won’t be good for the game. But in the end the priority should be more about getting it right than anything else, which is why Belichick obviously suggested it to begin with.
WEEDEN HAS NO STORIES ON FORMER TEAMMATE SHEARD
Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden was asked if he had any good stories about Patriots defensive lineman Jabaal Sheard, with the two having spent time together previously in Cleveland with the Browns.
Weeden told reporters that Sheard was simply a quiet professional who did his job, which so far seems to be the case from what we’ve seen of him since he’s been here.
“I don’t know if I have anything good (stories) about Jabaal,” Weeden said on Wednesday. “He was always real quiet, a super quiet guy. A super nice guy. I don’t have anything good for you guys. He would always walk around with a sweatshirt with a hood on.”
“He had the dreads, but just a pro. He went about his business and didn’t say a whole lot. He worked his tail off, and when it came to Sunday, he was ready to go. He played his tail off and was a good player for us.”
HICKS SETTLING IN
According to Belichick, recently acquired defensive lineman Akiem Hicks has been working hard and his familiarity with some of the terminology, having played for former Patriots coordinator Rob Ryan in New Orleans, has helped him in picking things up.
“He’s worked really hard. I mean, he’s a sharp guy,” Belichick told reporters Wednesday. “He’s been in the league, so he’s got a familiarity. And Rob [Ryan]’s defense, I‘d say there is probably some carryover from what he did in New Orleans to what we do here. I’m not saying it’s the same, but there is some part of the family of each of those that’s connected.”
“But yeah, it’s just kind of learning our words and our terms and relating them to things he’s done in the past. I don’t think we’re going to be asking him to do things he’s never done before. I think he’s working hard to pick it up. We’ll see how quickly it all comes together. I’d say he’s making good progress. Having a few extra days, that’s helped, too.
GRONKOWSKI A FAN OF COWBOYS’ WITTEN
One thing that fans should keep an eye on this weekend is the touchdown race between Dallas tight end Jason Witten and Rob Gronkowski, who are both very close in career touchdown numbers.
Gronkowski already has 58 career touchdowns over his first five seasons, while Witten has 59 in the thirteen seasons he’s been in the league. That’s a staggering total when you think about it and it’s setting up a fun storyline to watch when the two hit the field this weekend.
Rob Gronkowski spoke to reporters on Wednesday and talked about Dallas tight end Jason Witten, who he admitted he’s admired and followed his career for a long time.
Oh yeah, definitely. I’ve been watching him ever since I’ve been in high school, college,” Gronkowski told reporters on Wednesday. “Definitely always watched him and always tried to take notes from his game and develop it into my game. He’s a great tight end and one of the best to ever play, so the way he plays to see how he gets open in the field and try to take it to my game. I loved watching him growing up.”
Now he’ll get to watch him from the sideline on Sunday with a chance to move ahead of him in the NFL record books as he and his teammates look to improve to 4-0.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary