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Broncos call out Tom Brady for being a 'whiner'

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The AFC Championship trash talk is starting up early with Broncos defenders taking verbal shots at Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.

Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation 2016 NFL Playoff Guide

The Denver Broncos are already taking verbal shots at the New England Patriots and these teams won't even face off in the AFC Championship until Sunday afternoon.

The Broncos aren't impressed by what they perceive as Tom Brady's tendency to complain to the refs each time he takes a hit. Defensive end Antonio Smith said he's never seen a quarterback demand flags after hits more than Brady.

"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 said via Paul Klee of the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Smith isn't alone in his assessment of Brady. Broncos defensive end Malik Jackson had some choice words about Brady as a guest on Pro Football Talk's PFT Live on Tuesday.

Even if they think he's a crybaby, the Denver defense also respects Brady's ability to make plays under pressure.

"He's going to cry about getting hit, but he's going to take the hit and keep going," Smith said.

Not all of the Broncos' shots this week have been directed at Brady, either. Linebacker Brandon Marshall said tight end Rob Gronkowski's tendency to push off has contributed to his success as a receiver.

"He pushes off and he gets away with it about 98 percent of the time," Marshall said on PFT Live Monday.

However, the last time these two teams met in November, an offensive pass interference call against Gronkowski was one of several that Brady was "visibly pissed off" about. The Patriots carried a 21-7 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Broncos scored 17 unanswered points. The game eventually went to overtime, where the Broncos handed the Patriots their first loss of the season.

Denver's defense has been a force this season. The Broncos boast the top-ranked defense in the league, finishing the season in the top 10 in every major defensive category. They also topped the league in sacks with 52, three of which came against Brady in Week 12.

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