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Tom Brady to Patriots fans: 'Start drinking early'

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff  September 14, 2011 12:10 PM

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Q: Can you talk about your confidence in Dan Connolly and what he has meant to this team and what he means to the team going forward?

Brady: "Dan has been here for quite awhile. He understands the system, he understands the calls. When you play right guard and you have to move over to center you know all the center’s calls. He’s been a backup center for a long time and he’s expected to go out there and perform very well, as he’s done at right guard. All those guys have some position flexibility. Coach [Belichick] always says ‘the more you can do around here. If you only do one thing, you better do it really well.’ Obviously those guys have to play multiple positions."

Q: The Chargers come in with a lot of hype so you have to eliminate all or most of the mistakes you made last week.

Brady: "Yeah, exactly. Every week you play different teams, they have more film on you. They’re going to want to figure out how they’re going to match up. You play against a team that’s one of the most talented teams in the league every year. I think they’ve gotten off to some slow starts the last few years but it doesn’t look like they’re starting slow this year. I think that’s really been a point of emphasis for them. This year you can really see it on film. It’s an attacking defense, they have great players at every position. They have good corners, good safeties, linebackers, veteran defense. I think they run quite a few different looks for the offense. It’s a short week for us too and guys in here are kind of walking around a little stiff, a little tight. We have to move on from last week’s game and really get working hard on these guys."

Q: As quickly as you’re trying to move on, you get the AFC Offensive Player of the Week award, is that a distraction?

TB: "My goals are much bigger than AFC Offensive Player of the Week around here."

Q: Getting back to the tight ends, a lot of teams have one really good receiving tight end and one good blocking tight end. You seem fortunate to have two guys that can do both.

Brady: "Sure, they’ve been able to do both for us. They’re going to need to continue to do more and continue to play at a high level. I mean it’s been one week, there’s not much to go on other than one game. We’re trying to string it together for a very, very long season. We got off to a decent start. I wouldn’t say it’s our best performance I’ve ever seen around here. We won one game and now we have to move onto the next one."

Q: Given how pass happy the league has become, does it put any extra pressure on you or Philip Rivers to produce in that fashion – to match each other?

Brady: "It’s been a passing league for a long time. I think the running game is very important to every offense. Being balanced is extremely important. There’s times where you have to throw the ball. You could be down late in the game, you need to come back, you have to be able to pass it when they know you’re passing it. That’s not only throwing the ball but getting open on consecutive routes. Being able to protect when they know you’re going to only pass the ball. My job is to go against this defense and try to get our guys in the best position so they can do what they do well, ultimately play well enough over the course of a drive to get the ball in the end zone. Our defense will have to handle their offense. That’s a big test for all of us on this team. It has to be a very complementary game for all of us."

Q: You’ve had the luxury of having Dan Koppen in front of you, for the most part, for a number of years. Can you talk about your on-field relationship with your center and how important it is? Is it overlooked at all – that stable relationship between a center and a quarterback?

Brady: "Every center-quarterback relationship is special and Dan and I have had that for a long time. I’ve known Dan Connolly for awhile. He’s been in there at center quite a bit – minicamps, training camps, we’re always preparing for guys playing multiple positions. He’s done a good job with that. He did a damn good job the other night, stepping in. He’s going to need to be able to do that for the foreseeable future."

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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