FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots' physical defense has been one of the top storylines of training camp. Specifically, cornerback Brandon Browner's play has stood out in that area, to the point that it has disrupted the rhythm of the offense and affected the ability to execute in some drills.
Quarterback Tom Brady shared some insight on the topic today.
Here is the Q&A:
Do you love to see the defense’s physicality, even though it might go beyond what’s acceptable?
Brady: Yeah, they are a physical defense. I think all of those guys are veterans. They know how to get away with certain plays. Like holding, for example – it happens every play, so if you look close enough you’re going to find holding. There is an edge that you can always push it to. If you look at the offensive line, there’s holding on every play. That’s just the way football is. You’ve just got to do it in a way where the refs don’t see it and don’t call it. But that same thing goes for the defensive backfield. If there is a way to gain leverage on a particular route, then you’re going to use it. The veterans know how to do it better; they know right where the limit is.
Is there a fine balance between them disrupting receivers’ routes and accepting it because it’s what the receivers are going to have to deal with in games?
Brady: Absolutely, I think that’s what defenses do. We’ll go into games and say, 'Look, these guys hold on every play.' They grab you, they clutch you, they hold you, but we still have to figure out a way to get open. It’s not flag football. Their hands are going to be on you, and the refs, they’re only going to call it when you pass the limit of where they think the limit is. That’s just part of football, and I think the best defenses I’ve ever played against – they get their hands on you, and they don’t let you get into your route, and they disrupt the timing. Our corners, Kyle Arrington, and linebackers in coverage do a great job of that, too. But we’ve got to learn to be just as physical. We’ve got to learn to push off in the right way and get our leverage because that’s how it’s going to be when it matters.