Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, making his weekly Patriots Monday appearance on Dennis & Callahan, talked about the problems with the team’s offense during the first two weeks of the season.
The Patriots offense looked out of sync in Thursday’s 13-10 victory over the Jets. The inexperienced receivers took the brunt of the criticism as they tried to find a connection with the veteran quarterback, but Brady said the blame should be shared.
“It’s overall execution of our whole offense,” Brady said. “It’s not the receiver position, it’s every position, including the quarterback position. It’s the quarterback position, running backs, tight ends, receivers, offensive line — we all have to be on the same page. Until we are, then we’re going to struggle.
“I’m really glad we won these last two games. I think our defense has done such a great job of limiting points and scoring opportunities for the other team, getting us great field position. We just haven’t done much to take advantage of those things. We have to work harder at what our job is, because obviously what we’re doing isn’t good enough at this point. How we’ve performed through two games as an offense is less than what the level of expectation is, and we need to find ways to improve it.”
Brady showed his frustration a number of times Thursday, including yelling at teammates. He acknowledged after the game that he needs to show better body language.
“I think it’s just overall important to show poise,” he said. “My level of frustration — yeah, everyone gets frustrated when things don’t go right. I’m frustrated and the coaches are frustrated and the other players are frustrated. Being frustrated is one thing, letting that affect how you play is another. And I don’t really want it to affect how we play. And that goes for everybody. You can’t reflect negatively for too long on what happened because it will affect what’s going to happen.
“The more important thing is to try to help us going forward, what level do we need to be at? Both in terms of our preparation, in terms of how we prepare for each particular week and then how our attitude is. All those things need to be improved. We need to improve what we’re doing over the course of the week so that we can be better on the weekend. That’s a lot of where our focus will be this week.”
Added Brady: “That’s how football is, it’s a game of emotion. Once emotion wears off, you try to take a clinical analysis of what really happened. You have to take the emotion out of it at some point. It’s hard to take emotion out of it in the first quarter of a football game. Football’s an emotional game. We all have our ups and downs. We’ve all developed enough trust in each other where whatever happens on game day happens. But afterward you have to figure out the reasons why we’re not executing well. And like I said, it’s the quarterback position, too. I’m not making all the right plays, either. It’s not like the rookie receivers are messing up all the time, No, not at all. Look, I’ve really been able to count on those guys. They’ve done an incredible job for what they’ve been asked to do. We’ve got to improve in all aspects of our offense. That will hopefully remove some of the burden that is falling on the receivers right now.
“We have a lot of veteran players that aren’t playing right now, too, that if they were playing the burden would be spread around to different guys who would shoulder a lot of that responsibility that’s now falling on the younger players. And the younger players are doing a great job. They’re working really hard. They’re attitude is great. It’s been great to work with them. Hopefully it all pays off for us in November and December, if we can ever get to a point where we have a lot of our guys back and healthy and playing well.”
On one play at the goal line, one of the rookie receivers went right when Brady appeared to want him to stop and turn around.
“I don’t want to get into the X’s and O’s. It was just a miscommunication by our receivers. I was thinking one thing, they were thinking another,” Brady said. “That’s what leads to poor execution. It’s not that they’re wrong or I’m wrong. It’s just, we’re wrong together. What we need to be is on the same page. We need to do that on a more consistent basis. So, we’re going to work hard at trying to do that.
“Last week, for example, we didn’t have any practice, so it’s hard to gain a lot of confidence, especially for us at a young stage in our receivers’ careers; we’ve got a young team in general. Where you develop your confidence is on the practice field. If you don’t practice, it’s hard to gain a lot of confidence over the course of the week. This week will be good in that we have a few extra days. We can really work hard at getting better and making some solid improvements so we can go into this week’s game having more confidence in the things we’re doing.”
The question for the Patriots is if they can win consistently if the offense is not producing at its usual 30-points-per game pace.
“The thing is, we have to score more than the other team. It doesn’t necessarily need to be 30 points, it just has to be more than the other team is scoring,” Brady said. “Because the team’s going to evolve over the course of the season. So, we’re trying to figure out the things that we’re good at. We haven’t been great at many things over the course of the first two weeks. What we need to do is find something we’re good at so that we can do it and do it really well and use it as a means to score points. Like I said, our level of expectation on offense is higher than what we’s shown. We just have to go out there and do a lot better job.
“That requires discipline and doing the right thing on a consistent basis so that you can make enough plays to score points over the course of a long drive, unless you have a big play that leads to a touchdown, which we were close a few times the other night. And if we make a couple of plays, then the score is much different. But look, that’s the difference in the NFL. You could say that about every game yesterday, if this happened or this happened. But the reality is it’s a performance-based league, and we have to make the plays when they’re there to be made. We’ve got to try to find things that we’re good at so that we can do them and use them and score points and take some pressure off our defense. Because they’ve really done a great job over the first couple of weeks.”
On injured tight end Rob Gronkowski: “He’s a pretty important player. It’s like losing your No. 1 pitcher in baseball. What would that do to a baseball team? He’s pretty good. He’s a great player. He helps in the run game and the pass game, provides a level of toughness for our team. He’s been a really consistent performer when he’s been out there. It’s hard to replace him. There’s only one Gronk.
“I know he’s working his butt off to get back. Every time I see him he’s got a great attitude about his rehabilitation and what he’s going through to try to get back on the field. When he is back, and hopefully he can stay healthy over the course of a long season — but our offense could definitely use the help.”
On the possibility of going into coaching after he retires: “Possibly, possibly. I love that aspect of football, too. The more you learn about football, the more you really realize you don’t know about football. It constantly evolves and changes from year to year with scheme and so forth. I think that the really great coaches — and that’s why I think coach [Bill] Belichick is the best coach ever, is the way he’s been able to evolve his style over many years while still maintaining the principles that the game was really built on.
“It’s not a gimmick league, the NFL. Ultimately, it comes down to really core fundamentals of blocking, tackling, running, throwing, executing at critical times, being tough, being disciplined. That’s what to me wins over the course of periods of time. Now, how you can employ strategies that gain an advantage every week through your schematic planning and so forth, those change week to week, but they also evolve year to year. You’ve got to kind of keep up with the trend.”
On the possibility of being a TV analyst: “It’s a good gig. I’m sure it’s fun for them. I don’t know. Who know what it will be. Hopefully I won’t have to decide that for a long time. I love the game. It would be hard to ever not pay attention to the game. It’s been such a part of my life for so many years. It would be really nice to enjoy it stress-free if that could ever happen at some point many years down the road.”
On how he spent the weekend while the Patriots were idle: “It was a lot of family time. That was kind of how the day was spent. And watching football, of course. … There were a lot of good games on. I watched the boxing match the other night, too. I watched the A&M-Alabama game on Saturday, which was fun. There was a lot of good sporting events on.”
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