FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When Patriots quarterback Tom Brady arrived at the podium for his weekly Wednesday news conference, and asked which reporter wanted to start the proceedings, there was a noticeable silence.
That's when veteran Patriots reporter Tom E. Curran of Comcast SportsNet, who has a knack for lightening the mood at times, piped up with an outside-the-hashmarks question.
"How come you don't have a cool nickname like Matty Ice?" he asked, in reference to Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.
Brady played along with the hard-hitting question.
"I don't know. I don't have any nicknames?" he responded.
"Nothing really," Curran replied.
"That should be the thing. That's a good story for this week," Brady said with a playful touch. "TB12 is pretty good. Not bad."
When Curran disagreed, Brady relented.
"Not as good as Matty Ice," the quarterback said, drawing laughter. "Matty Ice is pretty sweet."
The "TB12 vs. Matty Ice" storyline is a natural one this week as the Patriots prepare to visit the Falcons on Sunday night. The Georgia Dome should be electric.
"It's a really challenging environment to play in -- it's loud, it's a dome, it's Sunday night," Brady said as the news conference turned more serious. "Coach always says, 'if you love football, then Sunday night at 8:30 in Atlanta will be the place to be.' I totally agree."
One area Brady touched upon is the Patriots' red zone offense, which has produced four touchdowns in 13 trips. In terms of touchdown percentage, which isn't a foolproof stat to measure red zone efficiency, the Patriots rank last in the NFL.
"We've been practicing it quite a bit," Brady said. "We definitely left some points on the board, just poor execution. I've been one of the main culprits."