Brady unsure whether he will play vs. Giants

864861.jpg

Brady unsure whether he will play vs. Giants

Tom Brady isn't quite sure if he will play in the Patriots' preseason finale against the Giants, but he hopes that he will.

The Patriots quarterback joined WEEI's Dennis and Callahan show Monday morning to talk all things preseason, including his availability for Wednesday's game.

"Coach hasn't told us anything," Brady said. "He always says be prepared to play and play for as long as it takes for you to be out there, and he'll take you out when he wants to take you out. As far as I know, I'm playing. That's what I'd expect, and that's what I'd enjoy, to tell you the truth. I'd love to get out there and play again."

Though oftentimes stars around the league will sit out of their teams' fourth preseason game, there is precedent that says Brady may be back under center later this week. After a lackluster third exhibition against the Lions last season, Brady did get some time in the preseason finale.

But Bill Belichick couldn't be blamed for resting Brady this week, especially after the offensive line has shown it has had trouble in pass protection. Brady's been sacked three times this preseason in 30 dropbacks. The quarterback told WEEI, however, that some of those plays during which he's getting croaked are partly his fault.

Offensive football, 11 guys need to be on the same page, Brady said. When the offensive lines expecting me to get the ball out quick and I hold on to the ball and I get sacked, then people may blame the offensive line, but really its the quarterbacks fault. Sometimes theres coverage sacks, where the defensive coverage, theres just not a place to find to throw the ball, and the offensive line, like I said, is expecting a certain rhythm of a play and it doesnt come out that way. It could be a number of things.

Theyre out there giving everything theyve got," Brady added. "From a quarterback standpoint, weve got plenty of time to throw the ball and find the right guy. We have to do a better job of doing our job, which is getting the ball out when we need to get it out, get it to the open receiver and let our guys do something with it.

Here's more from Brady's Monday morning conversation...

On Brady's connection with Brandon Lloyd, who has one catch this preseason:
"It's about timing, it's about anticipation, it's about body language," Brady said. "With a guy like Deion Branch and Wes Welker, who I've thrown tens of thousands of balls to, I just know by the way they change their speed or stride length or shoulder dip that they're about to make a particular move, which allows me to throw the ball to a certain place, so when they make their cut they turn around and the ball is where it needs to be.

"Well, every receiver does it a little bit differently, and every quarterback throws it in a little different place. Part of the anticipation is throwing the ball before the receiver breaks and before the receiver is into his route, so that the defensive back really doesn't have a chance -- when there is separation, the ball is already in the receiver's hands. That's the kind of chemistry that you look to develop as an offense, as a receivertight end combo. That really is the passing offense. The more you do it, the more comfortable you become.

"Everyone wants it to click right away. At the same time, there's really a foundation that you've got to put together, that we've been trying to do here over the last few months. Sometimes it shows up, and sometimes you realize you've got a lot more work to put in. Coming off the Tampa game, we realized that we've got a lot more work to put in. As long as we're willing to commit to that, then you know that there's going to be improvements made, and that's where you gain your confidence.

"Brandon has done a great job, coming in and been really willing to learn and do whatever the coaches have asked him to do. It's certainly not from a lack of effort that he hasn't caught many passes. It's just a matter of getting the reps in. The more reps that he and I have gotten together, the better it's shown on the field. I'm excited for Brandon and for what he can add to our offense."

On if Lloyd's start with the team is reminiscent at all of Chad Ochocinco:
"I enjoyed working with Chad. It just didn't work out with Chad," Brady said. "He was a great guy and a great teammate. Brandon has shown a lot of things in practice, through the spring -- like I said, his commitment, his work ethic. Anyone who has come down to training camp has seen what he is capable of.

"I'm not going to sit here and make predictions. I'm not a fantasy football picker, either. You guys sound like my best friends calling me, asking me what round they should pick Rob Gronkowski in. Lloyd is going to be a part of the offense. His role is going to be whatever he makes of it. He's shown that he can compete out there on a daily basis, and that's all that you can expect."

