- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 5, 2015

ASHBURN — Ricky Jean Francois has played against Tom Brady four times in his career. Each instance only reaffirmed what the Washington Redskins’ defensive end already believed: Brady is the best at what he does in the history of the NFL.

“I just believe he’s trying to show the NFL he’s the all-time best at that position,” Jean Francois said. “So when you ask quarterback, the first person that will come to your head, and it won’t be — nothing against those guys, I love them to death, Johnny Unitas and all those types of guys, but when you say that position now, you’re going to think of Tom Brady.”

Is it possible, then, to respect Brady perhaps too much before the Redskins’ matchup against New England on Sunday?

“I don’t know about too much respect,” Jean Francois said. “We give him respect, that’s hands down. You’re going to give a quarterback like that respect. If you don’t, Tom Brady ain’t got no problem to show you he can earn your respect real quick. I respect him myself. He showed me every time he’s the top-tier quarterback he’s always been.”

Even still, there is something different about what Brady has accomplished in seven games this season. It is the quarterback’s 16th season, and he is arguably having the best start of his well-decorated career, which is highlighted by four Super Bowl championships and a pair of regular-season MVP awards.

Brady has completed 68.9 percent of his passes for 2,410 yards, 20 touchdowns and one interception. He has not thrown less than two touchdown passes in any game this season.

Jean Francois does not even think the lone interception should count against Brady since it was a deflected pass.

“It feels like at this point he’s mastered the game,” Jean Francois said.

The defensive end also said he thinks Brady is out to prove he is the best, perhaps more this season than ever, after enduring an offseason filled with the “Deflategate” incident that tarnished his reputation.

“I think he has a chip on his shoulder due to other things, but that’s between Tom Brady and other people,” Jean Francois said.

Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins admires Brady and intently studies the three-time Super Bowl MVP.

Cousins often watches film of Brady with his private quarterbacks coach, Jeff Christensen, who also teaches Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo.

On Sunday, Cousins will face Brady for the first time in his career.

“He’s the greatest of all time,” Cousins said. “He’s done it for a reason. I have really only talked to him once, but I did tell him the one time I talked to him, ‘I study you, you do it at the highest level.’ So, he’s kind of set the standard for all of us to follow. It’s a high standard to meet. That’s the goal, certainly, every year, every offseason, to work and to prepare to try and play at the level he does week in and week out.”

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