But how about the calls during the game? Brady has spoken of Weis's genius in crucial situations, such as the two screen passes he called in the Super Bowl last February, plays that were run out of a four-wide package and slowed the Eagles' rush when it was getting nasty. "Brilliant calls," Brady says. "We'd never shown that before."
"The ultimate call has to be made on the field, of course," Belichick says. "I'll make it." -- Paul Zimmerman
Tom Brady has never had a weapon like Ben Watson, a 6'3", 253-pound tight end with 4.4 speed. He was a first-round draft choice in 2004, but a knee injury in the opener ended his season. "It's exciting, thinking of what he adds," Brady says. "A big, deep threat down the middle--just thinking about it makes me want the season to start." The No. 1 priority, Watson says, is to "stay healthy"; No. 2 is "to do what they drafted me for: Learn the offense and give Tom Brady another weapon."
AN OPPOSING SCOUT'S VIEW
They're going to see everybody's A game this year. The first six games will be crucial. They're at Carolina in Week 2, then for the next four weeks they get three division champions plus Denver, a wild-card team, on the road. Just brutal.... Here's what I think teams will do to them, at least at first: They'll run at them hard. The Colts almost beat them doing that in the opener last year. And remember, when they slipped three years ago, it was the run defense that killed them.... I don't think Chad Brown's body will hold up for 16 games, playing inside. I think they're kidding themselves with Monty Beisel. It's strictly a gamble. It wasn't like he was killing people in K.C. It's one of those "athletic ability" moves, and I'm surprised the Patriots are going in that direction.... If I were setting up their defense, I'd use the 4--3 as much as I could and get Jarvis Green on the field with Richard Seymour. Green is one of the most underrated defensive players in the league.... I don't know how the play-calling is going to work out, but the thing you've got to remember with Tom Brady is that he ranks right up there with Peyton Manning as the smartest quarterback in the league.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP with 2004 statistics
2004 RECORD: 14--2
NFL RANK (rush/pass/total): OFFENSE 7/11/7 DEFENSE 6/17/9