BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots are 3-0 on the season, and just a week away from getting Tom Brady back under center.

Brady has been cheering his team on during his four-game suspension stemming from the DeflateGate saga, and working hard to stay in shape so he’s ready to go when he returns to the team next Monday.

Joining Jim Gray for his weekly interview during Westwood One’s Monday Night Football coverage, Brady said he’s most worried about getting his timing down upon his return.

“I’m trying to do the best I can to stay in shape and to keep the timing, and to really stay football ready. I’m hoping our team has a great week of preparation and can get to 4-0, and then I’ll have an opportunity to be back next Monday, and I’m going to work as hard as I can to be ready to go for that week,” said Brady. “It’s a big week for me, and it’s a big week for our team. Every week is a big week in the NFL, but not having been out there for four weeks, there is a lot of makeup time I’m going to need and the chance to be on the field with my teammates to see what kind of rhythm I can find in a short week of practice.”

Brady added: “I feel like I am at a good place with one week to go.”

It helps that Brady will return to a team led by head coach Bill Belichick, who has received heaps of praise for guiding the Patriots to three straight victories to start the season despite Brady’s absence and an injury to backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. This doesn’t really shock Brady though, who for 16 years has watched Belichick operate with consistency and urgency from Day One of the season.

“There’s urgency throughout the entire offseason to get us to the month of September, and then once September comes, it’s all about winning games and making improvements towards October. And once you make improvements towards October, you can be in a really good position to really capitalize come November,” explained Brady. “That’s when the playoff race is starting to shape up and you really see where you’re at, and there’s a lot of scouting that’s been done at that point. That’s where you really see the team develop and how the depth of the team really takes place.”

No matter the situation, Belichick seems to always have a plan, a backup plan and plans C through Z.

“I think whatever hand he’s been dealt, he finds a way to win. That’s the mark of a great coach,” said Brady. “Sitting in those meetings for the last 16 years and watching him prepare the team, there’s no [other] coach I’d ever want to play for.

“It’s a privilege to play for him and I look forward to getting back out there and getting yelled at by him because he is tough on the players and he expects the most out of us each and every day. That ends up getting the most out of the players and he’s been so consistent with his approach and it’s paid off for our team for a long time,” Brady added.

While Brady has been working out, playing some catch with Wes Welker, and cheering on his Michigan Wolverines (from near and far), he did manage to get away to Italy with his wife Gisele Bundchen over the weekend (which included some scantily clad sunbathing for the QB). The opportunity for a September mini-vacation isn’t one that Brady has had during his career, and while he enjoyed his time overseas, it’s a getaway he hopes he won’t be repeating for at least a few more years.

“We had a great time,” he said of the trip. “It was a great chance to get away and I’ve never had the opportunity in September, and hopefully I don’t have one for a very, very long time.”

Brady can return to practice on October 3, and will make his season debut on October 9 against the Cleveland Browns.




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