FOXBORO -- There are a number of milestones Tom Brady has surpassed over the course of his 16-plus years as a starter, one as impressive as the next. They're tributes to his longevity, his consistency, his precision, his ability to execute the responsibilities of the quarterback position better than anyone before him.
Then there's the fact that he's closing in on 1,000 career rushing yards. On 1.8 yards per carry. Less impressive, on its surface.
It is, however, a testament to his durability and to his understanding of how to protect himself when he's outside the pocket. Even on the rare occasions he breaks looking for yards, he typically knows how to stay out of harm's way as he's doing it.
"When I do do that, like, once a season and I take off down the field, things are happening a lot quicker than what I’m used to," Brady said Wednesday. "I’m obviously not practicing those things very much, so a lot of it is just 'Hey, how are we going to protect the ball,' and get as much as you can and make sure you’re able to go and make the next play."
There's a chance Brady finds himself on the run a little bit this weekend in Denver as he'll be staring down the likes of Von Miller, Derek Wolfe and the Broncos pass-rush. If he can escape pressure to move the football, he'll do it, but even for all he's done late in his career to stay as mobile as possible, he still looks at potential running lanes as throwing lanes first.
"For me, to drop back and read coverages and find open guys and figure out where soft spots are, make accurate throws – that’s what works best for me," Brady said. "A lot of times even though it may look like a big opening to run, I'm like 'Man, that's a great opening to throw. I can see everything. It's really clear.'
"It just doesn’t quite trigger in my mind. 'Hey, take off and go because there's a lot of space.' I think there's other quarterbacks who when they see a lot of space they think 'Man, this is a great opportunity to run.' It's just kind of how you’ve been trained and what you’re confident in."
Scrambling won't be what Brady is confident in -- at least relative to his ability to throw the ball -- any time soon. He has 28 rushing yards this season, giving him 968 for his career.
There's a scenario in which Brady would actually be perfectly happy to move away from that 1,000-yard mark this week: A kneel-down or two out of the victory formation would mean negative rushing yards.
"A lot of guys can run and make plays," Brady said. "It’s a great dimension to have. I wish I could run a 4.8, but I don’t."