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Brady knows not to underestimate McDaniels on Sunday

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By Eric Edholm

The first time Eric Mangini coached against Tom Brady in 2006, the Jets did a respectable job on him: 15-of-29 passing, 220 yards, one TD, one interception, one sack and one fumble lost.

The Patriots actually struggled in 2007 against the Browns and their head coach, former Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, although Brady was his typical '07 self in that one: 22-of-38 passing, 265 yards, three TDs, no turnovers and no sacks.

So how will Brady do against Josh McDaniels on Sunday?

If anything, maybe McDaniels knows Brady's strengths better than those guys because he basically went over every throw Brady made the past five seasons and might have a few insights that those defensive coaches were not privy to.

Brady said yesterday he thinks McDaniels knows him about as well as any coach he has had recently.

"I have spent a lot of time with Josh over the years," Brady said on a national conference call. "He's a very high-character person. He's very well-prepared. He's great (at) communication. He really understands what players can do and what they can't do. And he really focuses on the thing (his team) is good at."

Brady said the team made adjustments to the way he and the offense make calls at the line in the offseason, knowing that the Broncos were on the schedule and that McDaniels might have an advantage. But Brady also said it wasn't too dramatically different than what the Patriots did before the jets game in Week Two, considering they had signed ex-Patriots QB Kevin O'Connell the week before.

One thing you might not see a lot of is the Patriots targeting Broncos CB Champ Bailey, who saw 16 passes thrown his way against the Cowboys. They appeared to want to go after Bailey, who responded by making an interception, plus two pass breakups on the final two plays. If there's a dropoff in Bailey's game, Brady hasn't see it.

"Oh, no," Brady said. "You could see in the Dallas game that he's an elite corner. He plays with a lot of confidence and the team really counts on him to make those type of plays. We've played him for a long time, gone to Pro Bowls, and he's hardly missed time except for the groin injury he had last season. He can do it all: He covers, he intercepts the ball, he always covers the best receiver on the other team, extremely competitive in the run game. He's really a dynamic player. There really aren't very many better than Champ."

And Brady knew not to disrespect McDaniels when his former coach was struggling this offseason, amid the Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall soap opera, even though McDaniels is only 16 months older than Brady.

"Josh commands respect because of the belief guys have in him. When you have the respect of the players, they are going to do whatever they tell him to do. That's just part of what Josh is all about, inherent in who he is. He does a great job in any role he has to, whether it's as a defensive assistant (with the Patriots from 2002-03) under Coach (Bill) Belichick or whether he was quarterback coach or the offensive coordinator. Everybody excels under his coaching."

Love fest aside, though,

"We're still good friends, and I wish him the best of luck … after we play them," Brady said with a chuckle.

"I said earlier I would love to give Josh his first NFL loss. Nothing would make me happier than that."

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