FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Picked-up pieces from a busy Wednesday around the New England Patriots:
1. "Mental conditioning" seemed to be a big focus, with Bill Belichick attacking human nature with his players. It might be easy for some to think they should roll over the Colts based on their 42-20 win on Nov. 16, so Belichick, as he often does, came out strong in calling the Colts "the toughest team that we've played all year." We heard that from players, too. Then Belichick was quite hands-on at practice, getting in the faces of some players and attempting to strip the ball away from them (they had two fumbles against Ravens). Wednesday was a day in which Belichick cracked his whip -- both physically and mentally.
2. The Patriots practiced in full pads in the stadium, which further reinforced the theme of Belichick's approach.
3. Talked to one defender who said there was a widespread feeling they didn't play their best against the Ravens. They're approaching this week as a chance to correct that, which is another form of internal motivation.
4. Rookie Colts receiver Donte Moncrief is a name that kept coming up when the discussion was focused on differences between the Colts from Nov. 16 to now. The third-round pick out of Mississippi has come on strong, while veteran Reggie Wayne has seen his production drop, which could affect the way the Patriots approach matchups on Sunday. On Nov. 16, the Patriots had Darrelle Revis on Wayne and slot man Kyle Arrington on TY Hilton (with help often over the top), but things could be different this time around. Running back Boom Herron, and his effectiveness as a receiver on check-downs, was the other notable change that kept coming up.
5. Another change is safety LaRon Landry and how he's matching up against tight ends for the Colts. When the Patriots played the Colts on Nov. 16, Landry was just coming off suspension and wasn't as big a part of the mix (played just 8 defensive snaps).
6. Quarterback Tom Brady was poked in the right eye during Saturday's win and the eye was still red when he met with reporters on Wednesday. He said after the game that he was fine.
7. The weather is ever-changing in New England, and as Bill Belichick said this season, extended forecasts don't always hit the mark. But for a general range, there is a forecast that calls for temperatures in the 40s with precipitation. My sense is that disappointed some close to the Patriots, who were hoping for more extreme cold based on the advantage that provides the team. But if it's wet, that could also play into the Patriots' favor with their big running backs and power running, which has been successful against the Colts in the past.