Brady braces for ‘best team we’ve faced all year’

Done with the Broncos and on to the next one, Patriots [team stats] quarterback Tom Brady [stats] woke up extra early and talked with the guys from WEEI Radio. In his regular weekly gig with Dennis & Callahan, Brady talked a ton about this week’s opponent, the Ravens.

Much more than usual, he actually watched the games on Sunday, “more like a fan,” he said. And he sounded ready to work. But it didn’t sound like he was using the 2010 playoff loss as motivation.

“Nah, it’s enough (to think about getting to the Super Bowl),” Brady said. “Every second, we’re getting closer to that game.”

Yup, one game away. Now, the Ravens are the only thing he’s thinking about, rather than avoiding being one-and-done (like last week) or getting revenge on that playoff loss.

“I don’t think the mindset is you got to be careful or think negative thoughts,” Brady said. “What we’re doing is, we’re trying to focus and place the emphasis on us. Look, the Ravens are the best team we’ve faced all year. No one is going to overlook a team like that. They present a ton of challenges. You watch them … like, yesterday, they’re physical, tough, they can cover, they have some of the best players in the history of the NFL at their position — (Terrell) Suggs, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata. We really got our work cut out for us. But we’re excited about the challenge. … There’s not too much you take from the game other than winning and moving on. That’s something we haven’t done here in a while, and it was good to go out there and get a win.”

Asked if he was nervous about being bounced early from the playoffs again this year, Brady said he didn’t think about it like that. In fact, he didn’t entertain any negative thoughts.

“You know what it is. It’s not like Coach (Bill) Belichick needs to say it. It’s not like we have to say it in a big team meeting,” he said. “You don’t sit there and think about losing the game. You just show up for work, put in the preparation, focus on the things we need to focus on, the game planning, the scheme, the execution, and give ourselves a good chance. … Then, ultimately, you go out in the game and you see what it’s like.”

The team is on a roll now, with no losses since that Giants game. Still…

“Our preparation has been solid the whole year,” Brady said. “We’ve won nine straight. That’s been good for us. But it means nothing now. The slate is clean. When that Baltimore game ended and we knew who our opponent was, it comes down to one game.”

Last week, Brady said “we definitely were” confident after that week of practice. It’s how you want to go into every game.

“I think it gives you a pretty good indication and focus and a sense of awareness if your team has a good week of practice,” Brady said. “Sometimes a week of practice is a little bit uneven, and you’re not quite sure how it’s going to go. Other nights, like Saturday night, you know what’s going on, you have a good plan, and you play with confidence. Now, sometimes, you feel like that and you go out there and lose. But your level of execution starts in practice. If you practice well, it gives you a better chance.”

Brady was described this week by Chad Ochocinco as insanely intense. He didn’t deny that. In fact, he relished it.

“It’s an emotional game,” Brady said. “I try to practice the same way. Obviously, the focus is heightened. That’s just playoff football. You realize that if you throw an interception, if you miss a read, that could be your season. There’s no next week. Everything has to be right. You try to make everything right. And then when you make a mistake, you say, ‘OK, we’re not going to make another one.’ Our team did a good job of that. That’s just this time of year.”

It was a Tim Tebow-filled week, but Brady said of Tebowmania, “We never talked about it. … You can judge by the questions you’re getting, but if you don’t turn on the TV, (you don’t know).”

Instead, the focus was internal. And it worked out.

“I thought a lot of guys played really well and were on the same page,” Brady said. “Things were definitely more to our level of expectation. And still, we have to find ways to improve. Turnovers hurt us. But for the most part, we put forth a solid effort. You win the game, you immediately start thinking about the next game.”

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