FOXBORO — Tom Brady knows the potential of these Patriots. He also knows it’s about time they start showing it for a whole game.
This weekend presents that opportunity as the 4-8 Cleveland Browns come calling at Gillette Stadium for a showdown with the 9-3 Patriots, who with a win, can clinch a playoff spot and possibly a division title.
With so much on the line, the Patriots do not want to come out and begin the game like they did last Sunday in Houston against the two-win Texans. They trailed 10-0 early and 17-7 at halftime.
“I know, We’ve started slow too many times this year, and it’s hard to keep playing from behind,” Brady said. “I think we talk about it; we’re trying to get better at it. There’s no magic formula, just like there’s really no magic formula to what we’re doing in the second half. It’s just really the execution needs to be a lot better at the start of the game, and really we’ve got to have great execution for the entire game.
“That’s the most important thing. We’ve played some really good teams, really good defenses that have put a lot of pressure on us, so it’s hard sometimes to play 60 good minutes of football, but we’ve got to start doing that at some point. We’ve had some ups and downs, but we’ve got to put together a good game.”
Brady was also asked if he had heard about or seen the video of Cleveland back-up QB Alex Tanney, who is splitting reps in practice while Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden are cleared for activity but not practice. In the video, Tanney is the “Minnesota Fats” of football, turning every pass into a trick shot.
“I haven’t seen it,” Brady admitted. “I will look it up. I remember the kicking [video]. That was pretty good. I saw that one.”
Brady was advised that the video is a “must see.”
“All right, I’ll check it out,” Brady said.
Q: Obviously the personnel changes, but remembering back to Week 2 of last year with Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton with the Cardinals, do you see a lot of carryover in what he’s doing with Cleveland?
TB: Yeah. I mean it’s his defense, and they do a lot of real good things. I think that’s important to kind of know their style and know where it all comes from, and I know he came from Pittsburgh too, so there’s some influence there. But they’ve got a good team, good defense, I think they’re ranked pretty high. Again, I feel like every week I’m about to talk about the top-10 defense, but they’re like fourth or fifth in all the categories, and really good. Stout up front, and Joe Haden’s one of the best cover guys in the league, so it’s a good group. We’ve got to somehow put together 60 good minutes. Hopefully we can do that.
Q: What makes Haden so good? Is he aggressive on the ball? Does he jump routes?
TB: He’s really smart, so I think he – does he jump routes? Yeah, when you throw it. And then when you don’t throw it, he doesn’t jump them, so it’s just – he has really good instincts, and he kind of knows when to take his chances. He’s got great ball skills. When the ball is up in the air, he tracks it, makes interceptions, so he’s a really talented player. He’s a very confident player. You can see that he has a lot of confidence in his skill set, so you’re able to be aggressive, and he’s one of the – he’s an aggressive player. He doesn’t just give you easy throws out there.
Q: We’ve seen Rob Gronkowski take advantage of a lot of matchups this year. Have you seen a one-on-one matchup where he hasn’t had the advantage this year?
TB: I mean, that’s kind of what he does best. He’s such a physical presence on the field. His size, his length, and his speed, his quickness. He’s a tough matchup. It’d be like in other sports where you have great matchups in basketball or something like that, where it’s truly a one-on-one and you have a physical advantage. Gronk always seems to have a physical advantage, it’s just a matter of if the scheme can help find a way to get him open. But the other teams are pretty conscious of what he’s doing there. They don’t often just let him run free in the secondary or get down the field, so we’ve got to find different ways to get him the ball. If they do that, then you’ve got to throw it to other guys. You’ve got to throw it to the other tight end, you’ve got to throw it to the receivers, the backs. That’s what really complements an offense, when you can have different things to go to when they’re taking away something that you want to go to.
Q: How does Shane Vereen allow you to create mismatches against the defense?
TB: Shane’s got a lot of versatility in what he does. He can run the ball [well] from the backfield, he does a good job as a receiving back, so there’s no question that he’s a big part of our offense. Not that the other backs aren’t receiving backs; they are, it’s just Shane has more of that role. That’s what we ask him to do, whether it’s blitz pickup, running the ball… You’ve got to have someone back there who you really trust, and he’s gained the trust of everybody.
Q: What has James Develin brought to this team? He had first touchdown last Sunday.
TB: Yeah, on a great run. His power, what he’s able to do physically in the run game, same thing, blitz pickup, he really brings the element of toughness to the team. That’s one spot, too, specifically where the fullback, that’s what that job is. It’s a very selfless position. You’re not going to get a lot of carries or catches. It’s really about springing holes for other people, and whether that’s the running back or protecting for the quarterback so you can drop back and throw it to the receivers, it’s all about the team at that position. He brings it. I mean, he’s earned that spot, he earned it throughout the offseason; done a great job coming in this year and [filling] a big void that we really didn’t have anyone in that spot the last couple of years.
