FOXBOROUGH — Tom Brady wants to make one thing perfectly clear: He was kidding about being old.
During the quarterback’s meeting with reporters a few weeks ago he was asked how he was feeling and said he “wouldn’t say I’m a spring chicken anymore.” The remark drew laughs.
Brady was reminded of the comment Tuesday when the 42-year-old was asked if the time he spent at practice was not as valuable now as it was when he was a younger player.
“That was kind of a joke!” Brady said, interrupting the question and drawing more laughs. “You guys take everything so literally. That was a joke. I was kidding around.’’
Getting back to the original question, Brady, who estimated he’s had 100-120 practices per year since high school, said the sessions are still invaluable.
“So, football, I would say, is very much like riding a bike for me now,’’ he said. “I mean, I know what to do, I know where to look. I wish I didn’t make mistakes when I was out there. But yeah, the practice is very important for me because it gives me confidence in what we’re doing. It helps me anticipate things with the players that I’m playing with.’’
As rosters evolve, it’s important for Brady to evolve, as well. He needs to work to establish a rapport with all his available weapons — new and old.
“So, even though I maybe have done things, I still recognize that a lot of other players haven’t done those things,’’ he said. “So, my connection with them is very important. Even though I’ve been doing it, the two of us need to do it together.”
According to Brady, repetition is the key to success.
“You know, football is a very coordinated game,” he said. “Everybody needs to be thinking the same thing, reacting the same way, anticipating the same way, in order to be successful. That’s why us being out there as a unit is very important — practicing, executing in practice so you can build confidence, confidence builds trust, and trust leads us to good execution when you’re out on the field.’’
With age, of course, comes experience, and that could give Brady and the veteran-laden Patriots the edge in this short-week matchup against the Giants.
Time management is important. Brady is 11-1 in Thursday games with 28 touchdown passes and five interceptions.
“Well, I’m pretty efficient with my time. Any time you have experience like I do . . . like a lot of people do when they’ve been in their job a long time — you know what works, you know what doesn’t work,’’ said Brady. “You just try to get to the things that work and that you know are going to be successful. So, whether that’s your preparation, how you study, how you utilize your time — I think there’s always a balance for a player between your mental preparation, your physical preparation, your emotional preparation, and how you try to be at the peak of all three of those phases for the particular game you’re playing. So, you don’t have the time to practice, so mentally you’ve got to take advantage of that, get your body right, be prepared, and then go out and execute at a high level.”
Brady, who is in his 20th season, was seen chatting with Washington rookie Dwayne Haskins following Sunday’s win. Haskins tweeted his appreciation of Brady’s support. Brady will see another rookie quarterback, Daniel Jones, on Thursday, and Brady said no matter a guy’s experience, he studies them.
“I love football, I love watching quarterbacks play — I’ve seen a lot over 20 years — I wouldn’t say it’s changed much,’’ he said. “I appreciate good quarterback play. So, yeah, I pay attention to all the young guys, I pay attention to the old guys, I pay attention to every quarterback in the league and watch them, watch how they lead, watch how they play, throw, their fundamentals, their decisions. I’ve got to know what my competition’s like, so I’m trying to study those guys, too.’’
Brady wasn’t kidding about that.