The combination of quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick has resulted in three Super Bowl championships, and five total appearances in the league’s championship game for the New England Patriots over the last 12 years.
And while they respect the recent history of the Patriots, the Cleveland Browns enter Sunday’s game at Gillette Stadium without fear.
“We have a proud group of competitive guys, and they’re excited about going up to Foxborough and the opportunity that we have,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. “We’ve had spirited practices and guys have had a lot of energy this week. There’s been a real good sense of urgency and fire that I’ve seen from this team. We want to win. We’ve worked hard to prepare and we’re excited about this challenge and opportunity that we have this weekend.”
“When we touch the field, our mindset is he’s just another nameless, faceless quarterback to us and we definitely want to make sure we capitalize on the mistakes he makes. At the end of the day, when you’re dealing with an elite quarterback like that, you’ve definitely got to bring your ‘A’ game.”
Much like Horton, Gipson said he feels Brady is one of the best to ever play the game, and puts him in his top five quarterbacks of all time, a list that also includes Peyton Manning, who Gipson and the Browns played last season, as well as Dallas Cowboys great, and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Troy Aikman.
“Tom Brady, I think, will be on everybody’s top five list, no matter the era,” Gipson said. “You have to respect what he’s done for the game, what he’s done for the Patriots. His resume speaks for itself, so I have a great deal of respect for him.
“He’s just a complete quarterback. He can’t run that fast, but besides that, from a mental standpoint, from an accuracy standpoint, from a throwing power standpoint, he would be your ideal, prototypical quarterback. We definitely have our work cut out for us on Sunday.”
This season, Brady has completed 286 attempts for 3,267 yards and 19 touchdowns against eight interceptions. Since joining the Patriots as a sixth-round pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, Brady has completed 4,084 of 6,429 attempts (63.5 percent) for 48,073 yards and 353 touchdowns against 131 interceptions.
“You just see the competitive edge on film,” Gipson said. “With his understanding of the game, he makes throws the average quarterback wouldn’t make, that probably three quarterbacks in this league could make.
“He’s crafty, but I’ve been getting clean breaks on the ball this whole year, and not too many quarterbacks have been able to waver me as far as coming out of the post and things like that. I’ve just got to go out there and do my technique, go through my progressions and let everything else take care of itself. Anytime you’re dealing with a guy like that, he’s going to make throws that are difficult. He’s going to play mind-games with you because he’s played against the best and he is probably the best.”