Tom Brady: Patriots have up to 1,000 designed pass plays


Tom Brady: Patriots have up to 1,000 designed pass plays

We all knew that the Patriots playbook was voluminous. But this? This seems . . . extensive. 

On Monday, after beating the Saints 36-20, Tom Brady gave WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show an idea of just how big the Patriots playbook is. 

"I would say there’s a pretty core group of plays that you have," Brady said, "but we have, I don’t know the numbers, but there’s over the course a season, pass plays, there’s probably anywhere from 500 to 1,000 that are designed and you’ll probably call 500-600 of them, and there will be repeats within that.

"There’s definitely repeats. But we change quite a bit week to week. I think that’s why you need really smart players on our offense to be able to adapt to the changes that we make based on the matchups that we see, or the coverages that we’re going to face, or how the team has played us in the past."

Brady delved into the topic of Patriots plays because on the CBS broadcast of Sunday's game, color analyst Tony Romo indicated that there was a pass play to James White that looked like it was ripped from the pages of the Chiefs playbook from Week 1. Romo believed that the play was essentially the same as the one Kansas City used on Kareem Hunt's long touchdown catch-and-run.

"We have a big plan at the start of the week, and we kind of narrow it down over the course of the week, and then by the time we get to game day we’re really confident in the things that we’re calling," Brady said. "Like the play I threw to James, the Chiefs did run that, that was the touchdown play that they had to Kareem Hunt, that long one where they got behind the defense.

"But you see different things over the course of the league. Our coaches do a great job studying -- things that are working, things that are confusing. It was a little different variation of what the Chiefs did, but similar action, and we got some confusion on the defense and they really missed James coming out of the backfield. Had I not thrown it to James, I had Dion Lewis over near the sideline and no one was on him either. It’s just a really good play and perfect call at the perfect time."

Here are a few of the other quotes of note from Brady's weekly radio interview . . . 

On playing with quiet feet, as Romo described during the broadcast: "There are other guys who are more active in the pocket, which I actually wish I was more active in the pocket with my feet. Once you stop your feet, objects that [are] in motion tend to stay in motion. When they don't, they don't. Once I stop, then I need to restart. I've tried to work on it, and it's just something in my brain, sometimes as I'm waiting for a play to develop, my feet stop, and then I gotta get them going again. When they stay moving then I think you can be more fluid in the pocket. It's just kind of a part of a habit . . . It's a very comfortable feel for me, I feel very comfortable in the pocket when I do that, but it's just a stylistic thing that's a little hard to change at this point in my career."

On playing in a dome: "It's very unique. It really is. There's obviously no elements. You know exactly what you're going to get every week. You know exactly what you're going to wear. It's just different . . . If it's 50 degrees, you put a certain amount of clothes on. If it's 10 degrees, it's a different amount of clothes. I think there's a good advantage for us when we get teams that haven't played in those things, they come up to our environment and they don't know what to wear. Sometimes there's too many clothes on. You're uncomfortable with the way you're playing. Sometimes you wear too little and you're cold. I think for us, having experience in the elements is very beneficial when it does change. For us to go to the dome environment, all those variables go away . . . It's always nice playing in the dome, but I do prefer playing in Foxboro."

On if he knew the timing would work on the "mayday" field goal before the end of the half: "We knew. There's a cutoff there, and it was right around what we were at. And we practice it quite a bit. Had I got the first down, you can clock the ball, but you can't clock it on fourth down. I could've thrown it away if I felt like I didn't have anybody open. Then it's just an eight or nine-yard further field goal. The play just kind of developed. I thought I had a little space . . . I thought it was good execution by the whole team to get the field goal team on the field and kick the field goal just before the time ran out."

On the challenge of playing the Texans, who he'll face in Week 3: "They were the No. 1 ranked defense in the league last year. I don’t think I completed many passes in that game, either. I think I was below 50 percent in that game. I think they just did a good job of putting pressure and when you put pressure, the ball has to come out quick and they were playing -- they had a lot of guys in coverage too. It was just tough to get rid of it quick. The one positive we took out of that game was we made a lot of big plays. Some teams are going to decide to take away some shorter throws, and they give up longer plays. I think we had seven plays over 20 yards in that game. We moved the ball pretty well. It just didn’t look super rhythmic."

