Brady remembers sideline spat with O'Brien: 'He kind of let me have it'

Brady remembers sideline spat with O'Brien: 'He kind of let me have it'

Bill O'Brien spent five years with the Patriots, including two as the quarterbacks coach (2009-10) and one as the offensive coordinator (2011). But what he may be most remembered for in New England is one particularly fiery sideline spat with Tom Brady

It was a "Teapot" moment for the Texans coach, who will re-visit Gillette Stadium on Saturday for the Divisional Round of the playoffs. That's what Brady and backup Brian Hoyer nicknamed O'Brien for his quick temper, and it would be hard to imagine a moment when O'Brien was hotter than in the fourth quarter of a 2011 win over the Redskins. 

The Patriots were up a touchdown and knocking on the door to score again when Brady was picked off in the end zone. When he got back to the sideline, Brady told intended receiver Tiquan Underwood that he had to make a better effort to come back to the football since he had been under-cut.

But when O'Brien saw Brady talking to Underwood, he unloaded. Perhaps it was because he didn't like Brady's throw. Perhaps it was because Brady missed Wes Welker for an easy touchdown on the play before, throwing behind his wide open slot receiver. 

Either way, Brady and O'Brien then engaged in a shouting match that required Hoyer, receivers coach Chad O'Shea and head coach Bill Belichick to break it up. 

"He kind of let me have it. I deserved it," Brady told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan show. "It was kind of a dumb throw. I deserved it. I kind of chirped back, and he didn't like it. I was kind of fiery at the time, too.

"We cooled off pretty quick. That's Billy's style. Billy's gonna let you know if he doesn't like something that you did. He handles it in the right way, in a way that you really respected. You know he's fiery, you know he just wants to get the job done. We cooled off. We ended up winning the game [when] Jerod Mayo made a great interception to end that game. By the time we got to the locker room we were good.

"There are a lot of emotions in this game. You wear them on your sleeve, and sometimes you just fire off. That's just the way it goes."

Brady said he remains friends with O'Brien and that they touch base from time to time. By putting in the "grunt work" of a lower-level assistant and quickly working his way up the coaching ranks in New England, O'Brien earned Brady's trust and respect. 

Though he generally roots for O'Brien's success, that stops this week as the two prepare to face off later this week with their seasons on the line. It will be the second time O'Brien has been to Gillette Stadium this season with the Texans. Back in Week 3 they fell to the Patriots, 27-0, with rookie Jacoby Brissett getting the start at quarterback. 

Brady said that Patriots players will have no problem getting themselves motivated for this one, though.

"This is a day-to-day league," he explained. "It really doesn't matter last time we played 'em or last year. Because things change so much with a game and a game plan and players. Coach talks about all the time it's not who you play, it's how you play, and we need to play well . . . " 

"You put together the process and a winning formula, and then you go out and execute it. If you don't execute it, you lose. I don't think you take anything for granted, I don't think you mail in your preparation. I think we go about it the exact same way same way we've gone about it all year, which is we put teverything into it. 

"We empty the tank in our practices which we always do, and then you come out at the end of the week with confidence and show everyone out there that we're prepared, and we can play because we're playing a really good team. We're playing a team that's earned this opportunity."

Gronk: 'Can't wait to compete again and play ball'

Gronk: 'Can't wait to compete again and play ball'

Rob Gronkowski's been having more than his share of fun this offseason, based off what we've seen on social media, but he sent out a Tweet Sunday night that makes it sound as if he can't wait for training camp to begin.

Gronkowski played in only eight games in 2016 because of back issues that eventually required surgery, and missed all of the Patriots' run to the Super Bowl championship.

Of course, if you check Gronk's timeline beneath his 'I-can't-wait-to-start-playing-again' Tweet, you'll find a) a couple of hypes for his new show MVP, b) a re-Tweet in which he's helping Mojo Rawley get ready for Wrestlemania, and c) quasi-ads for the various products he endorses.

Five things to look for from the NFL annual meetings this week

Five things to look for from the NFL annual meetings this week

PHOENIX -- Bill Belichick may not be speaking with the media here this week, but there will be plenty for us to examine at the annual league meetings. 

Reporters were informed via a team spokesperson that the Patriots coach would not be in attendance at the AFC coaches breakfast Tuesday morning -- where in the past orange juice has been sipped and tape recorders have been bulldozed -- due to a scouting conflict. 

The breakfast is not mandatory for coaches so for Belichick to use his time at a college pro day (Florida, Texas and Iowa State all have theirs scheduled for Tuesday) or a private workout comes as little surprise. He's been busy on the Trail of Due Diligence in recent weeks, making visits to Vanderbilt, Ohio State and Michigan in order to get a closer look at prospects.

Five weeks behind, remember? No days off. 

Patriots owner Robert Kraft is planning to meet with reporters on Monday so we'll have an opportunity to hear from him on a variety of topics when that comes to pass. 

Here are some of the other Patriots-related stories we'll be doing some digging on this week as we keep you updated with blog posts, occasional television hits, tweets (@PhilAPerry), Instagram shots (@PhilAPerry), and maybe even a podcast or two.

-- What does the rest of the league think when it sees the way the Patriots have attacked this offseason? How will the new pieces fit? Do other coaches and executives see it as Belichick going all in on 2017? Or is this just a case of a team adhering to its motto of doing "what's best for the football team" -- both in the short and long-term?

-- What's next for the Patriots? They're not done building the roster, so where might they turn next? Will they add other lower-level free agents? Will they be looking to trade back into the first and second rounds? Which positions seem to be of interest to them in the draft, and how might that signal the direction this roster is headed?

-- What is the feeling on the future at the quarterback position in New England? We know the Patriots aren't looking to give away Jimmy Garoppolo, but do people around the league really feel as though a haul of draft picks won't get the Patriots to think twice about trading him? Is it possible that in this rare scenario -- where the franchise quarterback is playing at an MVP-level but headed into his 40-year-old season -- people could see the Patriots paying two passers a starter's salary?

-- Will anything happen with Malcolm Butler before the meetings are out? Some have speculated that if his status as a restricted free agent (with an unsigned first-round tender) is to change anytime soon, it could happen here, where presumably his agent will be able to hear offers from one or more clubs in person. Will Butler find a team willing to give him an offer sheet and relinquish its first-round pick to the Patriots? Or will he sign his tender -- whether it's with the intent to play for the Patriots in 2017, or to be traded?

-- Rules changes are coming. We just don't know which ones. Will the linebacker leap (executed by Jamie Collins and Shea McClellin under Belichick) be eliminated? Will Stephen Gostkowski soon be looking to blast kickoffs through the uprights due to the passing of a rule that would place the ball at the 20 as opposed to the 25 for such a feat? Will real-time replay decisions suddenly shift from the officials on the field to the NFL offices at 345 Park Avenue? We'll let you know which proposals are held up, which fall flat, and how the Patriots might be impacted. Belichick and his staff did not submit any proposals for the second consecutive year.