FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Patriots quarterback Tom Brady arrived at the podium for his weekly news conference, and with the calendar reading 12/12/12, the joke was made that it would have been timely if he arrived at 12:12.
No. 12 smiled.
“I know, what a day,” he chuckled at the start of the 11:45 a.m. news conference. “It’s not going to happen again, so enjoy that.”
Brady then said he’d be in a meeting at that time.
After that lighthearted start, Brady was asked a variety of questions on the 49ers, the Patriots’ opponent on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
Brady relayed that he began his preparations on the 49ers in the “couple” days following the Patriots’ Nov. 22 Thanksgiving win over the Jets. He started early, in part because the Patriots have a quick turnaround after playing the Texans on Monday night.
“So after the game on Monday night I felt like I just had to watch their most recent game and I was caught up; tried to take advantage of a little extra time, a little planning,” he said. “I probably wouldn’t have done that 10 years ago.”
Brady later expounded on the importance of the film study, and that type of advance planning, as it relates to his position.
"It's probably most important for the quarterback position. I don't think the receivers are necessarily doing that; they study what they need to study. I kind of have my own routine and preparation, and a lot of guys prepare differently," he said.
"I know Matt Light, who we honored at halftime last week, he didn't watch much film at all. He said it screwed him up. He was one of the best players I've ever played with, and there is something to be said for that too."
Brady was also asked about the dynamics of a quarterback change like the one he experienced in 2001 in replacing injured Drew Bledsoe. It’s topical this week as the 49ers have transitioned to Colin Kaepernick in place of the previously injured Alex Smith.
Asked what it was like to be the player in his situation, Brady cracked, “Am I the old guy or the young guy now?”
Then he reflected on 2001.
“That was a long time ago for me; I had great support from all the quarterbacks, especially Drew [Bledsoe] at the time,” he said.
“I think individually as a player, you just try to focus on what you have to do to help the team win; that’s your role. When you’re on a team, you’re supposed to support the team in whatever way the coach needs you to support the team. When you’re not playing, you support the guys that are playing and help out in practice. And when you get your opportunity, you try to go in there and support the team by playing. Ultimately, it’s about winning games. It’s not about an individual. It’s about doing what’s best for the team. When you play, you have to play well.”