<
>

Brady's message to fans for home opener

9/14/2011

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tom Brady has a message for the fans who will be coming to the New England Patriots’ home opener against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday afternoon (4:15 ET).

“Start drinking early. Get rowdy. There’s a lot of time to get lubed up and cheer for the home team,” said Brady as he stood at his locker Wednesday morning.

Wait, though. You thought the Patriots’ all-world quarterback was talking about alcohol consumption at those tailgate parties? Not so, clarified the Patriots a short time after those words had escaped Brady’s lips like an uncharacteristically misguided pass.

He meant to drink water so as to stay hydrated, said a team spokesman. That’s what Brady meant.

Right.

In any event, what Brady also was alluding to was that fans should be loud and supportive, something that has been missing at Gillette Stadium, he has intimated in the past, suggesting Patriots fans may be spoiled by the team’s success over the last 12 years or so.

But, he added Wednesday, it is up to the Patriots themselves to generate the excitement in the stadium that can help raise the performance level.

“If we make good plays they’re going to scream,” said Brady. “It always helps when the crowd is loud. We have to give them a reason to cheer for us. Hopefully those muskets (which get shot off when the Pats score) will go off a lot this weekend.”

If the Patriots can repeat what they accomplished offensively in Miami on Monday night, a 38-24 win in which Brady threw for four touchdowns and a franchise-record 517 yards, there will be a shortage of ammunition for the New England militia men at Gillette on Sunday.

Brady’s performance earned him the AFC’s Player of the Week honors, not that he was outwardly impressed with the award.

“Our goals are much bigger than the AFC Player of the Week around here,” said Brady.

While it was an impressive offensive showing, it still just constituted one win, a 1-0 record, Brady reminded the media.

“It was a decent start,” said the always demanding Brady. “It wasn’t a perfect performance by any stretch. We had some three-and-outs. There were more plays that could have been made.”

And, to listen to Brady, things don’t get any easier with the Chargers visiting Gillette. Of course, San Diego has a potent offense of its own, spearheaded by quarterback Philip Rivers. But Brady’s concerns were on the other side of the ball. He praised the Chargers’ defense.

“They’ve got veterans, they’re aggressive,” said Brady. “That’s a talented team. They have an attacking defense and good players at every positions, their corners, safeties, linebackers. They have one of the best teams in the AFC and they have been for a long time. They have a great quarterback. That will be a big challenge for us.”

Another potential challenge for Brady, meanwhile, already was addressed for the quarterback and the Pats when veteran starting center Dan Koppen suffered a broken ankle during the opener in Miami.

That forced Dan Connolly, who generally plays guard for the Pats, into the role of center. And, clearly, Connolly handled that assignment well Monday night.

“I trust him to do his job,” said Brady of Connolly. “I have to focus on what I need to do.”

And that focus will be on the Chargers, who held Brady to only 159 yards on 19 completions in 32 attempts last Oct .24, though New England came out on top, 23-20, in that game in San Diego.