Pats shed no tears for Manning-less Colts

November, 29, 2011
11/29/11
2:39
PM ET
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesPeyton Manning vs. the Patriots.
Is there a little part of Bill Belichick that's just a tiny bit sad that the Colts won't have Peyton Manning on the field Sunday at Gillette Stadium?

In a word, no.

"We have players that I wish were playing for us; other teams have players that I’m sure their teams wish were playing for them," said Belichick. "That’s football, you play with what you’ve got. The games are scheduled, you show up, and play them. We all take on that responsibility at the beginning of the season. You never know who is going to be there at what time on what week and all of us have to make adjustments throughout the course of the season. Every team in the league is going through that.

"There are plenty of guys that I wish we had out there on the field this Sunday that we won’t have. I’m sure the Colts feel the same way. I’m sure Philadelphia felt the same way. That’s the way it is every week."

That didn't stop Belichick and his assistants from killing the Colts with kindness. It was somewhat humorous, though that, while offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien raved about the defense, and Belichick and personnel director Nick Caserio offered verbal bouquets to quarterback Curtis Painter, the Colts were announcing that they had fired defensive coordinator Larry Coyer and benched Painter in favor of Dan Orlovsky amidst an 0-11 start.

Here's Belichick's take on the Colts from the start of his call: "I think there are certainly a lot of things that are familiar with this team: their schemes and a lot of the players that we saw from last year. Of course there are few new faces in there, too, some guys that we usually see a lot of that aren’t in there as much for injury reasons or they’re not on the team anymore. It’s still a very familiar scheme and they do a good job. They’re well coached. I think their coaching staff does a good job of creating the same problems that they always create offensively with their no huddle and their check-with-me program. They have a lot of hard guys to defend there, of course starting with [Reggie] Wayne, they do a good job each game of spreading the ball around, getting it to their receivers, their tight ends, the backs as well, changing the tempo on you.

"Defensively, of course, the ends, [Antoine] Bethea, I think their young linebackers have done a good job too. [Pat] Angerer has really come on and he’s done a real nice job for them. They’re an active, aggressive front that is quick and fast, very athletic -- different from what we’ve seen from some other teams that are bigger, stronger type guys. These guys have real good movement and the linebackers run well. Those are some of the things that we’ll have to be ready for.

"Of course, they have an outstanding field goal and clutch kicker. Those things we have to be ready for here this week. Turn the page from Philadelphia, we’re looking at an offense that’s dramatically different from the one we saw last week so that will be a challenge for us on the defensive side of the ball, and offensively dealing with the same kind of pass rush that we talked about last week -- not the same but similar. Zone team that mixes in a lot of man coverage, does a good job with their pre-snap disguises and things like that. We’ll have to continue to do a good job with that."

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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