Patriots quarterback Tom Brady discussed his team’s 41-28 win over the Houston Texans on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Show Monday and looked ahead to the AFC Championship Game Sunday vs. Baltimore. Brady refused to take the bait from Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who had some harsh words about New England’s hurry-up offense on Twitter. On Sunday, Ayanbadejo tweeted “New England does some suspect stuff on offense. Can’t really respect it. Comparable to a cheap shot b4 a fight.”
Brady said he knew who Ayanbadejo was, and that his routine wouldn’t change because of the comments.
“We’ve had a lot of people comment about our team and our players this year,” said Brady. “I think the best thing that we do is ignore the noise and go out and try to prepare. Nothing really that anybody says or does is going to affect what happens next Sunday.
“If people want to say things or write things, they have the liberty to do that. It doesn’t really have any bearing on what we do.”
One of the biggest issues surrounding the Patriots going forward is the absence of Pro Bowl tight end Rob Gronkowski, who re-injured his left arm in the first quarter of the Houston game. Brady said the team continued to run some of the same plays in Gronkowski’s absence (and in the absence of running back Danny Woodhead), but also said that some plays had to be scrapped.
“A little of both,” said Brady. “Sometimes it’s a personnel grouping, you can change the personnel grouping and run a very similar play. And other times you’re out of certain plays. I think that was definitely the case yesterday. That’s football. It’s rare to make it through a game with every player healthy.”
Gronkowski was limited in last year’s Super Bowl by an ankle injury.
“We put much more time in this year,” said Brady. “Last year when we played in the Super Bowl it was our first game without him in two years. We know how it’s going to go now.”
In Gronkowski’s absence Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker stepped up Sunday with a 47-yard reception late in the 2d quarter.
“We probably haven’t practiced that three times all year, throwing the ball to Wes like that,” said Brady. “When it matters most, Wes comes up with it. He always takes advantage. ... Wes isn’t the biggest guy in the world, but he’s got the biggest heart.”
Next up are the Ravens. Brady said the Patriots had a team meeting Saturday night that started around 7:30 p.m., which was during the fourth quarter of Baltimore’s double-overtime win over the Broncos.
“We didn’t hear much, maybe some screams from the other room,” said Brady. “It was obviously a great game. I didn’t see much of it after the first half.
“I think what you see yesterday, whether it’s the Denver game or the Atlanta game, is that it’s never over. You’ve always got a chance. When guys take advantage of opportunities to make a big play in a game, that’s what they do.”
Brady said he had a lot of respect for Baltimore.
“They’ve got a very good offense, very good defense,” said Brady. “They’ve got some Pro Bowl special teams guys, and they’re very well coached. That’s why they’re in the same position that they were last year.”
Correction: Gronkowski’s status in Super Bowl XLVI was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.