With the Patriots preparing to meet the Texans on Sunday in the AFC playoffs, quarterback Tom Brady joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning for his weekly interview and talked about his team's matchup as well as other news from around the league.
Brady said he watched all four playoff games over the weekend. Following the Seahawks' victory over Washington on Sunday, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman -- who trash-talked Brady following their game in October -- received a smack in the face from Washington offensive lineman Trent Williams.
"I couldn't do that," Brady said. "Trent Williams is a lot bigger than I am, probably a lot more intimidating."
Brady avoided criticizing Sherman, but he said it's his preference to be classy after games.
"Everyone reacts differently," he said. "I have my own style. I just try to be respectful to the opponents, because I have a lot of respect for the opponents. It's not a bunch of B.S. Guys that are playing in the NFL are pretty good players. I just give them the respect they deserve. I've played a lot of really great players in my career -- the best cornerbacks, the best linebackers, the best defensive linemen. When you play against Dwight Freeney and Jason Taylor, and you play against those guys and you realize you're going to have to play them again, you'd better say as many nice things as you can, which is kind of what I like to do."
The Patriots manhandled the Texans in their regular-season meeting -- a 42-14 victory on Dec. 10 -- but Brady said he's not putting too much weight into that outcome.
"I don't think that game is going to have any bearing on what happens next week," Brady said. "It was a big win for our season, it was a big win at that time. But this game is going to be entirely different, and I think we've got to be able to put just as much preparation into the game as we did before. … We know these guys. I think that's the part that I enjoy, is that I've already spent a lot of time preparing for them. So, to have another week to do it, you feel like you're going to know them that much better. Now, we've still got to go out and execute against it. They have some great players on defense. That was a very good game they played the other day."
Added Brady: "They've got a very good defense. J.J. Watt's as good as there is in the NFL. They present their own challenges. I know they didn't feel like they played their best against us, which they didn't. And in a lot of ways I feel like we can play better, too. We're going to need to play better. This is going to need to be our best game."
Brady said the Patriots won't avoid talking about the last meeting, but they'll look at their mistakes from that game and try to fix them.
"We're going to go in and coach is going to talk about all the things that we need to do," Brady said. "He's going to show us the last game and say, 'These are the things we did well,' and 'These are the things we didn't do well.' … We've just got to make sure that we're doing all the things we need to do to help us go out and win the game. It usually starts with turnovers. That's where it usually starts."
Two years ago, the Patriots routed the Jets in the regular season but then were upset in the playoffs by Rex Ryan's crew.
"We haven't talked about that at all," Brady said. "I'm sure coach will talk about that this week, though. I think that's a great example. The reason we lost that game wasn't because we beat them, whatever, four weeks before. It was because we sucked in the game. We just didn't play the way we're capable. I think the important part is to play up to our level of expectation. And that's from myself, to the receivers, to the tight ends, to the running backs, to the offensive line, to go out and play the way that we're capable of playing. We have a lot of confidence when we do that."
In practices leading up to the last Patriots-Texans meeting, Bill Belichick had the team hold up tennis rackets at the defensive line to simulate what Brady would be seeing from Watt, Houston's 6-foot-5 defensive end.
"They might be taller this time," Brady said. "He might get five or six of them out there. Last time he had four, and they just tried to mirror where I was looking. It's actually very helpful. I'm always excited to see what coach Belichick is going to pull out of his hat."
Following are more highlights from the conversation.
On if the playoffs are more fun for him: "There's a level of intensity that you have that really you can't simulate. Maybe a Monday night game against a big opponent with a lot on the line, or a Sunday night game where you're kind of the only team out there. But the playoffs is just different. There's repercussions to losing games, and that's the difference. There are in the regular season, but not like this. One play can send your team home. I think that's the difference. … This is what we play for. This is what it's all about. This is why you work hard. This is what mental toughness is all about. This is what it's all about. It's more fun when you're challenged more and there's more at stake."
On tight end Rob Gronkowski: "He's working hard. Nobody wants to be out there more than him on a full-time basis. He's never really missed any games for us, so it's been really hard for him to sit on the sideline. He wants to get out there. … He's working hard to do his rehab and get back out there and be as full speed as he can possibly be. That's what we're all hoping. Whether that's the case, who knows?"
On Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who announced he will retire after the season: "I said last week, I've had the privilege to play against him, and that really is a privilege. You talk about guys that do things the right way and play the right way and play the game how it should be played and have respect for your opponents and the preparation. We've had some battles. It's amazing for one player like that, for as long as he's been at Baltimore they've had if not the best, one of the top three best defenses in the league, year in and year out, player after player, coordinator after coordinator. They're doing it again this year."
