- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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Appearing on the Dennis & Callahan show on WEEI radio in Boston (click here for audio on WEEI.com), Patriots quarterback Tom Brady stressed patience and reminded that it's still early in the course of training camp.
Specifically, when asked about the team's offensive line, which was at times shaky during the Patriots' 7-6 win in its preseason opener against the Saints, Brady delivered a vote of confidence and cautioned that coming together as a line takes time.
"It seems like always in training camp there's a lot of players in there that are competing for jobs, and certainly the offensive line, they played the other night, they've been in there a lot throughout the course of training," he said.
"Honestly, it's not my job to worry about those guys. I have a lot of confidence in that group in general, not just the individuals. The longer offensive lines play together, typically the better that they play, the more comfortable they are with one another.
"Offensive line is very similar to an offense in general in that the more trust you have in one another, the better that you typically play. It's still early in training camp and certainly we don't have all the answers three weeks into the year. I wouldn't expect us to peak here in early August. We've got a lot of practice, a lot of communication, a lot of meetings, a lot of walkthroughs that we're going to need in order to be ready when the season really kicks off."
When asked whether he could gauge at this point of the preseason how good his team could potentially be, Brady reinforced the message of patience.
"You have to go through that process and you can't skip parts of that process to get to where you ultimately need to be," he said. "We're a long ways from the start of the year, we're a long ways from being the team that ultimately we're going to be. We haven't even had a regular season practice yet.
"I know a lot of people want to make predictions this time of the year, and that's probably a fun thing to do, but for us players, it's really a matter of just kind of putting our head down and going through the grind of training camp and preseason games, and making mistakes and learning from our mistakes and talking about the mistakes so that ultimately when it really matters the most, we can be at our best.
"That's why the training camp is so necessary, because we have practice basically every day, we have walkthroughs every day, we have five or six hours of meetings a day where we're talking through potential problems, things we're doing well, things we need to do more of, things we need to do less of. It's all for one goal, and it's to get ready for the regular season."
Other soundbites from the interview with Brady included:
On offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels: "I've had quite a bit of work with Josh over the years, both as a quarterbacks coach and as a play caller. He and I are extremely comfortable with one another. He's a great coach. I love being coached by him. He comes prepared every single day, he's always got something new to add to us, he brings a lot of energy to our offense, he's a great coach."
On second year running backs Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley. "I had quite a bit of time with them last year, and I spent the entire last season and a lot of communication with both of those guys. Obviously it looks like they've really learned a lot from last year, and judging by the way they played the other night, they're obviously very talented players, it's just a matter of, like I said, consistency and dependability of everybody on our offense. And certainly at the running back position, when you haven't played as much, it's fun to get out there and play and really see the work you put in the offseason and see how it plays out on the field. They're both excitable and they're fun to have in the huddle. They made a bunch of great plays the other night, so that was fun to see."
On how happy he would be if regular NFL refs, not replacements officials, were present for Week 1 of the regular season. "None of it's for us players to worry about. We have to go out there and do our job, and we have plenty of things on our plate to take care of. The other night [during the preseason opener], for example, the last thing I was thinking about was the refs and their calls. I was worried about trying to compete passes. Whoever is out there is out there, I really could care less who is calling the game. I've gotta go out and do my job as best I can."
On whether there is a need for Plaxico Burress on this roster. "I have no idea. Those decisions aren't up to me, and like I said, I'm a player on this team, I don't make any of those decisions or decide who visits our team and so forth, or who we draft. I kind of find out like everybody else. We have a lot of receivers that have worked really hard over the course of the offseason and through training camp that are competing for a job, so it's a very competitive position, and every single one of those guys on this roster that I've had a chance to be out there with I have a lot of confidence in. However it presents itself with the final roster, those are really Coach Belichick's decisions. He's made those since the day I got here and there's really no one that can talk him into or out of anything, he's the one that makes all those decisions. That kind of the way that it goes."