On why the Patriots (unlike the Red Sox) don't have locker room problems:
"Our locker room is run by one man. And he expects a certain level -- an attitude, a work ethic, an enthusiasm, an accountability that you have to bring to work every day," Brady said. "Those are the kind of players that he brings in. If you're not prepared to work or if you're not mentally tough, then he gets rid of you. Really, when you look around the locker room, you're surrounded by a bunch of guys that are very similar, and a bunch of guys that really care about the team and are committed to the team. That's what the foundation of our team is built on.

"You realize when you're in that locker room, when you look around the environment, you don't fit in if you're worried about how many rush yards or how many sacks or how many yards you throw for. At the end of the day, none of that matters. The only thing that matters is winning. That's why he brings us here -- to win. That's the expectation we try to fulfill. That's on a daily basis."

On new teammate Jeff Demps:"He's only been out there two days. He got in there -- I said after the game, I was pretty impressed. From training the way he trained for as long as he did and then just to put shoulder pads and a helmet on and run out there and work on our plays. He's asking us, 'What does that mean? Where do I go.' He's obviously a great athlete. He's off to a great start."

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

NFLPA tells rookies to be like Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski is a model citizen in the NFL. In fact, the NFL Players Association is advising rookies to be more like Gronk, according to The Boston Globe

The New England Patriots tight end has developed a name for himself on and off the football field. With that attention comes branding. And at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere from May 18 to 20, the NFLPA encouraged rookies to develop their own brand -- much like Gronkowski.

“Some people think he’s just this extension of a frat boy, and that it’s sort of accidental,” Ahmad Nassar said, via The Globe. Nassar is the president of NFL Players Inc., the for-profit subsidiary of the NFLPA. “And that’s wrong. It’s not accidental, it’s very purposeful. So the message there is, really good branding is where you don’t even feel it. You think, ‘Oh, that’s just Gronk being Gronk.’ Actually, that’s his brand, but it’s so good and so ingrained and so authentic, you don’t even know it’s a brand or think it.”

Gronkowski's "Summer of Gronk" has indirectly become one of his streams of income. The tight end makes appearances for magazines and sponsors. Because of his earnings from branding and endorsements, he didn't touch his NFL salary during the early years of his career.

Gronk was one of three players who were the topics of discussion during the symposium. Dak Prescott and Odell Beckham were also used as examples of players who have been able to generate additional income from endorsements. Beckham, in particular, has been in the spotlight off the football field. He's appeared on the cover of Madden, and just signed a deal with NIke which is reportedly worth $25 million over five years with upwards of $48 million over eight years. His deal, which is a record for an NFL player, will pay him more than his contract with the Giants.

“A lot of people talk to the players about, ‘You should be careful with your money and you should treat your family this way and you should treat your girlfriend or your wife.’ Which is fine. I think that’s valuable,” Nassar said, via The Globe. “But we don’t often give them a chance to answer the question: How do you see yourself as a brand? Because Gronk, Odell, none of those guys accidentally ended up where they are from a branding and marketing standpoint.”

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL

Tom Brady delivers video message at funeral of Navy SEAL


Tom Brady delivered a video message last week at the funeral of Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.

Bill Speros of The Boston Herald, in a column this Memorial Day weekend, wrote about Milliken and Brady's message.   

Milliken ran track at Cheverus High School in Falmouth, Maine, and at UConn, where he graduated in 2001. Milliken lived in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Erin, and two children.  He other Navy SEALs participated in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011 where he met and posed for pictures with Brady.

Speros wrote that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady's video offered condolences and thanked Milliken’s family for its sacrifice and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.

Milliken had served in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning four Bronze Star Medals and was based in Virginia since 2004.  He was killed in a nighttime firefight with Al-Shabaab militants near Barij, about 40 miles from the Somali capital of Mogadishu. He was 38.

The Pentagon said Milliken was the first American serviceman killed in combat in Somalia since the "Black Hawk Down" battle that killed 18 Americans in 1993. 

In a statement to the Herald, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: “It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011. It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.

“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”