Q: Did you have to double-check when the call came in to give him the ball on the goal line?
TB: No, we knew that was something that we wanted to do, and I think he gives everybody confidence that he can do those things. Then when you give it to him and you see a fourth or fifth effort on a score, you want to give the guy more opportunities. That’s what it’s like. You do something good, you get more opportunity, and you keep gaining the trust of the coaches, you’re going to have more chances as the season goes on.
Q: You had the best view of that play. After he was stopped the first time, did you look back towards the coaches to see what the next play would be?
TB: I know, he went up and then he got knocked back and bounced off, and then I think it was just great second, third, fourth effort, and by the offensive line too. That’s what we’re going to need this week. These guys are really stout against the run, so we’re going to need some of those second, third efforts against this team too, because they’ve got a bunch of big guys in the front and really athletic linebackers, so we’re going to need that same type of effort.
Q: One of the sadder stories to come out of Sunday was the two security guards getting fired after taking pictures with you. Do feel like that was kind of harsh?
TB: Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t have any comment on that. It’s unfortunate, but I don’t make the rules.
Q: Tom, we’ve seen Bill up there at the podium many times before and he is always very stoic and serious. Do you get to see another side to him? Does he like to joke around and laugh?
TB: Sure, we do. I know up here he is all football and all business. We’re certainly around him a lot more than you guys are so we get different sides of him. I’ve got different sides of him for a long time. We’ve got a great relationship.
Q: Can he tell good jokes?
TB: Can he? He’s got some great jokes. He’s got some great jokes, yes. They’re not appropriate to tell my young children, but they’re good jokes.
Q: Do you guys think about the opportunity to clinch the division of the conference title at all?
TB: I mean, I think this week is about Cleveland and trying to beat those guys. So, most importantly it is about making improvements and trying to figure out some of the things we haven’t been doing right so we can do them better for 60 minutes. This team is going to be big challenge for us. They’ve got some really good skill guys on offense. They’ve got a really good defense, one of the top ranked defenses in the league. So, I think all that stuff will ultimately take care of itself. There’s nothing we can do about January this week. We’ve got to try and put ourselves in a great position by going to win.
Q: How much does it help that you have experienced a couple comeback wins early in the season rather than trying to explain to the younger guys what it is like?
TB: I don’t think we really feel like we’re out of it. We’ve never really had that sense on the sideline. I think there is urgency to what we’re trying to do, but I don’t think there is a panic. We’ve got some mental toughness, we’ve got a little resiliency. We’ve overcome some slow starts throughout the year. We’ve overcome some fourth quarter deficits. We haven’t won them all, but we’ve been in it. So, we’ve just got to keep fighting until the end. It’s never over until the refs blow that final whistle. We’ve got a chance as long as we’re on the field.
Q: Earlier in the season there was talk about the offense’s third quarter struggles. Now it seems as if the struggles have flipped and you are starting off games slowly. What are some of the biggest reasons why that has happened?
TB: I’m not sure. You know, I wish it was easy for us to figure out, too. Believe me, we’re not trying to go out there and not play well in the first half or the third quarter. We’re always trying to do the right thing. I just think it’s probably a post-season evaluation where you figure out, OK, what plays were we running? What do we have to do better? What didn’t we execute well? I think it is just that type of evaluation more than anything. But, like I said the other day, it’s not like after the first drive you come off and you think that you have no clue what is going on. You’ve got to play it out and see what you’re doing and see how the flow of the game is going. Hopefully you get off to a good start and you can play from ahead. I think ultimately that’s what we always try to do. We just haven’t done that in several games this year. We’re got to try and do a better job of that.
Q: Isn’t winning the division at the top of the to-do list at the start of the season?
TB: I mean, that’s where it starts, yeah. You’ve got to take care of the teams in your division and we’ve still got four weeks to go. There’s a lot of football left to be played and winning this game is critical for us. There’s nothing we can do about the other games we’ve played in the past or the ones we have in the future. We’ve got this game and this is the one we’ve got to focus on.
We discuss the QB situation, Bill's longevity in the league, the players who lead, the 4th pre-season game and much more on this Patriots Monday-Wednesday.
Christian and Chris talk about overrated Pats players this season and in the past and then get into the QB issue on the team. They talk about all three guys, what they bring to the table and if they can keep their head above water without the best QB in the league for 4 weeks. Then...Karlos Williams was released by the Bills - should the Pats consider adding the overweight second year running back? Christian also brings up Dante Scarnecchia and gets Price's opinion on if this one man can truly improve a shaky offensive line.
