<
>

Would Pats duplicate plan vs. Colts?

Pat Kirwan, the insightful analyst for Sirius NFL radio and NFL.com, goes into a bit more detail about how the Saints were successful in defending the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. Kirwan's thought is that the Saints' performance -- playing with three defensive linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs -- will be studied by other teams facing the Colts and could be implemented in 2010 and beyond.

The Patriots host the Colts in 2010, so can they realistically take anything from the Saints' performance?

In this case, my thought is that it would be limited.

The Patriots have adopted a similar plan against the Colts in recent years. In 2009, for example, they played mostly with a 4-2-5 package (with lighter defensive ends), which is a minor tweak to what the Saints adopted. The premise was still the same, however, by lightening the box against the run and giving yourself more flexibility on the back end of the defense against the pass.

In the end, the feeling here for the Patriots is that the next game against the Colts will be less about scheme, and more about getting better playmakers on the field (e.g. Jonathan Wilhite on Reggie Wayne is not a favorable matchup).

That's one reason why this offseason -- both from a player acquisition standpoint and with players on the roster improving -- is especially important to the team.