People sometimes don’t take into account is how ultra-competitive Tom Brady is.
He and Josh McDaniels have a level of expectation for the New England Patriots‘ offense and how they’ve built it up over the last 20 years to where it really should be like a machine.
And when it’s not operating on all cylinders for a multitude of different reasons, there’s a level of frustration.
It’s not the fact that they’re not winning. I guarantee he’s happy that they’re winning. It’s just that the expectation he has for himself and the offense is always at the highest level.
He’s pretty consistent around the guys in the locker room. During the week, he just puts his head down and gets to work to do whatever he can to help the offense, like he’s done for his entire career.
A lot of times you’ll watch film with the skill players: the wide receivers, running backs, tight ends and quarterbacks all in the same room.
And Tom has been like this since when I first came into the league: He’s like another coach in the film room.
The receivers sit behind him, and he’ll be like, “Hey, on this next route, you’re going to see it: You faded a little bit on the stop route. I need you come downhill, because this guy is going to be on top of you.”
When Tom speaks, whether it’s a veteran or a rookie, he speaks directly to you. He’ll turn around and look you in the eyes and say, “Hey, I need you to do this because this is what I’m expecting.”
He’s constantly coaching. Ben Watson would run a seam route, for example, and he’d be like, “Hey, I really need you to give me that stick and give me that indicator step so I know when you’re breaking, and then you can come flatter on it.”
In a lot of organizations, the coach just speaks for the players. But Tom is a coach inside that room, especially in the offensive meetings after practice, and is trying to make sure everybody is on the same page.
Here’s the other thing about Tom: He doesn’t talk just to talk. He talks with a purpose.
When he’s talking in those meetings, it’s not like he’s yelling at somebody or coming down hard on them or anything like that. What he’s doing is addressing a specific route and how he expects it to be run.
And when he speaks, whether it’s a veteran or a rookie, he speaks directly to you. He’ll turn around and look you in the eyes and say, “Hey, I need you to do this because this is what I’m expecting.”
He’s not yelling at the receivers saying, “This is dogs—! You’ve got to do better!” It’s more from a coaching perspective of, “Hey, I’m speaking directly to you because I think this will help us on Sunday.”
I think everybody appreciates that, because they know Tom doesn’t just talk to hear himself talk like some people do.
So, people shut up and listen when he’s talking directly to them, because they know that if they want to get the ball on Sundays, then they should listen to his advice.
After Eagles game, I think Tom was just speaking honestly and candidly.
I think everybody on that offensive unit — including Josh McDaniels and the entire coaching staff — would probably tell you their expectation level is higher than what they’ve been playing at.
And I think some of the struggles they’ve had, whether it’s in the running game or red zone offense, are things they want to address and are a little bit frustrated about.
So, I think he’s just being honest with the questions and how he feels the offense can improve from where it’s at.
Editor’s note: Matt Cassel had a 14-year NFL career that included four seasons with the New England Patriots (2005-2008). He’s joining the NBC Sports Boston team for this season. You can find him on game days as part of our Pregame Live and Postgame Live coverage, as well as every week on Tom E. Curran’s Patriots Talk podcast and NBCSportsBoston.com.
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Matt Cassel: What Tom Brady is really like when Patriots’ offense is struggling originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston