Josh McDaniels saw Tom Brady for the first time in about a month Monday. Brady arrived at Gillette Stadium, met with his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, and had the look of an athlete who was ready to complete, McDaniels explained.
"I didn’t notice any difference," McDaniels said during a conference call on Tuesday. "It was four weeks, and it felt like it went fast. Tommy is ready to go and looks ready to go . . . We’ll see how everything goes tomorrow at practice and kind of just build one day at a time as we go through the week."
Wednesday will mark Brady's first practice with the team since his four-game suspension began, and McDaniels said that he expected that part of the week -- as well as the rest of the team's preparations for Cleveland -- to "be as normal as it could be." Maybe that answer is an acknowledgement that Brady will have to make up for lost time after missing the first quarter of the season, but McDaniels seemed determined to make this week like any other.
"The biggest thing is to go through our preparation as we normally do to prepare for the opponent and to prepare for what our game plan is and how we want to execute it, and go out there and use our opportunities on the field to execute and to get back into playing football, and being around his teammates and running our offense and doing the things that we ask the quarterback to do here," McDaniels said.
"I don’t see it being much different in terms of a normal game week. We’ll try to do all the right things in terms of preparing and getting ready to play a team that we know very well and are hard to get familiar with and go there and play a game on the road in a tough place to play."
McDaniels compared this week to dealing with a player coming back off of an injury or some other type of extended absence. There will be a catch-up period, but the train has to continue to move, and the returning player -- as well as his coaches -- have to be able to keep up.
Obviously, as McDaniels hinted, Brady's 16 years of experience in an offense that he has helped mold will help him assimilate more quickly than others.
"I think experience helps any player," he said. "If they’re injured or what have you, they come back, or if they miss some time for whatever reason. But I also think there’s an acclimation period in the game of football that’s hard to simulate unless you’re playing football. Like I said, we’re going to do the best we can to prepare and take every opportunity in practice and take advantage of all the reps that we have in the periods that we can be out there working together to just make sure that Tom is as capable on Sunday to do his job."