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Thursday, November 15, 2012
Can Patriots' secondary stop Andrew Luck?

By James Walker

I remember sitting in Lucas Oil Stadium two weeks ago watching Indianapolis Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck carve up the Miami Dolphins for 433 yards.

Luck was on top of his game. He was accurate, aggressive and surgical. Miami had no shot of stopping the hot rookie quarterback, who has won four straight games.

If Miami’s 28th-ranked pass defense couldn’t stop Luck, will New England's 29th-ranked pass defense have a chance? Both units are struggling mightily.

Luck could be in for another big passing day when the Patriots host the Colts Sunday. New England's secondary was recently torched by lesser quarterbacks like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Mark Sanchez. Luck poses a much bigger threat.

"Luck has done a good job for them,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick told reporters this week. "Like I said, I think he’s gotten better each week. He does a real good job avoiding the rush but also keeping his eyes downfield.”

Luck, the No. 1 pick in April’s draft, was modest and complementary of the Patriots’ secondary.

“I think they do a great job of mixing up coverages and disguising coverages so it’s hard to get a beat on what they’re doing,” Luck explained. “They’ve been banged up here and there but they’ve done a great job of getting the job done.”

New England’s pass defense nearly blew last week’s 37-31 win over the Buffalo Bills. But the Patriots could have an upgrade on the way.

New cornerback Aqib Talib expects to make his debut Sunday in some capacity. He was acquired in a trade from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has the talent to eventually become a starter

The sooner the better for New England’s porous secondary, which lacks playmakers.

“We’re just trying to catch him up,” Belichick said. “He’s been in here every day. Three days in a row and he’s been in here early, working hard, trying to get caught up. We will see how it goes.”