Brady to MMQB one week after Super Bowl: 'I have zero pain'

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Brady to MMQB one week after Super Bowl: 'I have zero pain'

Tom Brady was sacked five times and hit three more during a game in which he played a career-high 99 snaps. The game also happened to be Brady's 15th in 18 weeks. He also happens to be 39 years old. 

Still, he told Peter King of TheMMQB.com that he felt perfectly fine exactly one week after winning Super Bowl LI.

"I have zero pain," Brady said on Sunday. "I feel great. I feel 100 percent."

We've long chronicled the ways in which Brady takes care of his body in order to be fresh for as long as possible. That includes taking a maniacle approach to his training, keeping up with an incredibly regimented diet, and sleep. Lots of sleep

This season it also meant managing knee and thigh issues that stemmed from a hit he took against the Seahawks back in Week 10. Despite all that, and despite playing at an age when most players are several years into retirement, Brady felt well enough this past weekend to go skiing in Montana, where King caught up with him. 

The two had a conversation that lasted a couple of hours, per King. Here are a few of the most noteworthy tidbits that were passed along . . . 

* Though the Patriots put together the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, Brady said the game was not one of his best. Yes, he won Super Bowl MVP after setting records for attempts (62), completions (43), yards (466) and his offense set the mark for most first downs (37), but he noted his performance was littered with imperfections through the first three quarters. 

"I don’t really think that is necessarily the case," he said when King suggested it had to be one of the great games of his life. "I think it was one of the greatest games I have ever played in, but when I think of an interception return for a touchdown, some other missed opportunities in the first 37, 38 minutes of the game, I don’t really consider playing a good quarter-and-a-half plus overtime as one of the 'best games ever.' But it was certainly one of the most thrilling for me, just because so much was on the line, and it ended up being an incredible game."

* Brady broke down several key plays that helped the Patriots make up the 25-point deficit they faced in the third quarter, including the six-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola in the fourth. On the play, Brady acknowledged that he had a little help from offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as he surveyed the Falcons defense. 

Because Brady was to the line of scrimmage well before the coach-to-quarterback communication system went down -- it shuts off when the play clock hits 15 seconds -- McDaniels was able to steer Brady in Amendola's direction based on what he saw from the sideline. 

Amendola was in the slot, with corner Jalen Collins on his inside shoulder, when Brady widened Amendola away from the formation a few steps. 

"I think he said, ‘Don’t forget about Danny,’ or ‘Danny has a great shot on this.’ Something like that," Brady said. "I wanted to give Danny a better chance to get open. So I pushed him out because I knew at that point I had changed the route and I wanted to make sure Danny would get the leverage or put him in a better position to get the leverage based on the route that he had.

"I wanted to move him out because I didn’t want him to get stuck inside of Jalen … [Collins] being inside told me it was probably man coverage, a perimeter corner on the inside of the field … When I pushed Danny out, Jalen didn’t really adjust, so I was really looking outside after that to see if the corner was going to try to get involved and maybe trapping that to the flat. But once I saw the corner go with the outside receiver, or it might have been James White, I just threw it to Danny."

* Collins was targeted 14 times in the game, and he allowed 10 catches for 98 yards and two scores. Part of the reason Brady picked on the second-year man out of LSU?

"Because he is, in the vernacular, 'long,' and New England’s scouting theory entering the game was that 'long' corners (Collins is 6'1") are slightly slower at stopping and starting," King wrote. 

That made some of the comeback routes that Brady hit to Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell particularly appealing when Collins was lined up across from them in one-on-one situations outside. 

Brissett sees room for improvement but feels he's 'moving in the right direction'

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Brissett sees room for improvement but feels he's 'moving in the right direction'

HOUSTON -- It wasn't the mechanics of his throwing motion that he was concerned about. For Jacoby Brissett, it was the way in which he was seeing the Texans defense, the length of time it took to get a feel for the game, and how his night ended that bothered him. 

"I felt like I was getting my rhythm," Brissett said after the Patriots lost their exhibition with the Texans on Saturday, 23-20. "But you can't really remember all that stuff when the last play happens like that. It's the last one."

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Though the outcome of the game meant nothing, Brissett and his teammates were looking for a game-winning touchdown with less than a minute left when Brissett had the ball knocked from his hands and out of the back of the end zone for a touchback. 

Brissett's night finished up with him going 5-for-10 for 36 yards. He was sacked twice and pressured on seven of his 15 drop-backs. 

The reserves playing for the Texans in the fourth quarter made life difficult for Brissett and his teammates as their first two drives resulted in punts. Brissett was hit twice on those drives, and his first third-down attempt failed when Houston sniffed out a screen. The Patriots had what looked like a third-and-21 conversion on their next sequence, but Devin Lucien bobbled a catch deep over the middle of the field that fell incomplete. 

Brissett seemed to make a couple of relatively difficult throws during his time on the field -- he nearly had a game-winning touchdown pass completed to Cody Hollister on a fade to the back corner of Houston's end zone, but Hollister got just one foot in-bounds -- yet he wished he could have done more to spark the Patriots offense quickly.

"I think I'm throwing the ball good," he said. "I don't think that's the issue. I think it's more so just my eyes and the timing of everything. I don't think it's throwing -- actually throwing. I think it's the mechanics of playing the game."

There was some good to be taken from Brissett's brief outing. After taking over possession with less than two minutes left, he helped the Patriots get deep into Texans territory with completions to Lucien, Sam Cotton and a third-down strike to DJ Foster. He also avoided a near sack, getting out of bounds to stop the clock, and he wisely spiked the football into the turf when he realized Houston had figured out another screen was coming.

Brissett looked back on where the third-team offense was at the start of camp -- with players like receivers Tony Washington and KJ Maye having just been added to the roster -- and pointed out that he felt they were significantly ahead of where they were then.

"I think we've gotten a lot better," Brissett said. "Just this two-minute drive is a good example. Last week we didn't make it past, what, the 40-yard line [against Jacksonville]? This week we're in the red zone with a chance to win the game. I think a lot of our young guys are stepping up and making plays and we're getting a little continuity together."

As for Brissett himself? The 2016 third-round pick has been the subject of some media speculation as to whether or not his spot on the 53-man roster is safe. After seeing some inconsistency in his play during camp practices and last week's game against the Jaguars, there were those who wondered if he was progressing at a rate that would help him survive this year's cutdown date. 

Asked to give a self-evaluation after the Texans game, Brissett said, "I definitely want to do more and play better, but there are good things getting done, good learning experiences. Moving in the right direction . . . 

"I feel like I'm still getting better. I think I'm doing good things. I mean, this league is hard. You just continue to work on things and continue to get better. Yeah, [tonight] the end result is a loss, but there were some good things we did out there. Some things it's good to get on film and learn from. It's a learning experience. That's what this is right now."

Whether the coaching staff sees the improvement Brissett described is unclear. 

"We've all got a long way to go," Belichick said following Saturday's game when asked about Brissett's progress. "I don't think anybody's where we need to be. Any player. Any coach. Any anybody . . . Just grinding it out. It's going to take a while."

Brissett insisted that coaches have been just as tight-lipped behind the scenes when it comes to how they've seen him grow summer. 

"I don't know what they think," Brissett said with a smile. "They don't tell me . . . I'm putting my best foot forward. It's up to them if they think I've been getting better or not."