Clean-cut Brady focused on Raiders
September, 28, 2011
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The biggest news to come out of Tom Brady's weekly gabfest with the media? It might have been the mere sight of a close-crop haircut (the shearing of Brady's much-ballyhooed locks sure to be a hot topic amongst football fans and fashionistas alike).
But Brady kept the focus on the gridiron and, specifically, moving past last week's four-interception loss in Buffalo and on to this week's visit to the Oakland Raiders, a team Brady hasn't played since the 2005 season (Brady was injured in 2008 when the Patriots last visited the Black Hole).
Chris Forsberg/ESPN BostonPatriots quarterback Tom Brady -- sans the long hair.
"It's been a while since I've been there. The last time [Brady] played there, I think it was '02," Brady said of a 27-20 loss near where he grew up in San Mateo, Calif. "My parents are the most happy, they don’t have to come very far. For us, it’s a road game, an important one, and we have to go there and try to win.
"It's been a crash course in getting to know them, their personnel and their schemes. They are very good. They play well at home, they're physical, they're tough, they're big, and they're fast... It’s a good front, good in the secondary, physical. It’s going to be a good challenge."
Brady noted one of the biggest challenges will be stopping old friend Richard Seymour.
"He was a great player for us and a good friend of mine," said Brady. "He’s still playing well. We know the challenge is to block him up front, we had to do it in practice for a lot of years. Nobody knows him better than [guard] Logan [Mankins] and [center Dan Koppen] and [tackle Matt] Light. Those guys have been in there facing him. Richard was tough to block, and he still looks tough to block. There’s not much change with him -- he’s a load and when he gets going, he’s tough to slow down.
"[Seymour is] a tough, hard-nosed football player that loves the game, and you can see that by the way he plays. He has high expectations for himself. He really gets after the quarterback and plays the run well. He’s obviously the leader in that defensive front. When he gets going, they all get going, so that’s one thing, they really rally around him and when he makes his plays, they all start making plays. It's important to us to figure out ways to slow him down."
Asked about wide receiver Chad Ochocinco and his struggles in Buffalo (dropping a potential fourth-quarter touchdown pass and making just two catches in his most heightened activity of the season), Brady maintained that there is room for improvement all around.
"It's three games for all of us together, in this offense -- Chad, Wes [Welker], Deion [Branch] -- all of us in the receiver-quarterback combination. We’re trying to do better each week, trying to make improvements each week. We’re not where we need to be, and we’re not where we're going to be. We’re going to keep working hard and try to make improvements. That’s for myself, for every position on the team. As long as you show up and work hard every day, we have confidence we're going to get better."
Friday marks the 10-year anniversary of Brady's first NFL start. Asked about the moment, Brady suggested -- then proved -- he honestly couldn't remember the details of that game.
"I don't even remember, that was a long time ago," he said, pondering it for a moment before noting, "We beat the Chargers."
That overtime triumph against San Diego actually came on Oct. 14, 2001 and helped turn around a 1-3 start. When it was pointed out that it was actually a visit from the Colts -- a 44-13 triumph in which the defense did most of the work for the Patriots -- Brady smiled and quipped about truly being unable to remember, "See."