Patriots

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

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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."

How well does Tom Brady play against former Patriots coaches?

How well does Tom Brady play against former Patriots coaches?

The Patriots will face the Detroit Lions Sunday night in the Pats latest matchup against a former Bill Belichick assistant. The Lions hired Matt Patricia after the defensive guru spent 14 seasons under Belichick in New England. But so far, Patricia and the Lions are off to a rough start (0-2), and it could get worse -- it's been well-established that former Belichick pupils have struggled against the Patriots. 

TOM E. CURRAN'S HARD TRUTHS

But what about Tom Brady against Patriots assistants-turned-head coaches? Patricia will be the fifth former coach Brady will face, joining Eric Mangini, Romeo Crennel, Bill O'Brien, and Josh McDaniels. Patricia will join Mangini and Crennel as former defensive coordinators to scheme against Brady, while O'Brien and McDaniels went from calling plays for Brady to trying to stop him. Who has the advantage, Brady or his coaches?

VS. ERIC MANGINI

Belichick first discovered Mangini as a ball boy in Cleveland. Mangini eventually became New England's defensive coordinator for a season before accepting the head coaching job with the New York Jets. Because he was in the AFC East, Brady played Mangini the most of any former coach. Brady and the Pats went 4-2 in the regular season and 1-0 in the postseason against Mangini's Jets. Mangini's defenses picked Brady four times in those six games, but Brady still threw nine touchdowns. He completed 116 of his 190 pass attempts (61 percent) for 1,346 yards.

As head coach of the Browns in 2010, Mangini's team beat Brady and the Pats 34-14 for one of their five victories that season. Brady went 19-for-36 for 224 yards and two TDs in that game.

VS. ROMEO CRENNEL

The defensive coordinator for the Patriots' first three Super Bowl champion squads had no answers for Brady and the New England offense in a matchup against the Browns in 2007. The 2007 NFL MVP completed 22 of 38 passing attempts (58 percent) for 265 yards, three TDs, and zero interceptions. 

VS. BILL O'BRIEN

Bill O'Brien called plays for the Patriots from 2009 to 2011, but is probably most known in New England for his infamous yelling match with Brady on the sidelines during a game in 2011. O'Brien is now in his fifth season as the coach of the Houston Texans and his defenses -- which, for the record, have been very good -- have had absolutely no success against Brady. The Patriots are 3-0 in regular-season games and 1-0 in the postseason when Brady starts against O'Brien. Brady threw for 1,168 yards in those four games, completing 91 of 142 passes (64 percent) and throwing 12 TDs and just three interceptions. 

VS. JOSH MCDANIELS

McDaniels, who is in his second stint as the Patriots offensive coordinator, has a great relationship with Brady, as shown in Brady's Facebook docu-series Tom vs. Time. But in 2009, the two faced off against each other when in McDaniels' first season as Broncos head coach. McDaniels got the win in overtime, but Brady played solid. He was 19 of 33 (58 percent) for 215 yards, with two TDs and no picks. 

OVERALL

It's been business as usual for Brady against his former coaches, with a record of 8-3 in the regular season and 2-0 in the playoffs. In those 13 games, he completed 61 percent of his passes for 3,218 yards, 28 TDs and seven interceptions. Brady will look to continue his success against Patricia this weekend, as the Patriots look to get back on track with a win.

-- Will Lefkovich

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