10:37 AM ET
Mike ReissESPN Staff Writer
- Covered Patriots since 1997
- Joined ESPN in 2009
HOUSTON — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addressed “realistic” expectations for the team’s inconsistent offense Monday morning, the day after a 28-22 loss to the Houston Texans in which the attack sputtered for long stretches.
“We’re learning as we go. By no means, we’re not 2-10. We’re 10-2,” he said in his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.”
“I know there are very high expectations, as there are for us. I think the expectations for our team are often at a very, very, very high level. I understand that. But at the same time, I think there are realistic expectations with our circumstances and incorporating different elements and players and injuries.
“We’re just trying to do the best we can do. We have our whole season ahead of us, and we have to learn from the things we did last night and try to go out there and get a really tough win against K.C. and see if we can get back to winning.”
Part of the reason the Patriots are “incorporating different elements,” as Brady noted, is because they released veteran receiver Antonio Brown in September after 11 days with the team. The club also released veteran receiver Josh Gordon in October and traded for Mohamed Sanu. Tight end Rob Gronkowski retired during the offseason.
Brown — facing a lawsuit and an NFL investigation over allegations of rape and sexual assault — continues to campaign for a return to the Patriots, but sources say the club has not been interested in that possibility.
Brown’s latest lobbying came in the form of a post on his Instagram Story in which he wrote that, “I’m starting to question if Robert Kraft wants to win. This is a business. You have rumors of your HOF QB wanting to leave, as well as already losing your All-Pro TE. I would assume that you would want to improve your offensive threats, which are obviously lacking. Tom and Josh [McDaniels] have nothing to work with.”
Brown also implored Kraft to “swallow your pride” and made a lewd reference to the Patriots owner allegedly paying for sex at a Florida massage parlor.
The loss of Brown has thrust rookie receiver N’Keal Harry, a first-round pick from Arizona State who had opened the season on injured reserve, into a bigger role. Brady was intercepted when targeting Harry on a slant route late in the first quarter; the Texans quickly turned the turnover into a touchdown.
Undrafted free-agent receiver Jakobi Meyers is also playing extended snaps, and Brady was shown on the NBC broadcast imploring his pass-catchers during the game.
“A quarterback’s responsibility is to try to lead and motivate. We’re often the voice of a lot of situations, because first we’re calling the plays in the huddle. And we have a lot of information from the coaches and coordinators on what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to motivate people and get people to play their best,” Brady explained in the radio interview.
“Guys are trying. I got no problem with [the effort]. I love playing with Phillip Dorsett. I love playing with N’Keal. N’Keal is working his tail off. He hasn’t had a lot of opportunity out there. He’s learning as he’s going. To expect someone to go out in their third game of the year, and be perfect, I think that’s unrealistic for anyone. I love what N’Keal is bringing. We’re gaining confidence every week.
“I love what Jakobi is doing; we’re gaining confidence every week. Gaining confidence with Mohamed. Julian [Edelman] and I have played together for a long time and I think that shows itself pretty well. I think you see James [White] and I have played together a long time.
“It’s part of our sport, is dealing with new situations and you try to deal with them the best you can. This team has faced some unique ones in and of itself, just like every team has. We’re not any different than any team. At the same time, we’re in decent position here. Now we have to try to go beat a great football team at home, Kansas City.”
Brady said the offense must “figure out how to be more consistent and get the ball in in the red area.”
“Sometimes it’s been good. Other times, we obviously have work we have to do. That’s just part of playing football,” he said. “Sometimes people have it figured out early, and some people, we’re trying to figure it out as we go. That’s just part of it. That’s just part of what we’re dealing with. Just going to keep trying to go out there and put our best out there and hopefully it’s good enough.”
Brady said slipping out of the No. 1 seed in the AFC is the “furthest thing from our mind.” In other words, he’s “on to Kansas City.”
“It’s not like we haven’t dealt with losses before,” he said during the radio interview. “I think a lot of it is about mental toughness and realizing that when you don’t play well, you’re not supposed to win. You’re not supposed to win when you put less than your best out there. Sometimes you get away with it. Most of the times you don’t.
“I don’t think anyone is feeling sorry for us. We’re not feeling sorry for us. We’re going to try to have a great week of preparation and see if we can get back to winning.”