On if Drew Bledsoe would have beaten him in a footrace, as Bledsoe claimed last week: "He probably could. He could. Once he got going, he was pretty fast. He was big and strong, and once he got moving in one direction -- I've seen him run, and he could run a little bit."
On if he could outrun Peyton Manning: "I would take my chances on beating Peyton. I think it would be an hour-long special if the two of us were in a 40-yard dash. You'd have to tune in the whole time."
On Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, who led Texas A&M to a 41-13 rout of Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl on Friday night: "He's a one-man show. That was amazing to watch him play. It's going to be fun to watch him for many, many years to come. … When you can have that athletic ability and the way that he can find open receivers, it's incredible how he's able to move and make good decisions. That's always the most challenging thing."
We check in on the Patriots off-season with ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss. Mike updates us on Revis, McCourty, Wilfork and more.
Price calls Butch to discuss the March 2nd deadline for franchise tags, free agency and the Pats' plans going forward.
Shortly after the NFLRA released its statement demanding an apology from ESPN, Jim Quirk, the NFLRA's Executive Director, joined Mut to talk about the statement
Flannery joins Mut to break down the Isaiah Thomas trade to Boston and what it means for the Celtics this season and in the future. Paul also chats with Mut about the other deals that happened at the NBA's trading deadline
We talk to Chris Mannix from SI to break down the C's acquisition of Isaiah Thomas and the crazy trade deadline in the rest of the NBA.
Jessica Camerato of basketballinsiders.com joins the show to talk about Marcus Smart, the starting lineup, and trade deadline.
The one and only Rob Bradford calls Butch to discuss his early thoughts on this Red Sox team, the potential in the rotation, how the outfield will shake out and more.
David Ortiz takes a few minutes to talk with Mut, Bradford, and Tomase about some of his new teammates, who Pablo Sandoval reminds him of, and the rules aimed at speeding up the game of baseball.
Mut, Bradford, and Tomase are talking Red Sox spring training. and talk with Red Sox DH David Ortiz about the rules aimed at speeding up the pace of the game
In the second of Sunday Skate, DJ and Joe discuss the approaching NHL trade deadline and what the B's will do. They get into the Boychuk move at the beginning of the season and Boychuk's brother venting on Twitter this morning about complaining B's fans. There is more discussion on the 3rd and 4th lines, their playoff chances and then they are joined by ESPN's Scott Burnside.
Another edition of Sunday Skate is upon us and DJ and Joe get into the B's big win over Arizona last night and the improvement of Ryan Spooner. They get into the Blackhawks giving up a 1st round pick for C Antoine Vermette - someone the B's could certainly use but weren't willing to give up the steep price of a 1st rounder. DJ and Joe also get into Claude's willingness to switch up lines as well as the performance of the 3rd and 4th lines. Finally, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman sits down with the boys.
Scott Burnside joins the boys to discuss the Bruins and the NHL trade deadline.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk chat with Tom Curran about the Patriots declining Vince Wilfork's option and the status of Darrelle Revis.
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McPhee joined Dennis, Callahan and Minihane to give a first hand account of the proceedings inside the courtroom during the trial of the Boston bomber.
Peirre McGuire of NBC Sports to talk about the snake-bit Bruins and their chances of making the playoffs. Pierre then weighs in the idea of Christian Fauria playing goalie
Steve Cooper, reporter for 7 News, joined the show to talk about the first day of the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial.
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Michael, Dale and Jerry reflect on the career of Vince Wilfork with the Patriots, and wonder if it's really final... whether there's any chance at all that Vince could return to the Patriots.
Michael and Jerry talk about the Celts win last night, and a great play drawn up by Brad Stevens for the win.
Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss how losing Wilfork's salary cap hit might be part of a bigger plan to hang on to Darrelle Revis and others.
Mikey, Mut, and Lenny are joined by the Rev girls, who are revealing the New Revolution uniform Tuesday at the House of Blues in Boston and talking about the Revs.
Mikey, Lenny, and Maggie talk Red Sox baseball with Red Sox Hall of Famer Bill Lee, who is in Florida and out of the snow that's perpetually burying the area.
Mikey gets a call from Kirk Minihane, who wants to clear the air with Mikey and get everything settled. It goes better than you think.
Adam Himmelsbach, Celtics beat reporter for the Boston Globe, joins the show to share his love of the Brow and discuss the surging Celtics playoff chances. Then we take a field trip to the MIT Sloan Analytics Conference and analyze the data with Rick Friedman.
Chris and comedian Will Noonan discuss the events of last night's Raw.
WEEI’s Scott McLaughlin previews the opening round of the Hockey East tournament with Northeastern coach Jim Madigan and Mike McMahon of College Hockey News and The Mack Report.
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