“I don’t think this team would make a decision like that if they doubt it’s going to work.” – Brady on Antonio Brown joining the Patriots
“Consider the transformation of Lamar Jackson off to a flying start.” – King on Jackson as a passer
Mike Tirico Drops a New, Weekly Recap Segment Overnight Each Sunday on The Mike Tirico Podcast; Joined This Week By Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and Mike Florio
“There’s a lot of great pieces to the puzzle, but that doesn’t mean there’s a pretty picture when it’s finished.” – Dungy on Cleveland Browns
STAMFORD, Conn. – September 9, 2019 – Following the New England Patriots’ 33-3 Week 1 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spoke with Peter King about the team’s acquisition of wide receiver Antonio Brown in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also recaps the games and news from the NFL’s opening weekend, including handing out his Week 1 awards for top players and coaches.
With the NFL season underway, a new weekly recap episode of The Mike Tirico Podcast will drop overnight each Sunday. In this week’s episode, Mike speaks with Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and Mike Florio about the top storylines from yesterday’s Week 1 games.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
ANTONIO BROWN TO THE PATRIOTS
King: “I would not describe Tom Brady as giddy, or overly bubbly, about the prospect of playing football with the great but troubled wide receiver he’ll meet today, Antonio Brown. When I met Brady for a few minutes in an office just off the Patriots locker room around 12:20 this morning, an hour after the Patriots finished a stunning 33-3 pasting of the surprisingly docile Steelers in the 2019 season-opening Sunday-nighter, I’d describe him as pleased that the Patriots went out on a limb and invested millions in Brown.
Pleased…but pleased in the way you get when you’ve finished raking a third of the yard. Hardly satisfied. Lots left to do.”
Brady: “There was a lot of positive emotion when it happened, but you know, everybody says, ‘Whoa, this is what it can be, and what potential they have.’ But you know, the teams I’ve been on, they go to work.”
Brady: “The NFL’s a competitive place. Lots of moving parts. Lots of adjustment, constantly. Week to week, a guy gets hurts, a guy gets picked up you don’t know, you’re constantly manipulating your team. We lost our right tackle [Marcus Cannon, with a shoulder injury] tonight for who knows how long. Like, oh sh–, that’s a big deal. Now we’ll add Antonio, and he’s got to…there’s a lot to learn…The point is, it’s one thing to talk about, it’s another thing to go do it. Let’s go do it. That’s what my attitude is.”
King: “Of course, that’s why this place works so well. The Patriots have won six Super Bowls in 18 years because Bill Belichick’s a dour metronome of preparation and utter consistency, and his GOAT disciple, Brady, plays the most important position at the same level of preparedness and attitude. So sometime before the Brown deal is announced Monday, Belichick will tell Brown something like this: Welcome to the team. Great to have you. Follow the rules. Those who have heard the Belichick welcome say it’s not particularly long nor emotional. But there will be an understanding that if Brown continues to act like the petulant child he was in Oakland, he won’t last here, even if it means it’ll cost New England owner Robert Kraft millions to jettison him.
As Brady says, ‘We’ll add Antonio, and he’s got to…there’s a lot to learn.’
Left unspoken: We’ll add Antonio, and he’s got to be the same as everyone else here. A Team Guy.
Brady: “The expectations are high. Coach always says, ‘I’m not going to congratulate you for doing your job. You’re not going to get a lot of pats on the back because you completed a pass. That’s why you’re here.’ And if you screw up, he’s gonna tell you. I mean, he knows so much football. He wants it done right. Josh [McDaniels, offensive coordinator] wants it done right. That’s what we’re gonna try to do now.”
King: “Seems like it’s got a pretty good chance to work, based on your history here.”
Brady: “I hope so. I don’t think this team would make a decision like that if they doubt it’s going to work. We’re gonna work as hard as we can to make it work to contribute to what we’re trying to achieve.”
Former Patriots WR Donte’ Stallworth on Brown: “Money’s great. But when you can be a Super Bowl contender, and when you can play for maybe the greatest coach ever in team sports, and you can play with the greatest quarterback, maybe ever, I’ll just tell you, the way players think, that is something money can’t buy. That appeals to players.”
Stallworth: “Antonio’s got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But when you get to New England, you have to accept being a cog in the wheel. I think if Antonio buys in, he’s going to have a great year. If he doesn’t, the experience will be over pretty quick.”
ON THE CLEVELAND BROWNS
King: “At 4:15 Sunday afternoon in Cleveland, after Tennessee shocked the Browns with a 30-point pummeling, the diehards filed out of First Energy Stadium and a very light rain began to fall on the lakefront…Talk about a letdown.”
Titans DB Logan Ryan on the Cleveland fans: “It reminded me of a college crowd. The fans are there at 9 a.m., drinking, and there’s a lot of them. And they were really loud, especially at the beginning.”
King: “Give credit to Tennessee, though. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees sent multiple looks at quarterback Baker Mayfield (sacked five times, intercepted three) all day. You wouldn’t have known Marcus Mariota has the hot breath of Ryan Tannehill on his neck.”
KING’S WEEK 1 AWARDS
GM of the Week: Mike Mayock, Oakland.
King: “An adult in the middle of the playpen…Mayock refused to continue enabling the player who had been enabled for most of his career. Good for Mayock – regardless what happens with Brown going forward.”
Offensive Players of the Week: Dak Prescott, Dallas & Lamar Jackson, Baltimore.
King on Jackson: “The Ravens spent the offseason working on Jackson the passer taking over for Jackson the runner…Consider the transformation of Lamar Jackson off to a flying start.”
King on Prescott: “With owner Jerry Jones describing a new contract for Prescott, a fourth-round pick in 2016, as ‘imminent,’ Prescott had one of the best games of his young career.”
Coach of the Week: Mike Pettine, defensive coordinator, Green Bay.
King: “New coach Matt LaFleur chose to retain Pettine… Funny what happens when the play-calling is smart, and the talent gets better and the secondary matures. Pettine’s D held the Bears to three points and 254 yards.”
THE MIKE TIRICO PODCAST
Tony Dungy on Cleveland: “There’s a lot of great pieces to the puzzle, but that doesn’t mean there’s a pretty picture when it’s finished. I want to see how they respond to a little adversity.”
Mike Florio on Dallas: “I think they have to show that when they’re expected to be great, they can step up and they can be great. They can avoid the little pitfalls that can drag other teams down. It seems like when the bar is low for them, that’s when they have their good year, and then when the bar is high, that’s what they just don’t make it happen.”
Rodney Harrison on Kansas City: “They put up a lot of points, but my fear is that if their offense has one slow day, one bad day, is their defense good enough? And I don’t know if their defense is.”
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.
—FOOTBALL MORNING IN AMERICA—