It’s not often the Patriots are underdogs, but the Denver Broncos are almost universally favored heading into the AFC Championship this weekend. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady embraced that role during an interview on WEEI’s “Dennis & Callahan” Monday morning.
“I think the most satisfying part of being a player is to win the game,” said Brady. “It doesn’t matter what a person may think or say. Truthfully I don’t turn the TV on, I don’t read anything, I just try to focus on what I need to do and put all that stuff around us aside.
“I know when we played Baltimore nobody picked us to win. I’m sure no one’s going to pick us to win this week. We’ve had our backs against the wall for a while, really the whole season. We’ve lost players. Teams have counted us out. We’ve got a bunch of underdogs on our team, and we’ll be an underdog again.”
Part of what makes Brady confident that his team can overcome the AFC’s No. 1 seed is a resurgent New England running game. LeGarrette Blount rushed for four touchdowns, a franchise record, during Saturday’s win over the Colts that featured six Patriots rushing scores.
“I think our offensive line, the way they’ve played down the stretch has been incredible, and with LeGarrette, Stevan [Ridley], and Shane [Vereen], and what they’ve done, it’s been huge for our team. That’s going to be a part of every game plan.
“I know that we’re as tough and physical as we’ve ever been, and that’s the way we’re going to need to go out and play this game.”
Brady praised Peyton Manning, whom he will face for the 15th time Sunday, during the interview. He also addressed Manning’s use of the word “Omaha” on what seemed like every snap count, audible to anyone watching the Broncos-Chargers game on television.
“He does a good job of changing it,” said Brady. “One time it means one thing and one time it means another. He got them offsides five or six times, which is the most I think I’ve ever seen.
“The defense starts listening and one time he says, ‘Omaha,’ and the ball is snapped, and then another time he says, ‘Omaha, set, hut,’ and he won’t snap it. Next thing you know they jump offsides. He’s probably got other cue words that he uses to let the team know what he really wants to do, his real intention.”
With punter Ryan Allen injured vs. Indianapolis, Brady held for kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Brady said he didn’t know if he was listed as the team’s No. 2 holder on the depth chart.
“I’ve had experience in college doing it, and we have the best kicker in the league, so I think you could probably hold for him and he’d make 90 percent of them,” Brady said.
“I’ve never even checked the depth chart. I wouldn’t even know. I’ve never been to one of their meetings.”
Brady was also asked whether he would reach out to former teammate Wes Welker this week.
“I think at this point we’re both pretty focused on what we need to do,” said Brady. “There’s plenty of time for those things. This is the biggest game of the year. All my attention is going to be focused on what I’ve got to do to help us win.”