Bill O'Brien said Tom Brady's knowledge of the game and desire to be coached makes coaches have to stay on top of their game to work with him.
Tom Brady's work ethic and obsessiveness has been well-chronicled, but that doesn't mean he takes care of all of the work for his coaches.
According to Houston Texans coach and former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien, coaching Brady is "one of the most difficult jobs you can have as a coach."
O'Brien told Mike Meltser and Seth Payne of CBS Houston in a radio interview that coaching Brady is challenging because Brady wants to be coached and is so well-versed in football that it, in turn, puts pressure on the coaches.
"One of the most difficult jobs you can have is coaching Tom because he wants to be coached. You coach him every single day, every minute of the day, and all year round because he’s all football. He’s a phenomenal guy and the reason why he is what he is, is because he’s obsessed with football. He’s a great family guy, don’t get me wrong, but I mean, he’s obsessed with football. So when you’re coaching him you better be ready to go at a moment’s notice whether it’s for a meeting, or practice or game, and it made me a much better coach when I was fortunate enough to coach him."
O'Brien continued saying that Brady's knowledge of the playbook and reading defenses means that he could pick apart good and bad play calls.
"If you called a play in the game — a lot of our plays are choices, you can run this or this — and either choice stunk, he would be able to in two seconds, change that to what he saw, boom, and this is what we're running, and he did that. You can't do that with everybody. And he did that with his own brain power, based on his own experience ... He's one of those guys, if he wasn't a football player, I always say he could be a surgeon, a doctor, a lawyer, whatever, he's that type of brain power."
O'Brien also recalled a funny anecdote when he left the Patriots to coach the Penn State football team. O'Brien said he was so used to running so many plays so efficiently with Brady and the Patriots that when he gave the same workload to college players, the practice was a mess.
"We went out for out first spring practice at Penn State and I was like, alright we’re going to do these 100 plays today and I think we were like 1 for 30. Now, there was a high wind that day in Happy Valley so I blame it on the wind, but guys didn’t know where to line up and it was like, what am I doing?!" O'Brien said, laughing. "But that was my first experience of knowing it’s different."
While any coach in the NFL can only dream of coaching a player like Brady, that doesn't make the job any easier. In fact, like many great athletes, if a coach isn't up to Brady's standard, he's going to know right away.