Found December 12, 2012 on Boston Sports Then & Now:
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Maybe whenever Tom Brady does this he’s letting the defense know that he’s smarter than them. Few athletes have the patience and desire to prepare themselves for battle after battle on the same level as Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Every week presents a new challenge whether it’s playing in the frigid cold of Green Bay, the intense heat of Miami, the incredibly loud environment of Seattle or against the freakish ability of the Houston Texans’ front seven to bat down passes at the line of scrimmage. No matter the situation, make no mistake about it, the two-time Super Bowl MVP will be prepared to combat the unfavorable conditions that are thrown his way on a weekly basis. Bill Belichick has been known to prepare his teams extremely well for games, especially in the second half of the season, which his team has coasted through during the last three years, compiling a 21-0 record after the midway point. Perhaps Brady has learned from his coach of 13 years that not only does practice make perfect, but so does preparation. Brady has been known to start watching film on opponent’s defensive alignments, their blitz tendencies or anything else he can think of right after the previous game has ended. A long flight back to Boston from Miami last week may have been spent studying and analyzing the Houston defense and how to exploit them. The 3 a.m. bedtime that night was probably for the same reason. Safe to say it probably paid off. What perhaps made things even more exciting for Brady was the extra day of preparation he was awarded due to the primetime Monday night game. If you give a genius more than enough time to prepare for the biggest test of the year, he will ace it. And that’s just what Brady did in front of the sellout crowd in Foxboro. A week full of meetings and then the additional required team film sessions follow Brady’s own preparation. It’s like doing homework so he can succeed at his job, but unlike most kids, he loves to spend the extra time on the problems and work out a real solution. Earlier Wednesday, Brady even informed the media in his weekly press conference that he began preparing for this week’s game against the NFC West-leading 49ers in the “couple” days after the Thanksgiving Night win over the Jets. You just don’t see that very often. I mean, most quarterbacks wouldn’t even think to do something like that, but then again, most quarterbacks haven’t won three Super Bowl rings. Some people just wake up, brush their teeth, grab a coffee and head off for another boring day of work. Not this guy, though. Brady has gotten into a real routine during his time in the NFL and I don’t think that anybody is going to disagree with it. It’s worked out pretty well for him. The uncanny preparation that he goes through was perhaps reflected no better than it was this week against the vaunted Texans pass rush. While he did have his full starting offensive line around him for what seemed like the first time in years, and that certainly helped, Brady was extra careful during the game to execute what he had worked on all week long: not getting passes batted down at the line. Houston came into the game with 25 pass deflections on the year, by far the most in the NFL. How many did they have Monday night? Zero. It’s not like they weren’t getting pressure or not getting their hands up. Maybe they just weren’t getting their hands up in time. Brady releases the ball faster than any other QB in the NFL and in this situation, that really worked to his advantage. With the defensive linemen trying first to get position on the O-line before pursuing the quarterback, Brady had probably already let the ball go by that time. Even when the line did get their hands up, Brady coolly got the ball around them and still managed to fit it in perfectly to his receivers most of the time. There were a couple of misses, but Brady didn’t get lucky. He worked on that. He worked on it all week in practice with tennis rackets representing the hands of the Texan defenders he would have to deliver the ball over on the field. Once again, the tireless preparation paid off. Sometimes, in the heat of the game, players can forget what they worked on all week, but no, not him. Brady knew to look for the outstretched hands of defenders when dropping back to pass. And he knew how to avoid them. Ever wonder why Brady sometimes seems to drop back and just stand almost motionless in the pocket waiting for something to develop and you think, “man, how is he that composed with all that chaos going on within his reach?” He has the confidence in his line, his receivers and mostly in his preparation to know how long he has to get rid of the ball and when his receivers will be able to break away from the coverage. It’s intangibles like those that make him one of the best ever to do what he does. It’s not just raw talent and hard physical work that have gotten TB12 to where he is. It’s his unrelenting need, desire and ability to prepare for just 60 minutes of game time on a weekly basis. It’s no accident that he did not allow any batted passes on Monday night. Happy Tom Brady day.   Follow me on Twitter @RealAndyLarmand.
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