There’s always more work to be done, even if your locker says “Brady” on it.
In his press conference after Monday’s organized team activities concluded, Tom Brady got way more detailed than a lot of Patriots fans are probably used to about his goals, the team’s progress this spring, and of course, what the only stat he cares about is. Hint: it’s winning. “I think that people watch the games on TV because there is a scoreboard. I think that’s what it is all about,” he said. “If there was no scoreboard, then people wouldn’t tune in and watch. There’s only one stat that matters, and that’s because the competition in the NFL is very high, extremely high on a daily basis.” Brady elaborated: “You can’t sit here and compare one year to another year or compare this player to that player. I think winning games is the most important thing, certainly for this organization. When you come here, you learn that pretty quickly. Whatever matters to you as an individual, it’s far distant to what the team goals are. And the team goals are one thing — to score more points than the other team.”
If Tom Brady’s ears were burning last week after a few talking heads suggested he no longer belonged in the “Top 5 Quarterbacks in the NFL” discussion, he dodged the topic almost as well as he moves in the pocket, until dropping this little snarky quip to the press: “Hopefully I’m answering those questions a long time from now too, and you guys can just reprint the stories or whatever you want to write now,” he said. “I want to do this for this team for as long as I possibly can. I love playing football for this team and for this organization. My goal is to continue to play at a high level, and there is nothing that really gets in the way of that.”
While I’m sure Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick are happy that Brady brought it back to the company line, here’s the obvious translation: if you guys were paying attention, you’d know that Brady’s still the same guy who took his team to back-to-back AFC championships in 2012 and 2013, in spite of losing his top 5 receivers from the year before (Welker, Gronkowski, Hernandez, Woodhead, and Lloyd), and enduring Stevan Ridley‘s self-perpetuating fumble spell, among other things. Of course, Brady’s not the only player on the team, and overall, his feedback on the Patriots’ progress this spring was positive.
“The guys are working hard. That’s the best thing. There’s a lot of great effort.” Brady went on to talk about the team’s priority during OTAs and this time of the year, elaborating that “What type of team are you going to be? Who is willing to put it all on the line when, really there is no glory in this, an OTA practice? There is no glory in the weight room or out there on the conditioning field. But it will show up at some point. It’s a long season. At some point, the mental toughness, the discipline of the team, always shows up. Those are the things we’re trying to work on.”
The 2014 season has a lot of promise for the Patriots, with some additions at receiver, a hopefully-healthy Gronkowski, and a vastly improved defense that should benefit from monster additions like Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner as well as rookies like D-lineman Dominique Easley. But, just like Brady pointed out, “I think the thing I’ve learned over the years is that you have to pay the price in advance,” he said. “You just can’t go right out on the field and expect for things to be better without putting the time in and extra effort.” The entire 9+ minute press conference can be watched on the Patriots official website.