FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spent his rookie season on the sidelines as a backup to Drew Bledsoe, so he can appreciate the quick and smooth transition Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has made in leading his team to a 6-3 start in his rookie season.
It wasn't long after his rookie season that Brady became a leader and focal point for the Patriots, as he was thrust into action during his second season when Bledsoe went down with a serious injury.
Brady can relate to Luck as a leader at a young stage in his career, but cited a difference in their circumstances, as Brady had had a full year with the team to familiarize himself with the system and his teammates. That makes Luck's immediate ascension to the starter very impressive to Brady.
"That's part of the position as well," he said of becoming a leader in the huddle. "That happened and I had quite a few -- 18 months -- to develop camaraderie with the guys that I played with and it was a lot of time and practice spent with extra coaching sessions and so forth. For those rookies, it's coming right from college to this position, it's very challenging."
Brady recalled meeting Peyton Manning for the first time on the field prior to a game between their two teams.
"He came over and he said, 'Hey Tom, I'm Peyton.'" Brady said his reply was "something I probably can't repeat."
Brady said that he doesn't know if he'll introduce himself to Luck before the game on Sunday.
"We'll see," he said.
But rather than focusing on the new chapter of the Patriots-Colts rivalry and his first meeting with a Luck-led team, Brady is keyed on the Colts' defense.
"My focus has been on what that defense does," he continued. It's always the Colts defense and it's always centered around two players [defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis] and those two guys are still there. That's really the challenge for us this week, is trying to figure out how to block that entire front and there's a lot of different looks from the last time we played them, trying to kind of understand them and how they're doing things. But they're good and they really rush the passer and that's a big challenge."