It’s quite difficult, and maybe even impossible, to create game intensity in practice. But that doesn’t prevent coaches and players from trying anyway.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who made his much-anticipated return to the field Sunday in a 33-13 win over the Cleveland Browns, wasn’t able to practice with his teammates during his four-game Deflategate suspension to begin the season.
Brady still was able to hold private workouts to make sure he was as sharp as possible when he returned to the team, and a key part of that preparation was taking contact.
“I was getting hit. It wasn’t just come let me stand there and decleat me,” Brady said Monday morning on WEEI’s “Kirk & Callahan” morning show. “I think it was more just someone there with pads and a bag and trying to simulate some of the ways what was going to happen like yesterday. Your body needs to get used to it. Part of my job is taking a hit, so it’s not like you can not take a hit for four weeks, especially when you see your teammates out there taking hits.
“It was just understanding how to absorb those things and still have contact and make a throw, and how to avoid some of those things. Kind of like drills we do during practice as quarterbacks that Josh (McDaniels, the Patriots’ offensive coordinator) puts us through. Just trying to simulate a lot of those things, so when I came back, it felt like that wasn’t the first time I was touched in four weeks. That was an important part of preparation.”
Brady wasn’t hit too many times Sunday. He was sacked only once, and he was able to get rid of the ball pretty quickly. It helped that he had a full compliment of receivers at his disposal, too.
The veteran quarterback finished the game with 406 passing yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Whatever Brady did in his workouts during the four weeks he missed clearly worked because he showed no signs of rust, even if he says he did.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images