FOXBORO (CBS) — Tom Brady cannot wait for Sunday, when he’ll kick off his 15th season in the NFL.
“We’ve put a lot of hard work in over the course of the last six months, so it’s nice to be back doing something we really all love to do,” the Pats’ QB said at his Wednesday morning press conference. “I’m really excited for our team. I think we’ve made a lot of improvements over the last five weeks of training camp, and now we really get to see where we’re at.”
The first test of 2014 for Brady and the Patriots are the Miami Dolphins. Miami is coming off an 8-8 season that had more bumps off the field than on it, but they’re a team who always seems to give the quarterback some issues when he heads down to Florida. Brady is 6-6 against the Dolphins on their home field in his career, and he knows Sunday’s season opener won’t be easy.
“Miami is a great challenge for us. To go down there and win has always been tough, and they’ve got a very good team. We lost down there last year,” Brady said of New England’s 24-20 Week 15 loss in Miami, in which he threw for 364 yards but had the game end on an interception in the end zone. “They present a lot of challenges. It’s really going to challenge our communication and our mental toughness. We’ve got three days of practice to get ready for it, and hopefully we’re ready to go by 1:00 on Sunday.”
If you have some concerns over Brady’s receiving corps, he says not to worry.
“The more we’re on the same page, the better we’re going to be. Offensive football is about anticipation and about having a lot of trust and confidence in one another. I think we built on that. We’re always going to make mistakes out there because football is really not a game of perfect, but we’re going to try to do it as perfectly as we can,” he said. “The guys that we have this year have really worked hard to earn the trust of the teammates and the coaches, and that’s what it’s about. We’ve put the work in, and now we get a chance to go out there and see where we’re at.”
Brady also said he has confidence in running back Stevan Ridley, who has battled some fumbling issues the last couple of seasons.
“I love being a teammate of his,” Brady said of Ridley. “We’ve got a great relationship. He’s battled through some tough times, which I think have made him tougher. He needs to go out there and have a great year. That’s what the expectations are. He’s got to go out there and do what he’s capable of.”
But this year isn’t just about Brady and his merry men on offense. The Patriots went out and vastly improved their defense with the signing of Darrelle Revis, and Brady said that improved defense has made the entire team a lot better. He said the defense has been tough to go up against in practice, and that experienced group made the offense check their fundamentals.
“They’ve got a great style. They’re a very fundamentally sound defense,” he said. “We work on the fundamentals all the time. It’s just tough to go up against them. They do a lot of things very well – very good secondary that’s tough, aggressive, jump a lot of routes. Our defense is tough to go against. Our linebackers all have experience, [defensive] line is experienced. It’s been a great work for us as an offense to go up against a really well rounded group because that’s what we’re going to face here this week – a very well-rounded group that’s good on all levels of the defense.
“They don’t really give you anything,” he added. “They have a lot of experienced players, and we’ve got to use our experience – the experience that we have individually and collectively – so that we don’t make a lot of mistakes, we don’t have a lot of mental errors, and our execution can be at a really high level.”
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