FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tom Brady isn't looking at the big picture of the 2010 season -- yet. He's focused on the Dolphins on Sunday and said he plans to play.
The 13-2 Patriots have clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, and after receiver Wes Welker suffered a season-ending injury in last season's meaningless finale, everyone wants to know if the Patriots' stars are playing this week.
"I think we're playing," Brady said. "That's just the way it is. I don't get into a whole lot of evaluation why. It's a football game. I'm the starting quarterback on this football team, and I'm gonna play. All those other guys take the same approach. I don't think we approach this week any different. Leave that up to the coach."
Bill Belichick has not been forthcoming this week when asked whether the starters will see action, and if so, how much. Welker has said he expects to play. The Patriots get a bye week after Sunday, so coaches must balance rest and safety with keeping the team sharp.
Brady also said this is not the time to focus on the achievements of 2010, such as making the Pro Bowl.
"I think the only thing I really think about is what we have to do this week. The only thing on the season is that we put ourselves in a good position and I think it would be great to finish it off the right way this week, go out there and play a great game, against a team that we split with the last few years," he said. "I don't get into all the personal evaluations, or anything like that. I think that's a waste of time for me, and probably all my teammates, too."
Brady later said that the Patriots aren't a team that rests and that's why all of his focus is on the Dolphins.
"I don't think we take weeks off. I don't think we take days off," he said.
Although Brady was reluctant to talk about his own season, he was happy to answer a question about former Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel, who has put together a terrific season in Kansas City.
"He's had an incredible year," he said. "We're great friends. Any time you spend as much time as we spent together, you develop a great relationship. He's kind of like a brother to me. We've had a lot of great moments and memories together. We still do."
Brady leads all NFL quarterbacks with a rating of 109.8. Cassel is fifth at 98.8.
Information from ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss was used in this report.