Chris Forsberg/ESPN Boston
Tom Brady at his press conference Wednesday at Gillette Stadium.FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- With Saturday's exhibition game in the backyard of Motown, maybe it's appropriate Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is putting a hefty focus on tempo and rhythm heading into what's generally regarded as the most important preseason game of the exhibition slate.
After sitting out the Patriots' preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady completed 11-of-19 passes for 118 yards with two touchdowns in one half of work during last week's triumph over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now he's focused on building off that performance, as well as what the team has been working towards through training camp.
"Tempo is always something we talk about," Brady said at his weekly Q&A with the media Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. "Coaches really think it's important. You get into rhythm out there and it’s hard when you have a bad tempo, a slow rhythm to the offense. Guys are walking back to huddle, walking to line. You have a bad play and you're walking back to huddle. To me, when we get a good tempo, I like to keep the pressure on the defense rather than give them time to catch their breath. I really enjoy that. That's why I love being in the two-minute drill as well, it’s mandatory fast tempo. You rush to the line of scrimmage, see the coverage, the ball snaps, you make throw, and you’re right on to the next play. If we do that well, it can be a great strength for our team."
Despite putting 28 points on the board in the first half of last week's game in Tampa, one of the few negatives for the offense was sputtering in the two-minute drill to close out the half. Brady got sacked early in the drive and despite rebounding to move the chains, he misfired twice trying to find Wes Welker and the Patriots were forced to punt.
Brady is well aware of the talent on Detroit's defensive line -- referencing last year's Thanksgiving Day game when rookie defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh sacked him -- but is exciting for the challenge that presents, particularly as he ramps up towards being ready for the regular season. Brady said he expects to play Saturday and expects to get hit as well.
"[Hits are] part of the preseason process," said Brady. "You have guys sack you and knock you on the ground. The body can callus to the hits -- hopefully not too much. That's actually a nice thing to have happen to a quarterback. You kinda settle into the game. Everybody goes in with some anxiety, some nerves. The offensive linemen get that knocked out pretty quick when they hit someone right across the line. A quarterback takes a nice hit and you can really settle into the game."
A few other quick hits from Brady's confab with the media:
* Never a fan of entering the media work room for his chats (preferring his locker stall instead), Brady opened the session by quipping, "My first time up here this year, maybe the last."
* Brady isn't putting much stock in preseason performance, noting that the Colts have lost eight straight preseason games, but, "they seem to be a pretty good regular-season and postseason team." Brady echoed comments a day earlier from Jerod Mayo when he noted, "However good it looks, it's never as good as it looks" when referencing the play of New England's top unit.
* Speaking of the Colts, asked about owner Jim Irsay suggesting that Peyton Manning might not be ready for the start of the regular season, Brady scoffed and said, "He'll be playing. You gotta be kidding me. He'll be playing. I know Peyton, he's as tough as competitor as there is. It's going to be hard to keep him out. I think I heard Coach [Tony] Dungy say today that [Manning] had to be dead not to play in that game."
* Asked if he had heard the Jets were going to win the Super Bowl, Brady smiled and noted, "We've heard that for a few years. You won't hear us talking too much about that. There's a long way to go between now and the regular season... It's so far away at this point, we've got other things on our mind." A follow-up query asked if Brady paid attention to the offseason moves made by the Jets and he said, "I pay attention to every team."