Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, during his weekly Monday morning appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show, lamented the loss of tight end Rob Gronkowski (broken forearm) but said the team will be ready to move forward without him.
"He's such a great player. It sucks that he gets hurt," Brady said. "But it's part of this game. He's got to do his best to get back as soon as possible. And we've got to go out there and win some games without him."
Brady said he's confident the team has players on the roster who can step in for Gronkowski and make sure the Patriots don't suffer too much of a letdown.
"He does a lot for us," Brady said "But there's a reason why you have other guys on the roster, too. Visanthe [Shiancoe] and Daniel Fells and Aaron Hernandez and [Michael Hoomanawanui], everyone's got to get in there and start making up for having Gronk out. That's just part of it. You've got to find ways to adjust. No one really cares, no one cares what's going on with us. We've got to still go out there and win."
Added Brady: "That's part of the football season. The Jets lose [Darrelle] Revis for the season, they lose Santonio Holmes for the season. They've got injuries. Every team has injuries. We've been dealing with them all season. We've still got to go out there and be able to do our job and execute."
The Gronkowski injury limited the enthusiasm after what was an impressive 59-24 victory over the Colts. Brady completed 24-of-35 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns, and the Patriots also scored on defense and special teams in the rout.
"This is what team football is all about. You play to the strengths of your players," Brady said. "We got contributions on special teams, obviously on defense. We had three returns for touchdowns. I don't remember the last time we've ever had that -- if ever. That's the reason why we have 59 points at the end of the day."
The Patriots have no time off as they start to get ready for Thursday night's game against the Jets at MetLife Stadium, but Brady said the team can handle it.
"Part of it's mental toughness. And I think we have a very mentally tough team," Brady said. "I don't think playing on this short a rest is -- any of the guys are going to be bitching about our schedule or anything like that. It makes for a pretty sweet [Thanksgiving] if we can end up going down and playing the Jets certainly much better than we played them the last time."
A win over the Jets would essentially end New York's chances of winning the AFC East.
"Our goal is to go out there and really try to put them behind us. That's the goal," Brady said. "We played them once. This would be a huge game to beat them twice. We'd have a lot of tiebreaker advantages over them if we beat them. That was a big win for them yesterday. I know people say what they're going through down there. Look, It's not easy to go on the road in the NFL and win, but they did, under some pretty adverse situations. So, I have a lot of respect for that team and the way they play.
"They play hard. It's always a challenging game vs. them. It was the last time we played them. It took whatever -- 70 minutes to beat them last time. They're going to give us everything they've got. They're going to be ready to go, too. They always give us their best shot, so that's what we're expecting."
As for what he'll eat on Thanksgiving Day before the game, Brady joked: "I'm not sure what I'm going to have. I'm always worried about them poisoning our food down there. I'll probably bring some of my own."
Following are more highlights from the conversation.
On if Julian Edelman could fill in for Wes Welker in the slot because of their similarities: "I think Julian plays to some different strengths. I don't think that they're a similar player. I think they're different players with different skill sets. They're both very good in their own right. Wes is one of the best players to ever play that position, if not the best player to ever play that position, which I think he is. Julian plays a different role for us. That's why you can have them out there at the same time doing different things, both very effectively. … Julian, when he gets his opportunity, like yesterday, he's really taken advantage of it. Part of it is consistency and trying to continue to improve, and that's for all of us, especially this time of year."
On sitting for 32 (real-time) minutes in the first half when the Patriots scored consecutive touchdowns on an interception return and a punt return: "As much as I don't enjoy that, I enjoyed it, watching our guys go out there and score points for our team. At the same time, it's nice to break a sweat. It starts to get into the mid-30s or the high-30s, but then you go out there and you don't play for 30 minutes, you feel like, Oh, God, you've got to be warmed up again. That's part of football, and we've got to adjust, and we did."
On being replaced by Ryan Mallet for the game's final series: "I love playing, I love seeing Ryan get an opportunity, though, because he works his butt off in practice. He keeps getting better, and he loves to be out there playing, he's competitive. I like seeing him out there and leading the team, and seeing his composure and his poise. I really think Ryan is super-talented. I look forward to seeing him out there sometime. I like seeing him when we're up 59 to whatever it was. That was pretty sweet."
On if he has every played on a team that scored 60 points: "No. Basketball, maybe. Not football."
On Colts kicker (and former Patriot) Adam Vinatieri getting booed by fans at Gillette Stadium: "That's part of being a fan is you have the liberty to boo or cheer or do whatever you want. I'm sure when he has his Hall of Fame induction here, there will be a lot of cheers for him. He has been a great player for our team, certainly still a great player for the Colts. He helped us win three Super Bowl championships. He's one of the best kickers if not the best kicker to every play the game. For him to do it as long as he's done, as consistent as he's done it, is very impressive."
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