With uncertain schedule, Brady returns to familiar territory


With uncertain schedule, Brady returns to familiar territory

By Danny Picard

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady wasn't present at the start of Tuesday's practice, but the angst level in Patriots Nation -- so high two weeks ago when Brady missed his first practice -- is non-existent. After all, the Patriots' quarterback has missed the last two Wednesdays and still played, and played well, in the next game.

More of a concern is the fact that the team's preparation schedule is all over the place with only three days between Sunday's win over the Colts and Thursday's Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Lions. Brady even pushed up his day to speak to the media in this compressed week.

"I think it has its physical challenges and its mental challenges," Brady said of the short week. "We got after it pretty good yesterday. No one is really sure what day it is around here. It doesn't feel like a Tuesday, I'll tell you that. But as football players, we adjust. We do what we've got to do. We put a lot of installation in and try to understand what they do well, and what they don't do so well, and try to go out there and execute well on game day."

Brady pounded home the notion that coach Bill Belichick doesn't allow for any type of psychological letdowns. And the Pats -- a couple of of them, at least -- have been through this before; they defeated the Lions, 20-12, on Thanksgiving Day in 2002.

"It was a very inconsistent day on offense," Brady remembered. "Tedy Bruschi had an interception return for a touchdown. I hit Troy Brown on a late third down that helped seal the game, but other than that, we didn't do much offensively.

"You've got to get up, ready and early. It's an early game, earlier than we normally play 12:30 p.m. instead of 1 p.m., and it's about 48 hours away, so we've got to really get excited for the game and understand what we're going into."

The good thing is, the Lions have to deal with just as quick a turnaround as the Patriots do. They're just able to do it without much travel.

But going to Detroit isn't entirely foreign territory for Brady. His days playing at the University of Michigan always bring back positive memories.

"I think it was very rewarding for me," said Brady on his time as a Wolverine. "I had so many great friends and coaches over the years. It's a very tough football program and I think our head coach, Lloyd Carr really demanded the best out of us every day in practice, very much along the lines of what Coach Belichick does. That taught me about competition and what it means to be a leader.

"That was always a big thing we talked about at Michigan, was our leadership and our effort and our toughness. That definitely prepared me for playing for Coach Belichick. It's a great school, and it's always fun going back there and seeing a lot of my old friends."

Brady admitted that he couldn't play in Michigan's current system, under coach Rich Rodriguez, who utilizes quarterback Denard Robinson as more of a "wildcat" type QB.

"I'm the slowest guy out there on the field, so, yeah, it's a little different watching them now," said Brady. "Whatever it takes to beat Ohio State, not that we've done that very often lately, but hopefully it's our year."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard