Tom Brady talks maximizing Patriots potential, reflects on Pete Frates

Tom Brady talks maximizing Patriots potential, reflects on Pete Frates

While the New England Patriots haven't had much fun lately with back-to-back losses to the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs, Tom Brady noted in his weekly meeting with the media on Friday in Foxboro that he still "loves" playing football despite the frustrations the past few weeks.

"I think every week we're making a little progress," Brady said. "Every week, we're just trying to learn from our mistakes and just put all the right things together. And hopefully, you know, just keep improving. Guys are working really hard, that's been great to see and that's what we've got to keep doing. Things just don't happen magically. So, we're working pretty hard at it."

While they're learning from their mistakes, Brady noted the Patriots also need to pay a bit more attention to detail. 

"You had really no option. We have a job to do and it's to go out there and do the best job we can do and score as many points as we can and I don't think it's trying to be less than what we're capable of," Brady said. "I think the point is, is we've got to maximize our potential, and I don't know what our potential is. But we've got to be the best we can be and if we do it well one time, it's how well can we do it consistently. Part of it is just consistently we haven't done a great job, and I think that when you're not consistent it just leads to other issues. So, trying to be consistent and dependable is what a great offense is all about. When you have really great playmaking ability, I think all those things make it very hard to defend."

New England is trying to find consistency, but it's been difficult due to the integration of new players into the offense such as receivers N'Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers and Mohamed Sanu. The visit to the 1-12 Bengals on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Cincinnati could be just what the Patriots (10-3) need. 

"There's a lot of new pieces and you're always trying to incorporate from week to week and every year it's a little bit different, the challenges are different, and you just can't rely on 'oh well, we'll do exactly what we used to do," Brady added. "Or we'll do exactly what we did last week.' You have to kind of reinvent yourself every week and how the game plan takes shape and what guys are asked to do in order to execute, take shape and it's just always a little bit of a challenge. But, football season isn't supposed to be easy. It's a hard grind for us, I'm sure it's a hard grind for you guys. Probably just the fantasy football owners, they want us to play forever but we're in the middle of it and we're deep into it. We just need the mental toughness and competitive stamina to keep showing up every day and working as hard as you can to be ready to compete when we're called upon."

Shifting focus for a moment, Brady also touched on the passing of the man who started a revolution with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Pete Frates, the former Boston College baseball player who lost his battle with ALS earlier this week. His presence in the community and impact in the fight against the disease won't be forgotten. 

Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater also had some nice things to say about Frates, but one thing stood out among all else. 

"I think he's a hero, honestly," Slater said. 

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Sources: Tom Brady and family preparing to leave New England

Sources: Tom Brady and family preparing to leave New England

Tom Brady doesn't officially become a free agent until the new league year begins on March 18, but the rumors are already flying about the New England Patriot quarterback's future.

A report surfaced earlier in the week that Brady and his family purchased a home in Greenwich, Connecticut. As NBC Sports Boston's own Tom E. Curran pointed out, that is false.

But that doesn't mean Brady isn't planning on making a move.

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Thursday night on "Arbella Early Edition," Gary Tanguay revealed that a source told him Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen are looking to leave New England.

"I was told today by a source the family is planning to leave the area," Tanguay said. "The priority this time is to let the kids finish school this year, then they're gone."

Tanguay's report doesn't mean Brady is definitely leaving New England, but talks of him and his family looking to live somewhere else continue to gain steam.

If Brady indeed is moving on from New England and looking to start a new chapter, some of that could do with his desire to finally make the money he's worth in free agency.

According to Tanguay, Brady is "embarrassed" by the number of quarterbacks in the league that make more than him and has been fed up about it dating back to the summer, before he signed his contract extension.

Thirteen quarterbacks, including Brady's former backups Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett, make more on average annually than the six-time Super Bowl champion according to

The truth is, we won't know for certain what's going through Brady's mind until the ink is on paper for the 42-year-old's new contract. Until then, it's going to be a stressful offseason for Patriots fans.

Curran: Is this newfound time a silver lining for Patriots?

Patriots Talk Podcast: What exactly are the Patriots up to right now?

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Patriots Talk Podcast: What exactly are the Patriots up to right now?

Needless to say, it's unusual for the New England Patriots to have so much down time in January. Typically, they're playing in the AFC Divisional Round. And the AFC Championship Game. And often, the Super Bowl.

But this year, they were eliminated in the Wild Card Round for the first time since 2009. And now, they have a lot of time on their hands.

And while their early playoff exit was surely discouraging, the Patriots could stand to benefit from this extra time.

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On the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discussed how the Patriots could utilize the extra time and the positive impact it could have on the organization.

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Curran pointed out that because the team has so often been playing into February, their already thin staff has been stretched thin come draft season, which explains why the team has had some draft misses in recent seasons.

Really, it comes down to 312 days of prepreparation were sacrifice. And so for a bare bones organization in terms of both front office and coaching staff -- these guys have had shorter offseasons by a month on average than any other team in the NFL.

So on one hand, it's remarkable and it's a high-class problem. On the other hand, isn't it somewhat inevitable that you might have some draft swings and misses?

Perry agreed with Curran and brought up that the fact that the extra time off will give Belichick a real chance to thoroughly evaluate his roster.

I think for a team that is looking at a reboot, one of the sort of ironic things about that is that now you have time to really think that through in more detail and not to say that Bill Belichick isn't planning or looking at his roster, how it's constructed, how the contracts set up and trying to plan ahead. I'm sure he is doing that to a certain extent.

But you can only spend so much time on those things when you're getting ready for the divisional round, the AFC Championship Game every year, the Super Bowl every other year.

This surely makes sense and is definitely a positive for the Patriots. Perhaps with that extra time, Belichick can find a way to retain Tom Brady while significantly upgrading his supporting cast.

For more on the Patriots offseason plans, potential changes in their front office, and predictions for the AFC and NFC Championship Games, check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, which drops every Tuesday and Thursday as a part of the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.