- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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On his weekly radio appearance with “Dennis & Callahan” on sports radio WEEI, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady delivered another vote of confidence to his offensive line, discussed whether he anticipates playing in the team’s preseason finale on Wednesday night, while also speaking about developing consistency on offense and building chemistry with his receivers.
The offensive line remains a work in progress, having allowed a number of sacks of Brady in his two preseason outings. The quarterback, however, admitted that some of those big hits are a result of his own indecisiveness with the football, and that a number of factors can lead to a sack.
“Offensive football, 11 guys need to be on the same page. When the offensive line is expecting me to get the ball out quick, and I hold onto the ball and I get sacked, people may blame the offensive line, but really it’s the quarterback’s fault,” he said.
“Sometimes there’s coverage sacks, where the defensive coverage, there’s just not a place to find to throw the ball, and the offensive line is expecting a certain rhythm of a play and it doesn’t come out that way. It could be a number of things, and our offensive line, they’ve worked their tail off. They’re out there giving everything they’ve got, and from a quarterback’s standpoint, we’ve got plenty of time to throw the ball and find the right guy. We have to do a better job doing our job, which is getting the ball out. We need to get it out, get it to the open receiver, and let our guys do something with it.”
In seasons past, Brady and a number of other starters have sat out the final preseason contest, though the 35-year old’s expectation and desire is to be in uniform on Wednesday night when the Patriots travel to face the New York Giants.
“Coach hasn’t told us anything,” Brady said. “He’s always said be prepared to play, and play for as long as it takes for you to be out there, and he’ll take you out when he wants to take you out. As far as I know, I’m playing, and that’s what I’d expect, and that’s what I enjoy, to tell you the truth. I’d love to get out there and play again."
Should Brady take the field, one of his primary goals will be to continue to build consistency with his offense, something the starting unit has struggled to do in game action thus far.
“I think we’ve got to be more consistent, there’s no question about that. Offensive football is based on stringing play-after-play, good-play-after-good-play together, in order to score points and to be methodical, and to be precise. That’s really the only way, when you play against good defenses, to score points” Brady continued.
“I said after the [Tampa Bay] game, if you don’t score on a big play, a 50-yard pass play, a 60-yard pass play, you’ve got to be methodical. That’s about really sustaining your concentration and your level of execution on a down-by-down basis. And that’s what we’re trying to improve upon, it doesn’t just magically appear, you’ve got to put work in and you’ve got to commit to it and that’s what we’re all trying to do out there on a daily basis in practice.”
One likely component to improving the offense’s consistency will be the continued development of trust between Brady and new receiver Brandon Lloyd, something he suggested is an ongoing process.
Brady opened up about what absolute trust between a quarterback and wide receiver means within the construct of an offense.
“It’s about timing, it’s about anticipation, it’s about body language. With a guy like Deion [Branch] and Wes [Welker], who I’ve thrown tens of thousands of balls to, I just know by the way they change their speed or stride length or a shoulder dip that they’re about to make a particular move, which allows me to throw the ball to a certain place,” he added.
“So when they make their cut, they turn around and the ball is where it needs to be. Every receiver does it a little bit differently, and every quarterback throws it a little different place. Part of the anticipation is throwing the ball before the receiver breaks, and before the receiver is into his route, so that the defensive back really doesn’t have a chance, when there is separation, the ball is already in the receiver’s hands.
"That’s the kind of chemistry that you look to develop as an offense, as a receiver, tight end combo. In the passing game, that really is the passing offense. The more you do it, the more comfortable you become. Everybody wants it to click right away, at the same time, there’s really a foundation that you’ve got to put together, that we’ve been trying to do over the last few months. Sometimes it shows up, and sometimes you realize you’ve got a lot more work to put in. Coming off the Tampa game, we realize we’ve got a lot more work to put in. And as long as we’re willing to commit to that, then you know that there’s going to be improvement and that’s where you get your confidence.”