It's mind games between Brady and SuhBy ADAM KURKJIAN
December 11. 2017 12:39AM
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — There is the fiery element to Tom Brady’s game that can be a positive, but when another player gets under his skin, the Patriots quarterback knows there’s a time to keep cool and stay focused.
On a conference call last week, Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said playing mind games with Brady is part of the goal.
“I’d love to make him mad,” Suh said. “My job is to (anger him) and have him yelling at his offensive linemen for not blocking me, his coach and everybody on the sideline. That’s my job.”
Two weeks ago, Pats left tackle Nate Solder said Brady never throws his linemen under the bus like that. On Saturday, ahead of tonight’s game at Miami, Brady acknowledged the challenges presented by a player like Suh, who is one of the top defensive tackles in the NFL.
“There’s that part of it, too. A guy like that, he has such a big impact on what you’re doing offensively because of his talent and his special, unique abilities,” Brady said of the 6-foot-4, 305-pounder. “He presents challenges every week because of his size, speed, quickness, power. He’s a real good player.”
In the first game between the teams this season — a 35-17 Pats win Nov. 26 at Gillette Stadium — Brady’s line protected him well for the most part and allowed one sack from Cameron Wake. But the in-between hits from play to play were there and can take their toll.
“(Suh) knocked me around pretty good last game,” Brady said. “(Avoiding those hits is) going to be our big goal this game, too. I know our guys are doing their best to protect the quarterback, whether it’s me or anyone else, to protect the running backs in the run game. We found a way to beat them last time. We’re going to have to do the same thing this time. But they present a good challenge, especially at home on ‘Monday Night Football.’ (The Dolphins) played good last week against Denver (a 35-9 Miami win). There’s no opportunity for us to go in there and not think we’re going to get our very best.”
Don’t crowd the plow
Defensive lineman Eric Lee practiced in the snow for the first time in his football career Saturday. He described the feeling as playing in a snow globe.
Normally, when the Pats go down to South Florida late in the season, it’s a respite from the cold, wintery stuff most New Englanders are used to. But tonight’s forecast for Miami calls for temperatures in the 50s.
Hot, cold or mild, the home team tends to have a real advantage.
“I know it’s not going to be perfect out there, but you try to do as best you can, especially in the preparation so that you can be ready to anticipate and compete as hard as you can like this on a ‘Monday Night Football’ game in December,” Brady said. “It’s a great environment and we’ve got to be ready to go.”
Brady opened his press conference on Saturday with an apology and by expressing regret over a sideline spat with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
“One thing I do want to say, first, is I want to apologize to Josh for last week in Buffalo,” Brady said. “I know our coaches work really hard. They’re responsible for putting us in a great position to succeed, so I just wanted to get that off my chest.”
The argument came after a play where Brady missed the opportunity to hit an open wide receiver, as he threw an incompletion toward a covered Brandin Cooks instead of going to Phillip Dorsett.
Brady and McDaniels went back and forth in animated fashion, and the quarterback appeared to want to make sure the conversation didn’t mischaracterize their day-to-day interactions.
“A lot of people see it and they think the nature of our relationship would be something like that, but it’s really the exact opposite of that,” Brady said. “So I’ve been feeling bad all week and I haven’t had a chance to say it. He knows how much I love him.”