Patriots coaches are in the process of putting together a game-plan for Sunday's contest against the Colts, and as has been the case in recent years, the importance of blocking defensive ends Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Jerry Hughes and Co. is high on the list.
Bill Belichick explained Tuesday that his eyes were playing tricks on him as he studied the Colts.
"It’s kind of scary when you’re watching film and they’re all 90s, whatever it is, 93, 98, 92. Their jerseys are on real tight, sometimes you can’t get a clean look at the numbers, and when you’re my age, your eyesight isn’t that great anyway, and you kind of have to run the film back and say, ‘Which guy is that? Is that Hughes? Is that Mathis? Is that Hughes? Is that Freeney?’ It’s kind of scary when they’re all that good and they all look the same," Belichick said.
"It’s a very fast, athletic group and you certainly have to be aware of those guys. They can strip sack you and ruin the game on one play if you’re not careful."
In the past, the Patriots have devoted extra attention to the Colts' high-energy defensive ends, doubling them with tight ends and making sure running backs chip them before getting into their routes.
In December, when Freeney was a guest on ESPN's "Mike & Mike In the Morning" radio show, he pointed to the Patriots as the toughest team he faces on a regular basis.
"The Patriots do a great job at what they do from a scheme standpoint," Freeney said on the program. "Being able to scheme up, bringing a tight end sliding in protection. They've always been very tough, no matter who they have out there from a Matt Light to anyone else. So I would say the Patriots do a great job of protecting Tom [Brady]. I think they'd probably be one of the best as far as scheming and protecting their guy."