Every week, Tom Brady will compliment his opponent before — more often than not — dismantling them; it feels like some ancient warrior honoring his enemy before eviscerating them. I believe, to a certain extent, Brady is being genuine in his flattering remarks. Still, his competitive drive rivals any in sports history, so it should be noted that he is extremely calculated in everything he does.

There is no doubt in my mind that he compliments teams, coaches, and individual players with honest sentiment, but there are also certainly some backhanded compliments and mind games going on with Brady. That mental warfare may be with himself, to convince himself they’re a good opponent because — with someone like Brady — he will find any sliver of disrespect and use it as motivation.

Ahead of the first matchup of the year, Brady is once again praising his opponent. The Falcons are coming off arguably the worst performance of any team in Week 1, so some of Brady’s comments could be a bit embellishing.

“[Smith] is a really talented coach,” said Tom Brady. “I’ve known Dean a long time. Really challenges the quarterback. Very sound defensively, I don’t think he has a lot of easy plays out there, he makes you earn everything. Obviously, Atlanta is a team that is in our division, so they know our personnel. There’s no intimidation and it’s not like you play them once every four years, it’s a team they play twice a year. They have a lot of confidence.”

I believe these are genuine comments because Brady must have a considerable amount of respect for Pees, given his history of being able to stifle The Goat. But when he continues to talk about the Falcons defense, it gets fishy.

“They have a new scheme with Arthur but they have a lot of talented players and I think they use their players really well,” he said. “Even last week’s game, I know they lost but they had a lot of opportunities on defense to make a lot of plays. Jalen Hurts got out of a bunch of them and did a really good job. It’s a very good defense and they’re going to make us earn every yard.”
The Eagles averaged a league-high 3.39 yards rushing before contact against the Falcons in Week 1, so those remarks are probably slighting Atlanta. Pees did blitz Jalen Hurts a fair amount; he was just able to get the ball out of his hands quick or escape using his feet. Overall, Atlanta’s defense looked fairly incompetent. Brady knows what he’s doing by complimenting a squad coming off such a poor performance. He makes it believable because it is layered in truth — Pees and Smith are talented football minds, and Hurts did escape would-be pressure. —

This article first appeared on SportsTalkATL and was syndicated with permission.

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