As he does every week, Tom Brady spoke with Jim Gray on Monday night in his weekly radio appearance on Westwood One, and here’s the full transcript of the interview.
Tom, it’s early in the season, it was week two, you don’t want to say it was a ‘Must-win’, but was it?
Well, we’re not quite at that point in the year yet, but it felt pretty damn good to win. It had been a while since February for our team to really experience that feeling of winning. To go on the road in a place that we struggled with in 2009, it felt great to get a win. I mean, they’ve got a Hall of Fame quarterback, a Super Bowl winning coach, it was a big challenge for our team and we met the challenge in all three phases.
So last week you had a lead in the fourth quarter and you relinquished that in the opening season loss to the Chiefs and everybody kind of piled on and said, “The 16-0 season and [going] undefeated, that the Patriots are going to have trouble this year.” Now, we jump back to the other side, you win by 16 points in a fairly dominant performance yesterday, but I’m wondering how you have been taking it. Huge numbers for you yesterday, but are the numbers a little skewed to have made you look better and it’s not as good as we think this week, just like it wasn’t as bad as we thought last week?
I think what we’ve learned is, the NFL is a week to week league. It’s about match-ups and it’s about execution. I mean, there’s not much carryover from the previous week to the following week and what we’ve learned is, a good week of preparation, good execution, great effort, enthusiasm, usually results in wins and I thought our coaches did a great job of getting us ready to go. I thought our players really responded and now we’ve got to turn it around again and go against Houston, a team we played in the playoffs last year and we have them on Sunday in Foxboro and we’ve got to put the same level of commitment and energy, enthusiasm and execution into this week, as we did last week in order to get, hopefully, a similar result.
Yet, you probably left a lot of points on the board again yesterday, at least from my eyes you did. Is that your assessment? That this game could have been in the 50s?
Yeah, I think we felt coming out of the game that we definitely left points out there. We left plays, things that were, maybe atypical of what we’ve done in the past. I mean, I think part of it is improving and we’re learning as we’re going and so much of the early part of the season is about making improvements. We really don’t know what kind of team we’re going to be, that’s why you play the season. It’s a long marathon of a season and we’re trying to figure out who we are so that we can be the best version of ourselves later in the year. But it’s great to learn when you win as opposed to, you know, when you lose.
And what version of this team are you right now?
Well, I think we’re trying to make improvements, probably like a lot of other teams. I mean, we’re 1-1 – I wish we’d be 2-0, we certainly don’t deserve to be 2-0 – but it was a hard fought win yesterday and now we’ve got to, like i said, put the equal amount, if not more, energy into this week. We’re playing a team that’s very capable, certainly on defense. They gave us everything we could handle last year and they’re going to be raring to go. They’ve got [Jadeveon] Clowney, [Whitney] Mercilus, [J.J.] Watt, some really great defensive players and they’ve been playing good all season. So we’re going to need to put a great effort in and we’ve got a lot of guys banged up. Hopefully we can gain confidence in our plan over the course of the week and then go out and do a great job of executing it.
“Hopefully he can be out there, but we’ll see.” – Tom Brady on Gronkowski’s groin injury.
Let’s talk a little bit about some of the people who are banged up. You’ve been used to answering this question for years and you’ll get used to answering it this week. How’s Gronk?
[Laughs] Yeah. He’s hard working. I know he’s in there getting treatment. He came out with about three minutes left in the third quarter. But we’ll see what happens this week. I’m not sure what his status is in terms of practice and so forth … I know how hard he works and how much he puts into it. Hopefully he can be out there, but we’ll see.
Do you think this is serious?
I mean, anytime someone leaves the game, it’s serious. I mean, you’ve got a lot of tough guys out there. Guys don’t want to miss [time]. If you’re not out there, obviously it’s for a reason. They’re taking a lot of precautions with injuries this year. I know the Texans have some guys out, but it’s early in the year there’s a lot of football to play and whether Gronk’s out there or not, we’ve got to be able to execute and we’ve got to have confidence in what we’re doing. There might be situations where … Danny [Amendola] was out this last week and we found a way to kind of carry on. Obviously injuries at the receiver position have hurt us a little bit, but we’re gaining confidence every week.
So who are you going to throw the ball to? Hogan left, he was gimpy. Danny Amendola [is] in the concussion protocol, Phillip Dorsett had some sort of a minor leg injury, Gronkowski with the groin, that just leaves Brandin Cooks and you already have Edelman gone for the year and Malcolm Mitchell on the injured reserve. So, do you know the people you’re going to throw the ball to this week?
Well, it’s only Monday. We’ve still got some healing to do and I think we’ll just have to see how the week goes. I mean, guys are going to try and practice and coach Belichick, he always wants guys to practice in order to gain confidence in their ability to go out there and play. The game was just yesterday. We’re going to try and work hard at our recovery, work hard at the rehab that we have to do. I mean, everyone comes out of these games with some bumps and bruises and so much of being a professional football player is putting just as much effort into the week of preparation and rehab on little bumps and bruises and getting ready to play both mentally and physically in order for us to go out there and do our job at a high level.
