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Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Brady offers snappy praise for Connolly

By Chris Forsberg

AP Photo/Stephan SavoiaPatriots quarterback Tom Brady prepares for the snap earlier this season against the Chargers.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- On the same day that Patriots center Dan Koppen emerged from the trainer's room to chat with the media about his season-ending leg injury, quarterback Tom Brady spent a lot of time Wednesday chatting about the importance of the quarterback-center exchange.

Brady offered high praise for backup center Dan Connolly, who has stepped in for Koppen and handled those duties without incident since Koppen went down late in the first half of a Week 1 win in Miami.

"The center, for the quarterback, obviously there's nobody that we rely on more than those guys," said Brady. "Not only for the execution of the snap, but also the calls and the communication between the quarterback and the offensive line, and the offensive line and the quarterback. A lot of what we do depends on us all being on the same page. How quickly we can get the calls, relay them to one another, then, in the same amount of time, be able to snap the ball. That’s hugely important to the execution of the offense.

"Coach always says that Foxborough High School can execute the snap, and you see us in training camp running laps around the field because we’ll fumble a snap on occasion. Fortunately, [Connolly’s] been here and he’s worked at center. He really stepped into his role, kinda called to duty when [Koppen] went down. It's really been a good spot for him. We all have a lot of confidence in him and he's just gotten better.”

Brady said a fumbled snap, even one the quarterback is able to simply fall on, might not seem like the end of the world, but he noted that every play is precious in this league.

“It’s frustrating," said Brady. "You lose one or two plays in a game, they’re critical plays. Every play is critical. You only get 60-70 plays per game, so to give away one, without the defense really having to do anything, it’s tough. I think that [Connolly has] worked hard at it over the years, he’s always put himself in position to take advantage of the opportunity."