Patience is a virtue but also a balancing act especially in the often overheated world of an NFL huddle. For Tom Brady this Sunday it is a balancing act he will have to master like the Flying Wallendas. When Brady leads the Patriots out to take on the Buffalo Bills he will be surrounded by unfamiliar faces and unsure minds. He will have thrown a pass under fire to only two of the six wide receivers on the roster making this the youngest receivers corps he has been saddled with in his 14 NFL seasons. When he turns to tight end the most familiar face Brady will see — Rob Gronkowski’s — will be smiling back at him from the sidelines and in no position to assist the offense. That being the case Brady has to anticipate the likelihood at some point of seeing that which he hates most on a football field — mental mistakes — while knowing he must balance his legendary lack of tolerance for such things with the need to nurture rookies Josh Boyce Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins. It is a task that may be more difficult than solving the defensive schemes of new Bills coordinator Mike Pettine. “I’m not the most patient guy to begin with so that’s something that I’m working on” Brady said yesterday. “You understand that there’s a learning curve and there’s things that are going to come up that . . . look some guys haven’t experienced the things that I’ve experienced so you try to talk about ‘OK this is possibly going to happen. If it happens then I want you to make this adjustment.’ Well it happens and then the adjustment’s not made and I say ‘Well I told you . . .’ “Sometimes that’s what I do with my three-year-old and he doesn’t listen either.” For a father of young sons it is a familiar conversation although in Buffalo it will carry with it a far different tone and frankly more immediate consequences. Notorious for his attention to detail Brady understands the faces staring back at him in the huddle are no longer the grizzled ones of Wes Welker and Deion Branch. More importantly they are not the minds of either of those receivers two men with whom Brady developed almost telepathic communication over the years. During his 14 years under center in the NFL Brady has played 84 turnover-free games. His team is 78-6 in those games. So he well understands the value of mistake-free football. So his approach in the season’s early games must be a tightrope walk between patience and demands between persistence and insistence. It will be a test as much of him as of them. “You try to just hang in there and when you communicate you determine how good of a communicator you are by the feedback that you get and if you’re not getting the right feedback then you communicate more and you’re obviously not doing a great job of it so I’ve got to do a better job” Brady said. One place where he’s tried to do that is inside team meeting rooms where he has at times taken over the PowerPoint presentations and edited film the way Spike Lee or Brian De Palma might. Brady has lectured and hectored knowing at this stage the former is more productive than the latter while understanding what they are about to embark upon is an endeavor where the demands are stern and the feedback immediate and often loud. “I’m not a coach I’m a player but there’s teaching” Brady said. “There are things I see that we’re trying to get on the same page. So a lot of it is me showing them a look and saying ‘Well this is what I expect so if we get that look we’re going to do it the way that I really can anticipate.’ The more of those things that we can cover through past experiences maybe it’s not their past experience but our Patriots past experience if we can cover some of that in the film room we don’t have to cover it on the field . . . when one of those situations happens in Buffalo.” Or so he hopes.
Tom Brady walks tightrope
Boston Herald | Sep 5