Reports: Patriots among NFL teams taking a look at Manziel

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Reports: Patriots among NFL teams taking a look at Manziel

Johnny Manziel said 10 days ago, "I'd go to New England in a heartbeat," when asked about the Patriots as a potential landing spot.

That seemed like wishful thinking at the time, but they're taking a look at him...along with 12 other NFL teams, according to ESPN's Eric Williams. 

Tom Brady's current backup Brian Hoyer is, like Manziel, an ex-Cleveland Browns quarterback. Manziel would again be competing with Hoyer for the Pats' No. 2 job should New England take a chance on "Johnny Football", the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner from Texas A&M, who's been out of football the past two years because of substance abuse and emotional problems.

FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman had it at 12 teams watching Manziel work out at the University of San Diego and said the Patriots gave Manziel a weigh-in.


Patriots re-sign offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle

Patriots re-sign offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle

The Patriots have agreed to re-sign offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle, his agent Scott Casterline confirmed on Twitter.  Waddle hit unrestricted free agency when the new league year began and made a visit to the Cowboys earlier this week. In the end, though, he chose to return to the team that claimed him off of waivers at the end of the 2015 season.

Waddle, who turns 27 in July, appeared in 12 games last season for the Patriots. He was the first right tackle the Patriots turned to when Marcus Cannon suffered an ankle injury mid-season against the Chargers. He ended up playing 51 snaps against the likes of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram without allowing a sack. He then started the next three games against the Broncos, Raiders and Dolphins and held star rushers Von Miller, Khalil Mack and Cameron Wake -- all of whom rush primarily off of the offensive right -- without a sack. 

Injuries forced Waddle (380 snaps on the season) to split the right tackle position with Cameron Fleming (543 snaps), but he was the primary backup when healthy. Waddle started the Divisional Round playoff game against the Titans but suffered a knee injury and was removed for Fleming. 

Both Fleming and Waddle visited the Cowboys this week, and the fact that Waddle has re-signed with the Patriots may impact Fleming's decision moving forward. 

The Patriots went to great lengths to build tackle depth last season, and adding Waddle to the roster helps them retain some of that depth after losing their left tackle, Nate Solder, to the Giants via free agency. Waddle could be an option on the left side, but the vast majority of his work since entering the league as an undrafted rookie in 2013 has been on the right side. 

The Patriots now have Fleming, Marcus Cannon, Cole Croston, Tony Garcia and Andrew Jelks on their depth chart at tackle. Croston, Garcia and Jelks are all headed into their second years as pros. Croston remained on the 53-man roster all season -- an indication that the Patriots liked him enough not to expose him to the waiver system -- but did not see meaningful snaps. Garcia and Jelks both missed the entirety of the 2017 season on reserve lists. 

Once the Patriots lost Solder to the Giants, it seemed to be of paramount importance that the Patriots re-sign either Waddle or Fleming. Behind Cannon, there were simply too many question marks not to have one return. The Patriots could opt to draft a tackle, but this is considered an average year at that position in that there are few ready-made NFL players and several developmental types.

Before the Super Bowl last season, I asked offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia how the team was able to manage offensively with backups at right tackle for much of the season. 

"It's not like [Fleming and Waddle are] not good players," Scarnecchia said. "They are good players. Their skill set seemed to fit that position pretty well. They have the traits that we covet. And they're both really smart guys, very willing learners, and they're both driven to be good and they want to play good. And I think all those things have manifested themselves when they've been out there playing. And we've been very, very pleased with what they've done for us this year, essentially splitting that position."

Asked about the aspects of the game the Patriots worked on with both Waddle and Fleming last year, Scarnecchia said, "For us it transcends everything. Obviously run-blocking and pass-blocking. They're both good at those things. Are they great at those things? No. But they've been able to steadily improve over the last two years to the point where we put them out there and no one's worried. And it's been that way the whole season after Marcus got hurt. Yeah they've done a nice job for us."