Two things we've come to expect from the New England Patriots' (anti-)PR machine: a) make only laudatory observations about the opposition (obvious exception: Freddie Mitchell), and b) don't dwell on any one topic too long.
During his weekly radio appearance on WEEI, Pats quarterback Tom Brady only had nice things to say about his Denver counterpart, Tim Tebow, who New England will face this Sunday. If you're just back from Mars, a quick recap: Tebow, a lightning rod for his unconventional style and happy-go-lucky disposition, has gone from joke to hero in two months. The Broncos started the season 1-4 with Kyle Orton, hesitantly installed Tebow as the starter, and he's gone 7-1 since, including a current six-game winning streak. And like the Pats, Denver is atop their division and headed for the postseason.
But New England will be the toughest test in the Tebow era. The Broncos have been plagued by a decidedly low-powered offense for three quarters of every game only to mount fourth-quarter comebacks.
The difference: New England can score points in bunches. Tebow & Co. appear to have little trouble overcoming two-score deficits but the Pats could be up 30 points, even with their defense. So does the magic end Sunday for the Broncos or are the Pats their next victim?
Brady is happy to talk about what Denver has done collectively but isn't interested in chatting up Tebow specifically (see media rules above). Via ESPNBoston.com:
"I think they are a very good team," Brady said when the first question centered on Tebow. "I think they obviously have a bunch of guys that play hard and play well together, I think they complement each other very well -- offense, defense, and special teams. Honestly, I’ve been focusing on their defense; I haven’t watched a lot of Broncos offense this week. I’ve seen all their games. They have a lot of good players -- D.J. Williams, Champ Bailey, obviously I’ve played against him a bunch -- I really have a lot of respect for the guys on the defensive side of the ball. That’s really our challenge this week. We’ll let the the defensive guys handle their offense."
Brady was asked four different ways about Tebow before a more general question about appreciating other NFL quarterbacks.
"I appreciate good quarterbacks, I’ve always watched them around the league, whether it’s Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees, who are having phenomenal years," he said. "Obviously, Tim's having a great year. You watch guys and they way they perform under pressure and it says a lot about the person they are and the way their teammates feel about them."
The Patriots got their first win ever in Washington (in both the District or the suburbs) last week. Now Brady heads to Denver where he's 1-5 lifetime against the Broncos.
"Losing sucks and you hate losing, but there's nothing I can do about those games in the past now," said Brady. "I'll try to win this one, that would make me feel pretty good."
First, Brady will have to get past Tebow (we can't believe we just typed that either).