Tom Brady says he can be even better than he has this season. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)
FOXBORO — After being suspended the first four games of the season because of his Deflategate suspension, Tom Brady hasn’t missed a beat in his first two games back.
The quarterback is 57-of-75 passing with 782 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions, while leading the Patriots to two blowout wins. Even with those numbers, Brady believes he can play better.
“I’m still trying to just get back into the kind of football shape that I need to be in,” Brady said. “Being here for two weeks has been great and the practices and so forth have been really good for me. I just need to have another good week. There’s no way to really replicate the kind of intensity and duration of what a practice is, and then certainly what a game is, when you’re not doing those things. It’s been good to be able to do those things for the last couple of weeks, but there’s a long way to go and this will be another important week for that.”
Brady has done a good job of getting everyone involved in the offense. He’s been successful with short, quick passes, but also has seen an improvement with his deep passes, including going 4-for-4 on passes that traveled more than 15 yards in the air in Sunday’s win over the Bengals.
The 39-year-old takes pride in forcing the defense to defend the entire field and not focus on one thing.
“You have to be able to make them defend the width of the field, the length of the field,” Brady said. “Ernie [Adams] told me, he once told me, ‘Make them defend every blade of grass.’ I think that’s a great thing to do. They’ve got to be able to – that’s how you stress the defense. You can force the ball to all different parts of the field, and they never really know who’s going to get it. They can key on certain players, but if you do that, you’re vulnerable to other things.
“It’s just part of – it’s good to have kind of a lot of tools in your toolbox and to be able to use them at different times. Whatever you need, that’s what you’ve got to pull out and be able to do. Good offensive execution takes all 11 of us and so much of what we practice is us all being on the same page every play, every day, every week, so we can be our best. We’re going to need it. This team really forces you to have every guy on the same page because it’s hard to anticipate what they’re going to do, because they do so many things. We’ve got to be on the high alert.”
In the regular season, Brady has a 8-6 career record against Pittsburgh.