Patriots quarterback Tom Brady joined Dennis & Callahan for his weekly chat Monday morning, as the Patriots close in on the end of the preseason.
The Red Sox made a blockbuster trade over the weekend after having issues in the clubhouse. Asked why the Patriots never seem to have such problems, Brady said it's because Bill Belichick won't allow it.
"Our locker room is run by one man. And he expects a certain level -- an attitude, a work ethic, an enthusiasm, an accountability that you have to bring to work every day," Brady said. "Those are the kind of players that he brings in. If you're not prepared to work or if you're not mentally tough, then he gets rid of you. Really, when you look around the locker room, you're surrounded by a bunch of guys that are very similar, and a bunch of guys that really care about the team and are committed to the team. That's what the foundation of our team is built on.
"You realize when you're in that locker room, when you look around the environment, you don't fit in if you're worried about how many rush yards or how many sacks or how many yards you throw for. At the end of the day, none of that matters. The only thing that matters is winning. That's why he brings us here -- to win. That's the expectation we try to fulfill. That's on a daily basis."
Brady said he isn't sure if he's playing in Wednesday's preseason finale against the Giants, although he would like to get some reps.
"Coach hasn't told us anything," Brady said. "He always says be prepared to play and play for as long as it takes for you to be out there, and he'll take you out when he wants to take you out. As far as I know, I'm playing. That's what I'd expect, and that's what I'd enjoy, to tell you the truth. I'd love to get out there and play again."
Much is expected from receiver Brandon Lloyd, but he has just one reception in the preseason. Brady preached patience with his new teammate.
"It's about timing, it's about anticipation, it's about body language," Brady said. "With a guy like Deion [Branch] and Wes [Welker], who I've thrown tens of thousands of balls to, I just know by the way they change their speed or stride length or shoulder dip that they're about to make a particular move, which allows me to throw the ball to a certain place, so when they make their cut they turn around and the ball is where it needs to be.
"Well, every receiver does it a little bit differently, and every quarterback throws it in a little different place. Part of the anticipation is throwing the ball before the receiver breaks and before the receiver is into his route, so that the defensive back really doesn't have a chance -- when there is separation, the ball is already in the receiver's hands. That's the kind of chemistry that you look to develop as an offense, as a receiver/tight end combo. That really is the passing offense. The more you do it, the more comfortable you become.
"Everyone wants it to click right away. At the same time, there's really a foundation that you've got to put together, that we've been trying to do here over the last few months. Sometimes it shows up, and sometimes you realize you've got a lot more work to put in. Coming off the Tampa game, we realized that we've got a lot more work to put in. As long as we're willing to commit to that, then you know that there's going to be improvements made, and that's where you gain your confidence."
Added Brady: "Brandon has done a great job, coming in and been really willing to learn and do whatever the coaches have asked him to do. It's certainly not from a lack of effort [that he hasn't caught many passes]. It's just a matter of getting the reps in. The more reps that he and I have gotten together, the better it's shown on the field. I'm excited for Brandon and for what he can add to our offense."
For those who are concerned about a repeat of last year with Chad Ochocinco, Brady said he's "turned the page" on 2011 and won't directly compare the two.
"I enjoyed working with Chad. It just didn't work out with Chad," Brady said. "He was a great guy and a great teammate. Brandon has shown a lot of things in practice, through the spring -- like I said, his commitment, his work ethic. Anyone who has come down to training camp has seen what he is capable of.
"I'm not going to sit here and make predictions. I'm not a fantasy football picker, either. You guys sound like my best friends calling me, asking me what round they should pick [Rob] Gronkowski in. [Lloyd] is going to be a part of the offense. His role is going to be whatever he makes of it. He's shown that he can compete out there on a daily basis, and that's all that you can expect."
Following are more highlights from the conversation.
On the apparent struggles of the offensive line: "Offensive football, 11 guys need to be on the same page. When the offensive line's expecting me to get the ball out quick and I hold on to the ball and I get sacked, then people may blame the offensive line, but really it's the quarterback's fault. Sometimes there's coverage sacks, where the defensive coverage, there's just not a place to find to throw the ball, and the offensive line, like I said, is expecting a certain rhythm of a play and it doesn't come out that way. It could be a number of things.
"Our offensive line, they work their tail off. They're out there giving everything they've got. From a quarterback standpoint, we've got plenty of time to throw the ball and find the right guy. We have to do a better job of doing our job, which is getting the ball out when we need to get it out, get it to the open receiver and let our guys do something with it."
On the offense: "I think we've got to be more consistent, there's no question about that. Offensive football is based on stringing good play after good play together in order to score points. And to be methodical, to be precise. That's really the only way when you play against good defenses to score points. … That's about really sustaining your concentration and your level of execution on a down-by-down basis. That's what we're trying to improve upon. It doesn't just magically appear. You've got to put work in and you've got to commit to it. That's what we're all trying to do out there on a daily basis at practice."
On new teammate and former Olympic sprinter Jeff Demps: "He's only been out there two days. He got in there -- I said after the game, I was pretty impressed. From training the way he trained for as long as he did and then just to put shoulder pads and a helmet on and run out there and work on our plays. He's asking us, 'What does that mean? Where do I go.' He's obviously a great athlete. … He's off to a great start."