Coming off an ugly 17-16 victory over the Jets that clinched a first-round playoff bye, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning and talked about why the Pats have so much trouble vs. their division rivals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Brady was 23-of-35 for 182 yards with one touchdown, one interception and four sacks in Sunday’s game as the Patriots struggled to turn away the 3-12 Jets. Afterward, New York coach Rex Ryan said his teams give Brady and the Patriots “the biggest challenge.”
“I think the last four games we’ve played against them we haven’t played very well, and they’ve all kind of come down to the last possession,” Brady said. “It’s frustrating to be in those situations where we’re just not playing to the way we’re capable. But it’s hard to win in the NFL and it’s hard to win on the road against a good division rival.
“It was a great win for our team. I thought our defense really made some huge plays. We made a couple plays there in the second half to help us win. I would loved to have played a lot better in the first half and put a lot of pressure on those guys. But they did a good job kind of keeping us off balance and ended up making it a pretty tough game.”
Asked what the Jets do to give the Patriots trouble, Brady pointed to a number of factors.
“They’ve got a good team,” he said. “They’ve got a good defensive front. They put pressure on the quarterback. They’ve got good guys in the middle of the defense that get things coordinated. They’ve got a good scheme and they keep you off balance. They give you a lot of looks, and we know them really well. They’ve been in a lot of close games with us, so they have a lot of confidence they can play us well. And certainly after the first half, us being down 10-7, they feel like they’re in the game and they’ve got a great chance to win.
“I know their record was what it was, but they certainly played their best yesterday. When you watch them play the Bills and get beat by 38 points, I don’t really think we played the same team. Like I said, we kind of sputtered early and gave them a lot of confidence, and that’s never a great thing to do. But like I said, I’m glad we made some pretty key plays there in the fourth quarter.”
Looking at the pressure he faced Sunday, Brady explained that the Jets cause problems of confusing offensive protection.
“I think it’s a communication issue,” he said. “You always kind of find that when you play those guys. They’ve got a lot of hybrid types, so they’ve got guys that can drop, they’ve got guys that can rush. It’s technical, but basically they all line up on the left and then at the snap of the ball they all run out of there and everyone blitzes on the right. Or they all line up on the right and everyone blitzes on the left. They just do a good job of kind of disguising some things, and then you’re kind of prepared for these blitzes and then they just give you a regular defense. And then you just settle in on a regular defense and then they give you another blitz. They do a really good job of spinning the dial on you. And then when they don’t, they’ve got good enough players on the front that can cause disruption.”
It’s been widely speculated that Ryan will not return to New York next season. Asked if he liked Ryan, Brady said he doesn’t know him well enough to offer an opinion.
“I’ve never thought about that. I never really thought about that,” Brady said. “I think he’s a great coach. I have a lot of respect for him. I don’t know him as a person. I know the players that have played for him really play hard for him. I don’t know him personally at all.”
After the game, Brady crossed paths with Ryan in the hallway.
“I walked out of our locker room and I was going into the media room, and he was just walking by,” Brady explained. “I didn’t see him after the game [on the field], so I just shook his hand and wished him luck.”
Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com.patriots.
On Julian Edelman, who missed Sunday’s game: “Julian’s become really one of our most dependable players, if not our most dependable player. … There’s a reason why Julian plays as much as he does, because he’s always doing the right thing, he’s always lined up in the right spot, he understands the urgency and the timing in the passing game, he’s got great anticipation. He and I have played so much football together. There’s a lot of things that you can talk about over the course of the week, and then when the game happens those things kind of get thrown out and you react and you anticipate and you be a football player. And Julian’s really that kind of player.”
On which receiver has complained the most to him: “It’s a good thing when they want the ball. I would say Julian’s a little bit of a complainer, but in a good way. It’s a good thing when they want the ball. You don’t want someone that’s going to defer to all of the other guys. But it’s also a problem when a guy’s like, ‘I was wide open, it would have been a touchdown,’ then you watch the film the next day and there’s three guys on him. Then I’m going like, ‘What are you talking about?’ They lose a little bit of credibility when that comes out.”
On what advice he would offer to a quarterback coming into the league: “I don’t know that there’s just one piece. There’s a lot that it takes. To be successful in anything, it just takes good decision-making. So that would be my first evaluation, on what kind of decisions you make. When you’re presented with an A or B option, when you choose the right ones on a consistent basis, I think you’re set up for success no matter what you choose. And that’s on and off the field, especially as it relates to quarterbacks. If you choose the wrong decision on a consistent basis, then it’s hard to change those things. You just try to do the right thing on and off the field, you try to be a good representative for your team. And then there’s all the other things that come into play.”
On how much he and the rest of the starters will play next Sunday against the Bills: “After the last few weeks of football, I’d love to go out there and see if our offense can put together the best 60 minutes of football that we’ve put together in a long time. We’ve been up and down as of late. We’ve got to start really putting some great football together here in these next [few weeks]. We got the bye. We’ve got to be able to win this week then we get the bye and then play at home. Hopefully we can take care of business the first week of the playoffs and then go from there.”
On if some banged-up players might rest Sunday: “There’s a lot of guys that could probably use a little time off. But at the same time, this is football season. You play through whatever you’ve got and you deal with those things when your season ends. All those things are coach’s decisions. I want us to go out and win, that’s what I want. I don’t care about resting. I want to go out there and try to kick some butt. That’s what I want to do.”
On the University of Michigan coaching vacancy, and if he has any input as a prominent alumnus: “No, I don’t even know who does decide those things. I know some players text me, former players and so forth. But it seems like there’s a lot of momentum with [Jim Harbaugh] and all that, the media reports. But you never know if those are true or not true. He’s obviously a great coach, he’s been a great coach in the pros for a long time. Who knows what’s going to happen? Who knows? I have no idea.”