The Patriots are 3-0 without Tom Brady, and with a week to go before he comes back, he’s already trying to manage expectations — lest people expect him to be Jimmy Garoppolo or Jacoby Brissett, for heaven’s sake.
“I don’t think there is any benefit to watching the team play these games from a football standpoint, because it takes time to get the timing and the practice reps,” Brady said during his weekly interview on Westwood One Radio (via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com). “I’m trying to do the best I can to stay in shape and to keep the timing, and to really stay football ready. I’m hoping our team has a great week of preparation and can get to 4-0, and then I’ll have an opportunity to be back next Monday, and I’m going to work as hard as I can to be ready to go for that week.
“It’s a big week for me, and it’s a big week for our team. Every week is a big week in the NFL, but not having been out there for four weeks, there is a lot of makeup time I’m going to need and the chance to be on the field with my teammates to see what kind of rhythm I can find in a short week of practice.”
Of course, we think having 16 years of experience will somehow allow him to manage a month off, but Brady said he’s not the kind of player who can roll out of bed and be back to form.
“I don’t think you can,” he said. “I do admire some guys, like [Patriots receiver] Danny Amendola. He didn’t practice at all in training camp and he goes out there and the first week of the year [and] has a great game. The second week of the year, he has two touchdown catches. I’ve played with a lot of teammates who have been off for extended periods of time and it looks like they’re flipping the switch, but I think for me, that’s not the way I really prepare. I like to take every rep in practice. I like to practice every day.
“I’ve been able to be very healthy over the course of my career, and I think that has really helped me, and I’m going to need to find that rhythm back. It’s going to take some work and some time. Like I said before, that’s some uncharted territory, too.”
Brady said he was “in a good place,” and last week that was Italy, on a vacation with his wife, Gisele Bundchen.
“I’ve never had an opportunity in September,” he said. “Hopefully I don’t have one for a very, very long time.”
While it’s Brady, and of course he’ll start, the sterling play of his backup and their ability to win with a third string likely makes him a little more eager to get back, and show people what they’ve missed.