Christian Arcand is in for Tanguay for NFL Sunday with Chris Price. The guys talk about the victory over the Bears, Jimmy G's progress and their expectations for the Pats defense this season. Arcand thinks that there are more holes on the D than some fans realize.
Sam Packard is joined by Celtics 2nd Round draft pick Abdel Nader to discuss his path to the the NBA and how he plans to improve his game. Sam then talks to Player Development Coach Nick Friedman from Elite Skills Training, the pre-Draft camp Nader attended. Friedman also gives his opinion on the Celtics performance at summer league and the development of Jaylen Brown.
Isaiah Thomas talks to Glenn and Lou about why he loves Boston, the NBA Money Bump, oh, and some Durant guy
Danny Ainge joins Glenn and Christian to explain the Celtics draft process; and he also discusses the trade rumors that permeated the night.
Joe and Tim are joined by US Olympic Medalist and captain of the US Women's Gymnastics team Aly Raisman, as she was at Fenway to throw out the first pitch before the game.
Joe and Tim talk with Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts after the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1
David Price pitched a gem and Andrew Benintendi makes one of the top highlight catches of the year as the Sox take the first game of four against the Rays, 6-2. Christian Arcand recaps the game and takes all of your Sox calls.
Joey Mac joins Ken Laird on his Saturday show to discuss the David Backes addition and Loui Eriksson departure in NHL free agency
DJ and Pete continue to assess the season that was for the Bruins and look toward the future for the franchise and how they can improve.
DJ and Pete are together for the final Sunday Skate of the season. They get into their overall thoughts on the season, the Bruins keeping Claude Julien on as head coach and the end-of-season press conferences last week. They discuss the rebuild process, what the Bruins need and how they can obtain it. Plenty of callers have their own theories and opinions on all of these topics as well.
Kirk and Callahan start the 9am discussing the soon-to-come Tom Brady four game suspension and what will happen during that stretch for TB12 and the Pats. The guys then dig back into the Kaepernick discussion in this 9am hour podcast.
Kirk Minihane reads the Wednesday news & gossip headlines, much to the chagrin of the auditioning Gary Tanguay who had prepared to take the lead.
Kirk, Gerry and Gary Tanguay welcome Pats QB Jimmy G to the program, and then discuss the Pats' QB situation in this upload of the entire 8am hour of Wednesday's show.
Dave Dombrowski said the Red Sox weren't going to rush out to sign Tebow after his baseball workout yesterday. Lou and Christian talk about how obviously bad Tebow would be in the MLB and why this is just a stunt.
Dont'a Hightower calls in to talk to Lou and Christian about stepping up in the Patriots locker room, how his new locker means he's following the footsteps of some big names, and how the Patriots defense is shaping up heading into the season.
LaGarrette Blount calls in to talk to Lou and Christian about the end of the preseason, what the locker room is like during these cut-periods, and the overall feel of the Patriots offense heading into the season.
We discuss what worked and what didn't work for the Sox as they blew the lead, but then came back to win an afternoon game at Fenway.
We discuss the role Mingo will play for the Patriots defense.
Kirk Minihane is joined by his long time nemesis Bart Hubbuch. Kirk and Bart discuss the incident between the two that led to Kirk being let go from Comcast and the long standing issue of deflategate. Bart annoyingly wouldn't get of his speaker phone. This is an explosive interview between two guys who admittedly dislike each other.
Kirk Minihane sits down with former producer Chris Curtis? Or is it current producer Chris Curtis? Either way, Kirk and Chris talk about what happened in their previous tenure together, where it went wrong, and why Curtis is now back with the show.
Kirk Minihane and Gary Tanguay sit down together on Enough About Me for the first time. These two divisive figures talk about Gary's career and his late evolution into a controversial broadcaster. Nobody is spared from Kirk and Gary's wrath on this episode and it will surely make some people at the two sports radio stations very uncomfortable.
College football is back, so Anthony and Austin talk about what they're looking forward to as the season starts up. Also, they ask a very, very important question -- is the Alabama dynasty finally dead?
The heart of draft season is upon us and as Jim and Pete gear up for their own big draft this weekend, this week’s podcast is filled with tips on Draft Strategy and how work your plan. Jim and Pete walk through the draft from the Elite players at the top, through the middle of the draft where you build your core, through the high upside targets at the back that can help steal you a league victory. Stars to sleepers and how to position yourself to get them are the topic of the day. Good luck with your drafts!
We are joined by David Amoyal or ESPNFC.com and GianlucaDiMarzio.com to talk about the transfer window closing and what may happen in the finals days of the summer.