Coming off the Patriots’ bye week, Tom Brady joined Dennis, Callahan & Minihane on Monday morning and touched on a variety of topics, including next weekend’s opponent, the Cowboys. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The shorthanded Cowboys dropped a 26-20 overtime decision to the Saints on Sunday night. Dallas is 2-2 as it attempts to keep pace without quarterback Tony Romo (broken clavicle) and star receiver Dez Bryant (foot injury).
Brady said he would prefer to see opponents at full strength, but injuries are a fact of life in the NFL.
“I think it’s always great to play against the best players and the best that they have,” he said. “But at the same time, football takes a toll. We have guys that are out, they have guys that are out. Obviously they have some of their very best, best players out, which is a bummer.
“I’ve never been down to that stadium. We haven’t obviously had much of a history with the Cowboys. It will be a fun game regardless. They went to New Orleans last night, I know it was a tough loss. They’ve had two tough losses. I think they’re a very good football team, especially on defense. We’ve got our work cut out for us. I’ve been studying them a lot the last three or four days. They went up to Green Bay last year at the end of the year and almost beat [the Packers] for an opportunity to advance to the NFC championship game. It’s a good football team. We’ve got our work cut out for us, no question.”
The Cowboys might be down another key player, as linebacker Sean Lee left Sunday’s game with a concussion he suffered in the first half.
“He’s a great player,” Brady said of Lee. “He’s got all those type of instincts that I remember from [former Dolphins linebacker] Zach Thomas, and he makes all those plays and tackles, always around the ball, he’s an interceptor, he just kind of knows where the ball’s going. He may be back, and we’ll certainly prepare as if he’s going to play. I know it’s a big blow when they lost him last night, but we’ll prepare for him to be there.”
With the Patriots off Sunday, Brady was able to watch games around the league and see how the other half lives.
“When you watch a lot of those games, it’s a different perspective, I’ll tell you that,” he said. “Because most all these days I’m getting ready to play. … It is fun when you get a chance to sit down and watch a bunch of games. I told you guys this before, but that Red Zone channel, it’s unbelievable. So, you kind of see all these different games and players and things that you just normally wouldn’t get to see. It’s a different perspective, it’s a lot of fun. You kind of see your competition in a way.
“There’s a lot of good teams, there’s a lot of good players. And it’s only Week 4. Like I said last week, we got off to a good start, but obviously our entire season’s ahead of us. We’ve got no more bye weeks going forward. We’ve got the same amount of time as everyone else from here on out. It’s a lot of football, it’s a lot of practice, it’s a lot of concentration, and we’re going to see how mentally tough we are. A huge one on the road against Dallas that we’ve got coming up. That’s where it starts for us.”
Asked if he has more confidence in his 3-0 Patriots after seeing the rest of the league in action, Brady said it’s a little early to make judgments.
“I have a lot of confidence in the guys that I play with, no question,” he said. “I think we have the best coaches. That’s just how I’ve always felt, being a part of this team and organization. All the guys that I’m out there with I have all the confidence [in] because we do it every day in practice. And I think we’re held to a real high standard. We’ve got high expectations that our coach sets for us. We go out there every weekend and we try to show it.
“It’s tough to win. I’ll tell you, there’ s a lot of good teams, a lot of good players. And again, it’s only Week 4. So how these teams are looking right now [is] far different from how they’re going to look two months from now. It’s up to us to determine the fate of our season. It’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of practice. We’re going to see what we’re made of.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.
On youth sports and how it affects people as they get older: “What I remember from being in youth sports, everything was really localized. There was no travel teams. Well, there was a couple, but you really had to be the top, top kid to go on those teams. My parents always exposed us to different things, different sports. It was basketball when it was basketball season, it was baseball when it was baseball season. I didn’t play football ’til I was a freshman in high school. A lot of soccer. And there were just some [football] camps. But I just played in the neighborhood in our street with all the kids that we grew up with.
“It’s just different now, experiencing it with my own kids. All the organized activities that you put them in. I made a comment for a while now, I hope my kids are late bloomers in whatever they do because they’re going to be exposed to so much at such an early time that, yeah, you do worry about what their motivation may be as they get older or if they feel like they’ve been in something for so long and it’s been hyper-intense and hyper-focused for so long, I think that can wear out a young individual, a young teenager. It’s just hard, because all the parents are doing it, it seems. The competition, it feels like it starts so early for these kids, whether it’s to get into college, or to get into the right high school, or the right elementary school.
“I don’t know how it’s taken a turn, but sometimes it’s nice just for kids to be kids. At least that’s just from what I remember when I was growing up. I think that was a great opportunity for the kids to develop lots of parts of their personality. And certainly for me that’s what I found, ultimately I found something that I loved to do at a young age. The more you’re exposed to, I think the better opportunity is for all kids to figure out what they really want to do in life.”
On hosting “Saturday Night Live” 10 years ago and if he would every consider doing it again: “It was a great experience. It was really a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me. They’ve never asked me again. … I’m not sure. Certainly I would consider it. It’s a lot of fun. It’s like some things in life where the first time you do it is sometimes the best time to do it. It was great because there were no expectations. So I just went into it completely blind. There’s some very talented people, and they take things very seriously. I think the great part for someone who’s like a non-actor going is they just want you to have fun and smile and have a good time. I think that’s usually a great way to go about things in life, period. But certainly in that kind of venue it would be probably more challenging if you were an actor and they were expecting you to be a good actor up there. For us as an athlete it’s just, ‘Enjoy yourself.’ ”
On if he or Peyton Manning was better as an “SNL” host: “I’d take Peyton in that one.”
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