BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots sit atop the AFC, but they know that they haven’t accomplished anything yet. That’s because quarterback Tom Brady constantly reminds them of that fact.
The Patriots hit their bye week at 8-1, but there is a lot of work to do in 2019 if they want a shot at a second straight Super Bowl title and third in the last four years.
“It hasn’t all been perfect, but 8-1 — I don’t think anyone is going to complain about that. I think our entire season is determined by what happens from this point on,” Brady told Scott Zolak on Friday night’s Patriots All Access on WBZ-TV. “We’ve had our ups and downs; certainly our defense has been playing great, and offensively, I hope we can get some continuity and grow and learn. Become the version that we’d all expect ourselves to become.
“We’re ready to attack the second half of the year and play our best football,” he added. “This is our chance, this is our opportunity. We put ourselves in a good position, but everything is ahead of us. It’s our choice — what are we going to be?”
Five of New England’s seven remaining games come against teams in the playoff hunt, including matchups with the Houston Texans (6-3), Kansas City Chiefs (6-3), Dallas Cowboys (5-3) and another clash against AFC East foe the Buffalo Bills (6-2). Brady said those will present a great opportunity for the Patriots to sharpen their claws ahead of the postseason.
“We are playing some tough teams — three divisions leaders and two teams right behind division leaders. Sounds like five playoff games to me, and we’ll see how we measure up,” he said. “We have to learn from the things we’ve gone through and figure out who we are, what we do well,. If we play to those things, I think they’ll be good outcomes.”
If it seems like Brady is being a little tough on a team that has lost just one game this season, he’s only doing so to prepare them for what’s ahead. And he is not alone on that front in the New England locker room.
“I have the experience to know what a championship-level team looks like, feels like. We have other coaches who have been around that long. You’re always trying to push the urgency because you’re not trying to compete to go 8-8. You’re trying to compete for the highest accolades this team can achieve, and that’s become the best we can possibly be,” said the quarterback. “When we’re less than that, I feel it and I feel it’s the responsibility of the veteran players to stress that. There are a lot of guys who are new to the team and you try to get them to understand what level it takes on a weekly basis — not just in practices but in games as well — to continue to improve and make the strides you need to make. As the season goes it just gets tougher, and you have to improve as you go deeper and play better teams and the games mean more.”
More from Tom Brady on Patriots All Access:
On Julian Edelman: “He’s everything you look for in a player, and you need guys who can really set the tone. With Julian, it’s high toughness, his fighting for extra yards. Getting the ball in the end zone against Cleveland on two scramble plays, where he could go down at the one, but he fights across the goal line — plays like that where it’s a physical-mental mentality that allows you to continue to overachieve.”
On new receiver Mohamed Sanu: “He’s done a great job. Any time someone is forced in in a short period of time, its really hard to learn an entire offense that most guys are learning in March. Every team has nuances, and I certainly have a way that I like the receiver to play, so it’s hard to get someone up to speed in a very short period of time. But he’s done everything we can expect and more. His hands, his after-the-catch, his toughness; we’re definitely going to have some fun in the second half of the year as he gets more comfortable and confident with what we’re doing, and we gain more of a shared vision. I think our chemistry is going to keep improving.”
Catch more with Brady, plus Steve Burton’s 1-on-1 with Mohamed Sanu, on this week’s Patriots All Access coming up Friday night at 7 p.m. on WBZ-TV!