It’s been about seven months since the New York Jets beat the New England Patriots 28-21 in the second round of the NFL playoffs. That doesn’t mean it isn’t still lingering for Pats quarterback Tom Brady a little bit. In the following interview, Brady says he doesn’t know if he’ll ever get over that loss, and that it’s the toughest for the team during his time in New England. Brady said he hopes that the Patriots, despite all the fresh faces, will learn from that experience and build on it heading into this year. Around him are interesting veteran pieces like Chad Ochocinco, Shaun Ellis and Albert Haynesworth. With those names now on the roster, it’s been an interesting few weeks in New England.
Tom Brady joined WEEI in Boston with Dino and Dale Arnold to discuss training camp thus far, why he didn’t play in the first preseason game, working with Chad Ochocinco, last year’s loss to the Jets in the playoffs, the difference in this year’s offense and the presence of Ellis and Haynesworth.
How has training camp been different this year?:
“I think it’s certainly been different for everybody without the two-a-days. Everything happened pretty quick. Nobody was really sure what the schedule was going to be like, and the next thing you know everybody is reporting in two days. It’s been condensed. I think a lot of the guys have been working hard when we don’t have those practices, when we have downtime, to make sure we’re studying our playbooks, to make sure we’re getting the proper treatments to make sure we’re out there for the practices. The practices are so valuable because there’s not as many of them. … There’s been a lot of energy out there at the practices, so that’s been a lot of fun. … The teams who will have the advantage come the regular season are the ones that have the best practices, that have the best preparation. It’s not the teams that have this guy who has played four more years than this guy. That doesn’t mean anything. The teams that win on opening weekend are the ones that play the best football.”
Were you surprised you didn’t play in the first preseason game?:
“Coach [Bill] Belichick, he’s the coach and he tells us what he wants to do. I used to fight things probably a lot more but now you just kind of understand why he does things and I do my best to prepare no matter what the situation is. He told us earlier in the week, ‘Guys, everybody should be ready to play.’ We were ready to play. He told us the night before the game we weren’t playing, which I think shocked probably all of us, but it’s not like we can go put ourselves in the game.”
What has it been like working with Chad Ochocinco?:
“With Deion [Branch] and Wes [Welker], I’ve played with them now for so long, they know exactly what I’m thinking and why I’m thinking it. With Chad he’s been in a certain place for a long time and … the way he has played the game has been quite a bit different from the way we play the game. I think a lot of that is just trying to get him to understand what I’m thinking so we can always be on the same page because there’s a lot of things that happen in the game that don’t happen in practice. … It’s really been a crash course in that we never have played together and a lot of it is trying to get the point where he’s really comfortable out there and I’m comfortable so we can play with a lot of confidence with one another.”
On last year’s playoff loss to the New York Jets:
“The Jets, I’ll never get over that loss. That’s as painful as a loss as I think we’ve ever had here as a team. They can rush the passer. They’re a good team. They pressure the quarterback, that’s what we have to be prepared for with them. And they always try and find a way to confuse the quarterback, whether that’s by pass rush, whether that’s by coverage and often times both. We gave them a lot of credit when they won and I think we have to learn from that and understand what it takes to beat good teams under tough conditions. That’s what we have to try and accomplish this year.”
Will the offense look different this year?:
“The identity is going to be different based on the players we have because the skill-set is different. What maybe was good for our third wide receiver last year, with Chad may be very different because Chad can do some very unique things as a player. You try and play to the strength of our players. You just don’t go out there and say everybody is going to run this route because to me that’s not the best way of playing offensive football.”
On the presence of Shaun Ellis and Albert Haynesworth:
“Both of them have really come in and embraced a new start for them. Shaun, as a lifelong Jet, somebody I have played against — we were actually in the same draft class — I’ve played against him so many times over the years. He’s been a very intimidating player to play against. It’s going to be nice to see him in a Patriots jersey this year, I can tell you that. He seems like he’s really taken to this. He’s very much a professional. I’m excited to see him out there. And Albert, he and I have had a lot of conversations. He’s a veteran player, as well. He’s really looking to have a great season. He’s excited to get out there, whenever that is. It will be great when everybody is healthy and see where we’re at as a team.”