Brady: No 'magic dust' to beat Steelers

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Brady: No 'magic dust' to beat Steelers

FOXBORO Good defense, bad defense. It doesn't really matter.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the high-powered Patriots offense have been equal opportunity destroyers of defenses all season.

Even the Pittsburgh Steelers, a team whose defense has consistently been among the NFL's best for years, isn't immune to being lit up by the Brady bunch.

"It's just execution, guys getting open and us completing them," Brady said. "There's no special thing we do. There's no magic dust we put in our cereal in the morning, or anything like that. We just play really well, and that does pretty well against any defense."

Maybe so, but what makes New England's success so surprising is that much of it comes in the passing game -- an area where most teams struggle against Pittsburgh.

The Steelers come into Sunday's game with a defense ranked No. 3 in the NFL, and a pass defense that's giving up an NFL-low 171.9 yards through the air per game.

Meanwhile, New England counters with an aerial attack that's generating an NFL-best 350.5 yards per game.

And adding to the challenge will be the location: Heinz Field. It's a place where many a team has entered only to leave battered, bruised and defeated.

Brady admits that if the Patriots aren't careful, the crowd can become a factor.

"We always talk about, night before the game, in the meeting room, look around and say, 'This is all we got. This is all we need.' " Brady said. "If we make good plays, the crowd is not going to be a factor. If we don't, you better believe they'll be there all day long."

They certainly played a role in a 34-20 loss in 2004, the last time the Pats lost on Heinz Field.

"The better we play, the less factor they will be and there's less margin for error," Brady said. "You're playing in a place where you're very unfamiliar, and you're playing, they got their crowd noise, and they got a lot of energy is kind of, kind of focused on the home team."

As much as the Black and Gold fans will have their say, ultimately the game will be won -- or lost -- by the players on the field.

"Like in '08, we didn't play well and they kicked the crap out of us," Brady said. "In '04 they kicked the crap out of us. You gotta go in expecting to play our best game. If we don't, it's a long hard day. If we do, then we're confident we can get a win."

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Football is coming.

The Patriots announced on Thursday that veterans will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 26 and that the first public practice will take place the following day.

Each of the team's first four practices -- from July 27-30 -- are scheduled to take place on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium "in the nine o'clock hour," according to the Patriots. Updates to the training camp schedule, including more specific start times for practices, can be found at patriots.com/trainingcamp.

The Patriots Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony for former corner Raymond Clayborn on Saturday, July 29 around midday following that morning's training camp practice. Held on the plaza outside the Hall at Patriot Place, the ceremony will be free and open to the public.

The Patriots will host the Jaguars for two days of joint practices open to the public on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8. The preseason opener for both clubs will take place at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 10.