In an attempt to give their quarterback just his sixth win against his archrival, the Denver Broncos defense has already started (verbally) taking down the New England Patriots signal caller, perhaps sending a message to the AFC championship's officials in the process.
At the team's practice facility on Monday, Broncos defensive lineman Antonio Smith was asked if he'd label Brady a "crybaby."
"That would be an accurate statement. I've never seen any quarterback look to the referee right after he gets sacked more than Brady," Smith said with a smile. "Every time he gets sacked he looks at the ref like, 'You see him sack me? Was that supposed to happen? He did it a little hard. Please throw a 15-yard penalty on him. Get him fined.'"
Smith would go on to lump in a little praise before going back to taking shots.
"He's not going to rattle just because you hit him hard. I've tried over the years," Smith said. "That's what D-linemen think: 'The harder you hit the quarterback, the better it will make it on the secondary.'
"With Brady, he's a great competitor. You know it's coming. He's going to cry about getting hit, but he's going to take the hit and keep going."
Fellow defensive lineman Malik Jackson continued with the praised-mixed-in-with-burns theme on PFT Live on Tuesday.
"I mean when we played him he definitely threw some temper tantrums," Jackson said. "It’s one of those things that you know. He definitely [says], 'What’s going on? Why?' Definitely one of those whiners that whines but it’s a competitive game. I know I wouldn’t be whining like that, but some people do. So he’s definitely a whiner but he’s actually a big time player, competitor, too."
Does Brady get a disproportionate number of roughing the passer calls because he's Tom Brady?
Will this Broncos tactic help limit the pretty boy's special treament?
But probably not.