Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne said Thursday that the secondary he will match up against Sunday night is the Patriots’ best unit he will have faced in his 14 seasons in Indy.
And he faced the Patriots when Ty Law and Rodney Harrison were roaming the secondary.
Wayne said the intense coverage and physical play of the secondary allows the Patriots to be a better defense as a whole, particularly up front.
“It allows them to do more things up front with their front seven guys that they had previously done in the past years,” Wayne said.
In last season’s AFC Divisional Game between the Colts and Patriots, Wayne did not play because he was out with a knee injury. While the Patriots had Aqib Talib, Alfonzo Dennard, Kyle Arrington and Logan Ryan as their main cornerbacks in 2013 (and were obviously without Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner), Wayne is looking back at that film to learn what he can about the defense.
“You can look at the game because [the Patriots] still have the same coaches,” Wayne said. “Now they can come in with a whole new game plan, but you want to look at that game and see what they did because if it pops up again, you know how to counterpunch off that.
“That’s something in our paths that we looked at. We know that a Coach [Bill] Belichick-coached team is not going to keep using the same thing, but at the same time you do want to look at the prior games to see what they did so you are ready for it.”
With Revis’ elite lockdown abilities and Browner’s size, physicality and intensity, the Patriots’ secondary has taken a new form.
“They are very talented,” Wayne said. “They are ball-hungry. They are definitely talented. It gives them a little bit to where they can be a little bit more of risk-takers with blitzes and things of that nature.”
In 2012, when Wayne was a free agent, the Patriots pursued him. But his heart remained in Indianapolis.
“No,” Wayne said when asked about if he was close to coming to New England that offseason. “I was Colts Nation all day. I’m blue and white -- that’s the only thing I can see.
“Everything worked out. I was able to come back here and finish out my career and I’m still running to that finish line each day, so we will go from there.”