Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Kirk & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about Sunday’s 27-16 win over the Steelers, among other things relating to the Patriots offense. To hear the interview, visit the K&C audio on demand page.
Julian Edelman had a season-high nine catches for 60 yards, while Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett combined for just five catches. Brady said that was because of the way the Steelers played defense, as they didn’t want the tight end duo to have a big day.
“[Edelman] had a lot of opportunity based on how they really chose to play us,” Brady said. “We had some good matchups there in the middle of the field and I tried to get it to him. He was able to make some plays and really get into the defense, show his run after the catch. It was a very productive day for him. We really needed it. They made it tough in a lot of ways for our offense to really create big plays, but we had a lot of those plays underneath and Jules was a big factor in the game.”
Brady said the tight ends didn’t complain much as they know how the offense works.
“They really don’t. I think for our offense right now, I think it’s going to be different players each week,” he said. “They understand. They all want the ball. They are all working hard to get open. Sometimes the coverage that the defense is playing dictates where you throw the ball and if they are not in that position, they are all smart enough to know that’s not when they are going to get it. I think [the Steelers] were pretty intent on not letting Gronk and Marty have big days yesterday.”
Stephen Gostkowski missed an extra point for the second time in as many games and he’s now missed a kick in six of his last eight games dating back to the AFC title game last season. Brady isn’t concerned, though.
“I just think you show support and encouragement,” he said. “He’s a great kicker. He’ll find his rhythm. I don’t think anyone is really worried about that. He’s one of the best kickers that has ever played the game. I have 100 percent confidence he will find his rhythm.”
Running back LeGarrette Blount had his third game of 100 or more yards rushing this year as he finished with 127 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns. The quarterback noted how important it’s been for Blount to get off to a good start this year.
“He’s off to an incredible start,” Brady said. “He’s just running with quickness. He’s running with power. I think he’s making really good decisions back there. I can see — I have great perspective when I hand the ball off and I turn around and see where the holes are. It’s tough, he’s a 250-pound back and when he’s running at a guy 1-on-1, it’s not like those 200-pound safeties or corners are thinking, ‘Man, I’m really going to square LG up and knock the crap out of him.’ They are just trying to get him down and I think LeGarrette does a great job of taking advantage of their hesitation because they aren’t quite sure. He can run over you, he can jump over you. He has the agility to start out and break in, start in and break out. He did that on the touchdown run in the fourth quarter where he makes a guy miss completely.
“I think he’s doing a great job. It’s fun to see. It’s great to have an offense like that. If they are going to decide to really force us to get those running looks, then we have to run it as efficiently as we can and we did a great job of that yesterday.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.
On what the Steelers did vs. Patriots on defense: “It’s a team that going into the week is a 60-70 percent blitz team. Six or seven or every 10 snaps they are blitzing and they hardly blitzed us at all. I don’t think they wanted the 1-on-1 matchups in coverage, so they always had help over the top of each of their defenders, which leaves room in the middle of the field, which is why Julian and whoever was in the middle of the field got a lot of opportunity.”
On Gronkowski’s touchdown catch: “I thought that was a great job by Josh [McDaniels] just kind of understanding how the flow of the game was. A few things started to reveal itself and we thought ultimately that would be a good play just based on the coverages they were playing. Gronk had No. 21, who is their safety but was playing linebacker on that particular play, and he had him man-to-man. Gronk really split the defense and there were two safeties back there and Gronk split them both and was right at the hash there and made a great catch and run. That was a big play in the game because they had a lot of momentum. For a bunch of series’ there in the second and third quarter we didn’t do much and they ended up making it a one-point game and then we handled it off to LeGarrette a bunch who made a bunch of plays and then Gronk had the big touchdown. That was a big play in the game.”
On if Bennett gets frustrated not getting the ball: “He and I have a great relationship. Again, I think he is a very smart guy and he understands, like I said, when he should get the ball he knows it just based on the route and the defense. He sees all those things. Everyone wants the ball and you have five eligible skill players and you have Gronk and Julian and Danny [Amendola] and [Chris] Hogan and James White and [Brandon] Bolden, obviously Marty. I am trying to get everyone involved and just like I said, sometimes based on the play they get it and get the look and sometimes they don’t. The Cleveland week for example we got a lot of looks and that was great. He’s had some great games for us. We’re going to need him over the course of the whole season. I’ve had no problem — I never have a problem with a receiver wanting the ball. They all want the ball. I understand that too. I do my best to try and spread it around. … Yesterday I think they were pretty intent on not letting Marty and Gronk have 180 yards catching between the two of them so they forced us to throw it underneath and the players that were in those underneath positions got the ball most of the time. I thought we could have done a better job really executing and putting pressure on them. We had some turnovers, some lack of execution in the passing game that kind of got us off the field or else we would have more opportunity. If you keep putting pressure on the other team and you keep taking those throws underneath, then they start to get a little uncomfortable and they take some chances and that is when you have the opportunities.”
On if he would enjoy playing for Rex Ryan: “I love who I play for [Bill Belichick]. I think he’s the best ever, so I don’t want to play for anyone else. I respect Rex a lot as a coach because I think he does a good job of really having his guys ready to go. He always plays us tough. They may lose to other teams and whenever they play us it’s a tough game. I’ve always had a lot of respect for him and he brings a very different element to the league and I think they really like that. Obviously the owners who hire him like that a lot. I think he’s a great coach and he has great defensive schemes. He’s always given us problems and I’m sure we’ll be in for a dogfight at Orchard Park this week.”