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."