Tom Brady has said that he hoped to gain a different perspective while watching the Patriots perform without him for four weeks.
Mission accomplished, but it hasn't been easy.
"It’s certainly tough to watch," Brady told Westwood One's Jim Gray on Monday night, "but it’s certainly great to see us win. It’s a little bit of both for me."
Perhaps part of what has made it difficult for Brady is that for the first time in a long time -- he watched for most of 2008, but he has said he focused on rehabbing his season-ending knee injury that year -- he has been able to see his teammates turn "practice execution into game reality," as they so often say inside the Patriots locker room, from afar.
"It's amazing the way our team responds to adversity and the way our coaches prepare us for all these different situations that we face," Brady said. "I'm just proud of the guys for how hard they're working. You can see it on TV, and obviously it's really paying off. It's great to be a fan of the Patriots, and it's really great to be a player on the Patriots. I definitely have gained that perspective and hopefully we get to 3-0 on Thursday night."
Here are some of the other highlights from Brady's interview with Westwood One . . .
On Jimmy Garoppolo's performance in Sunday's win over the Dolphins: "It was good to see. We got off to such a great start and he was really firing the ball in there and being very accurate and decisive with his throws. It was great to see. It was a tough injury. We were up 21 points when he got hurt, but Miami did a great job kind of hanging in there and battling back, but I’m glad we were able to close it out with the interception by Duron [Harmon] there at the end."
On his thoughts after seeing Garoppolo go down: "It's tough. He made a great play to escape the pocket and made a great throw on the run on a third-down play. The linebacker hit him and landed on top of him. You see that quite a bit in the NFL. It's a tough injury, especially your throwing shoulder. I feel for him. It's a tough injury, but I know he'll be back out there as soon as he can."
On if Garoppolo has a big future in the NFL: "Well, I think that is going to be decided by him. I think obviously the way he’s started, it’s been a great start starting games in the NFL. He’s a very hard worker and I’m just proud of the way he’s led the team. To be 2-0 at this point when two of the other teams are 0-2, it's really great for our team. I know he’ll be fighting hard to be out there this week and hopefully by the next week. he’s done a really great job."
On his experience with Jacoby Brissett: "Jacoby has done a great job taking advantage of his opportunity as wel. He went in there [Sunday] and showed a lot of poise. He has a great demeanor about him. I love working with him. He shows up to work every day working hard. He's very competitive and I know our coaching staff will have him prepared and ready to go for Thursday night if he's called upon. Who knows? Jimmy may be out there. We’ll see how it plays out."
On the possibility of Julian Edelman playing quarterback: "Coach [Bill] Belichick always has the team prepared for any situation. He thinks these things through and obviously the game just happened [Sunday], so a lot of things could happen between now and Thursday night, but Julian has kind of been in that role. He's played the position, and God forbid anything happened to Jacoby, if he's the only guy out there at quarterback, but if that's the case, then I'd expect Julian to go in there and the coaches to be comfortable with the plays that they're calling for him."
On if Edelman's ego would run amok if he were able to play quarterback: "He still talks about that touchdown pass he threw against Baltimore a few years ago. I actually -- maybe it would give him a little more ammunition if he did well, but if he didn’t, I mean he’s kind of batting 1.000 right now, so there’s only one place to go."
On seeing Wes Welker over the weekend: "It was just good to spend some time with him. He's been one of my best friends and we played together for a long time. It was fun to be with him. He's still got a lot of ability so it was fun to kind of be out on the field with him . . . We talked about a lot of things, and it wasn't his future. It was just kind of catching up on his family and what he's been doing. Then we got to work and we got out there and broke a pretty good sweat."
On the mask Welker was spotted wearing at Sunday's game: "He showed it to me. It was probably the creepiest thing I've ever seen."
On if he called in to 98.5 The Sports Hub last week and used a fake name: "No . . . You're the only one that I'm talking to."
On how he's been staying prepared for his return: "I've been trying to replicate what I'd be doing during the normal course of the week. I've only missed two weeks of practice. Our team's not even going to get a chance to practice this week based on their Thursday night game. I feel like I'm in a decent place. I look forward to the next couple of weeks going fast so I can be back out there with my teammates."
On David Ortiz wearing a Brady jersey during a ceremony before Sunday's game: "Well I'm a big fan of Big Papi. He's having an incredible season. It's hard to imagine he's retiring. He's batting about .320 and the Red Sox are playing great baseball."