PHOENIX — Since 2001, the Patriots have a 170-54 record in the regular-season and have been to six Super Bowls (including this season) and another nine AFC championship games.
What’s the biggest reason for the team’s success? Tom Brady, according to Julian Edelman.
“I think there’s a common factor there, of this guy named Tom Brady. He’s pretty good,” Edelman said on Tuesday. “He and we have some coaches that work their tails off. The scouting department knowing who they want and all of that kind of stuff. They all work together. I don’t know, you’d have to ask Coach (Bill) Belichick on that one.”
Edelman has excelled on special teams during his career. Back in the last Patriots’ Super Bowl, Edelman’s only role was returning kicks. Now, he’s turned into one of the better punt returners in the game.
For his career he’s returned 132 punts for 1,616 yards and four touchdowns, including 25 for 299 yards and a touchdown this season.
“A punt return play is one of the plays that you can be prepared for the most out of any play in football,” said Edelman. “You can look at the situation, you have time to look at the wind pattern, where you’re at on the field, what time it is in the game, all that kind of stuff, the trajectory of the punt, it all comes into consideration if you’re going to return it, if there’s a block.
“As a punt returner, your job is to get 10 yards. If you get 10 yards, you’re happy. Anything after that is cream. Ultimately, your job is to give the ball to the offense with some good field position. They have a tough unit. They’re fast, they play hard on that unit. We’re definitely going to have to bring our A-game and prepare these next few days to get ready for it.”
Edelman, who was drafted in 2009, has played five seasons with Rob Gronkowski and had nothing but good things to say about the Patriots’ star tight end.
“Rob is a great teammate,” said Edelman. “He’s a big goofball, a big baby. All he cares about is football and football. You love having him in the locker room. He makes things fun. He works hard. He’s all about this team. It’s great to have him. He’s one of the best.”
As for the game Sunday against the Seahawks, Edelman knows he and the rest of the offense will be challenged going up against the No. 1 ranked pass defense in the NFL, as Seattle allowed 185.6 yards per game in the regular season.
“They do what they do. What they do is very, very good,” he said. “Lining up in the slot, you know that they’ve got guys over there that can hit, that know their scheme, that know all that stuff. As a slot, or as someone that plays outside-in, what you ultimately try to do is go see the coverage, see what you have to do on that play, that specific situation and remember what the coaches said about this and that. Then, you have to be able to adjust on the go. This team is a swarming defense, fast and you know that you have to get the ball and you have to be able to take advantage of what they give you.”