” We’ve never used injuries as an excuse and we’re not going to start doing that now.” – Brady on all the injuries.
Tom, everybody has to survive the injuries but doesn’t it seem like there’s an awful lot already for the Patriots and we’re only going into the third week?
Yeah, I mean, we’ve dealt with our fair share at this point. I wish there weren’t, it’s just the nature of this sport. It’s a contact sport. Guys go in, they come out, you get banged up, you miss time, but we’ve got a full roster of players and we’ve got to have confidence in whoever’s out there doing the job that we ask them to do. We try not to make any excuses for reasons why we may win or not win. We’ve never used injuries as an excuse and we’re not going to start doing that now.
Tom, you talked about the attitude of your team last week and it wasn’t there. Has that changed throughout the course of this week and did you have to get on the guys pretty much throughout the course of the week, as well as coach Belichick and some of the other leadership?
Yeah, there was a lot of urgency put into the last week. We were sitting at 0-1 and no one wants to start the season 0-2. We were playing a Saints team that had lost on Monday night, and we wanted to go out there and we wanted to play a lot better than we played in the fourth quarter of the Chiefs game. There was urgency form the time we got on the plane down to New Orleans. We felt like we needed to get off to a fast start. We put 21 points on the board in the first quarter and I thought we were really well balanced in both the run and the pass game and that’s what we’re going to need again this week. This defense that we’re facing in Houston has been the number one ranked defense in the league last year and they’ve been ranked in the top five as long as I can remember. We’re going to have a big challenge ahead of us. This is a team that rushes the quarterback really well, they cover well, they do a really good job with their scheme. There’s nothing easy. This team makes you earn it and we’re going to have to go out there and earn it on Sunday in Foxboro.
Tom, in fact as you’ve stated in the past on this program, do you believe that Houston has given the blueprint, in many ways, of how to defend the Patriots?
Well, I think they present challenges because obviously, like I said, their scheme, but they have some extremely talented players. I mean, if you rush the quarterback, if you play great solid dependable coverage – whether it’s man or zone – I mean, these guys are really instinctive. And I think what makes good defense is when they can really attack. They can attack opposing offenses from a lot of different angles. From right up the middle, on the perimeter, they force the ball out quick, their corners jump routes, their safeties are aggressive. They do a good job, they’re really well coached, they do a good job in their preparation studying the other teams. It’s a tough game. You don’t get to be ranked first in the league because you’re an average defense, [it’s] because you’re the best defense. And they were the best defense in the league last year, that was without J.J. Watt, who’s one of the best defensive players in the league. So we’ve got our work cut out for us. We’re going to need every bit of time to prepare. They played last Thursday, I’m sure they’ve been working hard studying us and we’re going to need to catch up to them and get ready to go.
Over the weekend, you stated on CBS that you’d like to see Colin Kaepernick get another chance and you believe that he is a player that deserves to be in the National Football League. Why do you think he doesn’t have a job?
I don’t know, Jim, I mean, I’m not a personnel person. But, just watching Colin over the years and seeing him lead his team, he’s a great quarterback. We played him last year in San Francisco and he played really well and I certainly hope he gets another shot.
And on a totally different subject, tomorrow, “The TB12 Method” – your book comes out – “How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance”. Have you handed this to your teammates because some of these guys could sure use some of these techniques with a lot of these injuries?
[Laughs] Yeah, I talk with those guys quite a bit and that was a big reason why I wanted to ultimately write this down and put it in a form of a book along with other things. It’s really the way that I live my life. I’m happy to be able to share that with other people, to put it together into, kind of, one comprehensive package. People ask me all the time, “What’s the thing you do, Tom? How do you keep playing football in your 40s?” And I really spell it out in the book and I believe that the things that I do in terms of my lifestyle choices, can help a lot of people. Not only athletes, but everybody. You and I have talked about it for so long over the years. People want to feel good and they want to do the right things and hopefully this book can help them and set them on a path toward feeling their very best, no matter what age they are.
And Tom, you have a lot of men and women who are, you know, active, not everyone being a total couch potato, but for the average guy who doesn’t have the dedication and the discipline that somebody like you has, what can they get out of this book?
Well, that’s right, discipline is very important. I mean, I think in all of our lives, whether it’s our job, whether it’s our lifestyle, health choices, It’s hard to be productive at anything if you don’t have some level of discipline. Whether that’s things that you may eat or drink, how you work out, how you train, how you recover. I think some thought needs to be put into those things. Some of them are no-brainers, you should just do [them] because it’s the right thing to do – it doesn’t take much effort. But in general, I spell it out pretty easily in the book. There’s a lot of actionable steps that people can take in order to feel, you know, better than they did the previous day. For me as a player, I always want to feel better over the course of the season. I’m programming my body to play football, to take the hits, and if I can keep with my routine over the course of the whole season, I always feel better as the season goes along because I’m feeling more and more committed to the sport, more and more committed to my routine, and I feel more prepared as we get into the later months of the season.
His book is now available to order via this link at Amazon.com.