Opponent Opinions

New England quarterback Tom Brady has never been shy about talking about the problems he's had against the Dolphins defense in the past.

Q. Why has your offensive line been so successful in recent years seemingly regardless of who's in the lineup?

Brady: "First of all, they're very, very well coached. Our offensive line coach, Dante Scarnecchia, has been here longer than anybody, over 20 years. He's really been a staple here, and he's a great coach. I think there's been very talented players who have been here, and I think all those guys work hard and their expectations are very high. So when somebody goes out, other guys are expected to fill in and really play the role. We're lucky that we have a bunch of capable guys."

Q. Can you talk about Junior Seau in terms of his leadership skills?

Brady: "He's been great to have around. When you add someone like that to the locker room who's had so many years of experience and has played at such a high level and still has really the will to win and the will to work hard, it's been great. He's everything that you would expect. He's one of the guys that's in here first every day and he's one of the last to leave. He's always watching film, he's always figuring out ways to improve. I think all the guys see that. When you see him do it, it makes it a lot easier for you to go out and play."

Does Seau talk to the whole team, or just the defense?

Brady: "I think there's been a game or two where he's kind of said some things before the game, a little motivation for our guys. And no doubt everyone's listening. When Junior talks, people listen."

Q. How do you go about coming up with new looks to surprise defenses week after week?

Brady: "I think we're always trying to keep them off balance. One thing that we always do, there's a lot of self-scouting that goes on here, and you try to break tendencies. There's things you try to do. I think the way that you game-plan is that you figure out what a defense is good at and figure out what they're not very good at, and you try to play to your strength that really kind of match up with their weaknesses. Now you're not going to do a bunch of things you're not very good at, nor are you going to do a bunch of things that the defense is very good at. That's what makes it very difficult to game-plan, especially when you play a defense like this that does a lot of things very well and has been playing very well this year. We've got to find a way to attack them, and hopefully we find a pretty good way to, we've got to find our best matchups."

Q. Has a defense ever surprised you?

Brady: "There's a bunch of times where we'll go into games ... I know we played Tampa Bay last year and they're known for playing a lot of cover 2. When we played them we got one snap of cover 2 the entire game. I remember back in the day when we used to play Miami, and Miami would line up and play the same defense on every single play. I think a few of the worst games I ever played were against them when they would just line it up and do the same thing. So I think there's something to be said for being good at one thing and kind of letting that be the foundation of the defense. I think the way that the Dolphins are now, they're really good at kind of a multitude of things. I think the biggest challenge is kind of figuring out what they're going to do and hopefully we can go out and execute well against it."

Q. How do you compensate for losing your two starting wide receivers from last year?

Brady: "I think anybody would like the continuity, but the reality is guys change teams, move on, whether it be through free agency or trades or guys being released. There's turnover every year. One thing I've learned is, the only thing I've got to focus on is my job, and the more I worry about what the general manager is doing or the head coach is doing, then the more problems I have. Would I love to have those guys back? Of course. But the guys I have now are extremely hard-working, and we've really been making a bunch of improvements in the past few weeks and I think that our offense is really starting to develop into something that we all expected. We set them pretty high, and I think we're all kind coming into the form that we like to."

Q. Have you personally changed this season?

Brady: "I think you evolve. Our offense is built around players, you build around the players you have. For four or five years we built around a certain type of player, and I think those players are very different now. So we're trying now to adapt to the players that we have, which over the last few weeks I think we've made a bunch of improvement. Those guys are working very hard, there's a lot of trust that they know exactly what they're doing and they're running very good routes and making a bunch of plays for us in the passing game."

Q. Do you find yourself using your tight ends more often now?

Brady: "I think there's been some continuity there with Dan (Graham) and Ben (Watson), we've become very much more of a two-tight-end type of team. Both can block very well, both can catch the ball and are dangerous with the ball in their hands. When you have tight ends like that, you really need to account for them on every play. Those guys have been a big part of this offense the first four games. Really, this offense would be tough to exist without those guys."

Q. What's your take on gadget plays?

Brady: "I think they always add some excitement to the offense. It's one thing you've really got to account for. Like the Steelers, for example, I think they're a big gadget-play team, and they run a bunch of them. They ran one of them in the Super Bowl for a touchdown. Screens, reverses, double passes, any type of misdirection, those are all fun, and they think they add a lot of energy. Certainly there's more risk involved, but hopefully there's more of a reward as well. You take your shots when you can, but you're really just trying to keep the defense off balance. I don't think we've had a whole bunch of those and I don't think that's been a big belief of ours."

Q. What do you think of Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey when it comes to gadget plays?

Brady: "When he was at Pittsburgh, I think that's where the call originated. He has his playbook filled with ones that he's comfortable running. He's got a lot of good ones."

Can you talk about the Patriots running game?

Brady: "That's been critical to our success. We're running the ball better than I can remember us running it. We've got four very, very good running backs, including Heath (Evans). Heath, Kevin (Faulk), Corey (Dillon) and Laurence (Maroney), they're very tough, physical runners. They have very good vision. I think they like the schemes that we're running. I think a big part of it is the offensive line, there's been some continuity there. Those guys are creating some holes and some separation in the defense, and our running backs are good enough to find the holes and explode through the holes, running through arm tackles. One thing that was really critical to last week was our yards after contact. I think we had 107 yards in the run game after contact, which is pretty exceptional."


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