As long as the Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning battles have raged, the question of supporting casts has always been a subtext.
And while Manning has a holster full of weapons at his disposal in Denver now, Brady has nothing to apologize for with his current help.
Brady said during his weekly spot on WEEI that he’s good with his current group of pass-catchers.
“I love the guys that I play with,” Brady said, via Phil Perry of CSNNE.com. “I wouldn’t change any of them for anybody. The group that I’ve been lucky enough to play with — and I’ve had some great ones over the years. As a quarterback, you work all offseason with the group of guys and you develop a chemistry and a camaraderie with each other, and it’s great when it all pays off.”
When Brady and Manning — who play again this week, in case you haven’t heard already — met in the 2006 AFC title game, it was a big talking point, since Manning had Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne compared to Brady’s Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney.
But after the display Brady put on yesterday, spreading it around to tight end Rob Gronkowski (nine catches, 149 yards, three touchdowns) and wide receivers Brandon LaFell (11-124-1) along with slot guy Julian Edelman and emerging tight end Tim Wright during a 51-point outburst against the Bears, he’s content with what he has.
As for the individual matchup, Brady praised Manning for the way he’s played the last year and a half, and admitted the meetings have become more special to him over the years.
“Probably five, six years ago you don’t think about those things,” Brady said. “But you’re right, as you mature a little bit and realize this could always be the last one, then you do. It’s pretty special. He’s been one of the greatest players to ever play. I’ve been fortunate to share a field with one of the best players that ever has played the game. Every time we play a Peyton Manning-led team it comes down to the wire. Everything’s usually at stake.
“We had a few opportunities last year, we won the first one, lost the second one. This year we’ve got to be at our best. Fortunately I don’t have to go against him, our defense does. I’ve got to go up against Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller and T.J. Ward. They’ve got a whole challenge they present in and of itself. They’re a really well-balanced team. They do a lot of things well. It means we’re going to have to be at our best. Hopefully we can go out and give our fans something cheer about. It will be a fun day.”
And perhaps we’ll hear more about it over the course of the week.