Wednesday the Patriots returned to work to get ready for the Colts this Sunday, and as usual it was a busy day for the media as this match-up will likely get the most attention for the rest of the week.
Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald has an article this morning on how the Patriots will once again have to deal with Peyton Manning. Manning has gotten the better of Tom Brady and company in recent years, although he wouldn’t admit that he’s got a “handle” on Bill Belichick’s defensive schemes.
“Those are your words and not mine. I don’t think I have a handle on any defenses,” Manning said when the obvious was stated in question form. “Like I said, every game takes on its own identity. Certainly, if you ask about a certain year, there have been certain times where our offense has executed better than in years past. It’s really hard to summarize them all, put them into one. And I’ve never admitted to having a handle on anything.”
The Boston Globe reports that the Patriots re-signed linebacker Pierre Woods yesterday, just one day after waiving Shawn Crable. Woods had been staying in shape and working as a groundskeeper at the University of Michigan since being cut back in September, and is excited to be back.
“Feels great to be back,’’ Woods said. “Feels real good to be back. I’m real excited. Been in Michigan, working and working out. To be back is a blessing. Ready to go.’’
Ian Rapoport of the Herald also writes that Woods stopped checking the waiver wire after a while and since he didn’t have cable television at home, he evenntually quit keeping track of which teams needed linebackers. So he continued to work out, stay in shape, and wait for his opportunity.
Meanwhile the other news yesterday was the fact that Brady sat out of Wednesday’s practice session to likely give his ailing foot another day to heal. Mike Reiss has more on the story and reports that Brady said he’s “doing well” and “looking forward to the game this weekend”.
The Boston Globe has a piece from Howard Ulman of the Associated Press on past match-ups between New England and Indianapolis, and summarizes each of the past match-ups since Brady and Manning started battling it out beginning in 2001.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com breaks down each position group for both sides and gives who he feels has the edge – and he believes the Patriots have too much talent for this banged up Colts team.
Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star was on Dennis & Callahan this morning and said during the interview that to this point the Colts are just trying to “hold on” after dealing with a lot of injuries.
“I think there’s a feeling, especially around here, that this team is just trying to hold on for dear life until guys come back and are healthy,” Kravitz said. “I think people around here are sort of ready to take their lumps against New England and just hope they can hang on long enough to get some guys back and make a run at the playoffs.”
We’ll have more from Kravitz later on, as he joined us for “Five Questions” with Russ Goldman that you’ll see later this morning.
Phil Richards of the Indianapolis Star writes that the Colts are wary of Brandon Tate in the kickoff return game, with head coach Jim Caldwell talking about him yesterday.
“Fast, explosive, good hands and he does a number of things well, not just from scrimmage but also in the kick return game as well,” Caldwell said. “He’s a very dangerous kickoff return man.”
Jeff Howe of NESN has a piece this morning on Brady, who said yesterday he’s not interested in being the NFL MVP, since history has pointed out that those guys don’t generally end up with a ring by the time the season is over.
Greg Bedard of the Globe has a piece this morning on the rivalry between the two teams and feels it’s wrong to pit this game as “Brady vs. Manning”, and Manning said as much during an interview yesterday.
“I can’t speak for Tom, but I think he would certainly see it the same way I do,’’ Manning said. “I still see it as team vs. team. Basketball, maybe there is a little more — even though it’s a team sport — maybe there’s a little more one-on-one to it because there are just five guys out there. Football still is the ultimate team sport.’’
Mark Farinella of the Attleboro Sun Chronicle writes that there’s nothing new between these two teams, and Brady actually talked about his first ever start against the Colts back in the old RCA Dome yesterday, and was surprised Manning actually knew who he was.
“That was the old stadium,” he said. “You’ll never forget the first time you started a game in the NFL. I remember meeting Peyton (Manning) before the game, I was surprised he knew me, as a matter of fact. He said, ‘Hi Tom. I’m Peyton,’ as he was out there warming up, which I thought was pretty cool.”
Tom Curran has an article this morning for NECN and feels that as much as they try and downplay it, this one Sunday – as usual – will be big for both teams.
Think the Colts don’t mean anything to Brady? Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald writes that Brady keeps an eye on the Colts to see how Manning is playing. He also expects this to be a high scoring game.
“It’s not going to be a 7-3 game,” said Brady, whose team leads the NFL in scoring with 28.7 points per game. “You know they have offensive firepower. We’ve proven we can move the ball against these guys, and they don’t mind giving up yards, they don’t want to give up points. They’re not going to give you anything.”
And finally the Patriot Ledger has yesterday’s Q & A with head coach Bill Belichick for anyone who may have missed it, as well as Brady’s – which can be found here.
That’s it for now. As I said we’ll have our Q & A with Bob Kravitz in a bit, along with a couple of other features – so keep an eye on the front page of PatsFans.com for when they become available.