Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who will go down among the all-time great coaches, is also well-known for his dealings with the media. When he does give longer answers, however, he certainly knows what he is talking about, and with this being the week that the Patriots are on to Indianapolis, Belichick was asked about several of the Colts' skill players, and he's impressed.
Firstly, he's impressed with Reggie Wayne. "He's still really good at everything," Belichick said, per a transcript posted on the team's website. "[He's] obviously a real smart and experienced guy; knows how to set up routes, make all of his routes look the same, does a great job of releasing and then at the top of his routes being able to create separation at just the right time when the quarterback is ready to throw. He's been a key guy for them in critical situations and third down-type situations. I'm sure that there's a lot of confidence that he's going to be open and he usually is. Excellent hands; made a lot of tough catches. They move him around.
"He plays a decent amount in the slot, but also out on the perimeter where we saw him for so many years in their former offensive system. But he's probably a little more in the slot now with [Hakeem] Nicks and [T.Y.] Hilton outside. But they move all those guys around so finding him is a problem. He's still a very dangerous receiver, clutch player and a guy who really, when they need a play, they're not afraid to go to him and he'll deliver for them."
On the season, Reggie has 42 catches for 504 yards and 2 touchdowns, and while he's not the player he once was he still is a player opposing defenses need to account for and still can make plays. His role now seems to be as a reliable target for Andrew Luck and a guy who can move the chains. The team's number one receiver, T.Y. Hilton, is having a phenomenal season and we can't ignore him, but Reggie Wayne is a valuable target alongside Hilton.
Furthermore, Belichick talked about the Colts' use of their tight ends. We all know the threat that the Patriots' tight end, Rob Gronkowski, provides; but what about the tight ends the Colts have - namely Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener? "They've done a good job with those guys and they use [Jack] Doyle some too," Belichick said. "So, a lot of times they have three tight ends on the field. They have a good mixture of one tight end, two tight ends and three tight ends in their offense. Sometimes [it's] different combinations, so you can't always count on the same group of guys being out there. Both Fleener and Allen have been tough matchups in the passing game. Some of the same things we talked about. Again, there are times when they're out there together and then there are times when it's one or the other of them. But they both have done a good job of creating separation, making plays in the red area.
"I've been really impressed with Allen's blocking. I think he's one of the best blocking tight ends that we'll see. They definitely give you a lot of problems to go with their receivers and the quarterback and the running game with [Ahmad] Bradshaw and [Trent] Richardson so it will be a lot for us to deal with, a lot for us to handle. That's part of what makes them so good, is their players at that position, how they complement the other positions and the fact that they use all three of them. It's just more things for the defense to have to stop."
Is a lot of this coach speak? Heck yes it is. But still - when one of the NFL's best coaches (maybe ever) is talking up the Colts' skill players, you can be sure we're going to listen.