Watching from afar sparked Tom Brady's appreciation for Pats

ByMike Reiss ESPN logo
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Acknowledging that it's been a combination of "tough to watch" but "great to see [the Patriots] win," quarterback Tom Brady said viewing the team's opening two victories on television has sparked an appreciation for the club's approach.

"I was hoping to gain a little different perspective, and I think I have," Brady said during his weekly Westwood One radio interview prior to Monday Night Football.

"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. 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."

The Patriots host the Houston Texans on Thursday, which is a quick turnaround with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's status is in question after he suffered a sprained AC joint in his right, throwing shoulder Sunday. Garoppolo left in the second quarter after throwing three touchdown passes in a 31-24 victory over the Miami Dolphins.

"It's tough ... I feel for him," Brady said on the program. "He made a great play to escape the pocket and made a great throw on the run on a third-down play. The linebacker [Kiko Alonso] 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 know he'll be back out there as soon as he can. ... Who knows? Jimmy may be out there [Thursday]. We'll see how it plays out."

Brady had been impressed with what he saw from Garoppolo up to that point.

"It's been a great start. He's a very hard worker, and I'm just proud of the way that he's led the team," Brady said. "To be 2-0 at this point when two of the other [division] teams are 0-2, it's really great for our team. He's done a really great job."

If Garoppolo doesn't play Thursday, rookie Jacoby Brissett would take over. The third-round pick from NC State (91st overall) has caught Brady's eye quickly.

"Jacoby has done a great job taking advantage of his opportunity as well," Brady told host Jim Gray. "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."

Meanwhile, it's possible that receiver Julian Edelman could be the team's emergency quarterback, which led Brady to joke about his best pal.

"He still talks about that touchdown pass he threw against Baltimore [in the playoffs] a few years ago. He's kind of batting 1.000 right now," Brady cracked.

Edelman played quarterback at Kent State before switching to receiver after the Patriots selected him in the seventh round of the 2009 draft. By his fifth NFL season, he had emerged as one of Brady's go-to targets.

If he was ever thrust into the top spot at quarterback, Brady, turning serious, expressed confidence.

"Coach 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 said.

"He's played the position and, God forbid anything happened to Jacoby, if he's the only guy out there at quarterback, 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."

As for Brady himself, he confirmed that he worked out with former teammate Wes Welker on Sunday morning, saying, "It was fun to be out there on the field with him. We got out there and broke a pretty good sweat."

In addition, Brady said he's been trying to replicate what he'd normally do during the course of the week and feels he's "in a decent place." He added that he looks forward "to the next couple weeks going fast."

While serving a four-game suspension as part of the NFL's Deflategate penalties has kept him away from the Patriots, it did bring Brady back to his alma mater on Saturday as he was honored at Michigan. Brady played catch with coach Jim Harbaugh on the field before the Wolverines' victory over Colorado.

"They were so warm and embracing; I have a lot of love for the people there," he said. "Coach Harbaugh has done such a great job with the university and the team, and bringing so much excitement back. ... It was a really cool experience being back in the Big House. I've never had a chance to go back in the fall, so to have an opportunity to do it was really special. I had my son there with me, so it was such a memorable day and such a memorable experience for me and Jack."

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