Veteran pass rusher Trent Cole signed with the Indianapolis Colts earlier this offseason, and this week has been the first opportunity that he has had to work with his new teammates. And although he's new to the locker room, he's already picked up on the rules.
"No, you could just tell when I first got here you just don't use that word [Patriots] around here," Cole said on Wednesday during media availability. "From what I've seen that's happened, I see why there's a lot of hatred there. There's nothing wrong, nothing wrong with that. That's why we're here. That's why everybody's here in full participation for the offseason program to win all the ball games."
Of course, just a few sentences before Cole said the Colts don't use the word Patriots, he used the word Patriots (saying that the Colts are here to win games and "to especially beat the Patriots"). Really, Cole was just bringing some humor to the conversation, as the comments elicited a laugh from media members and from Cole.
But for Cole and the Colts, there's a seriousness that underlies all of the joking: the goal really is to beat the Patriots. The moves this offseason that the team has made have been with the goal of beating the Patriots in mind. The Colts have lost all four contests against the Patriots that they have played in this new era, and they haven't won since 2009 - in that 4th and 2 comeback while Peyton Manning was still under center for the Colts. A lot has changed since then, and the Colts are looking to change their losing streak against New England.
They have been dominated in the run game by the Patriots' offense in recent games and it was particularly embarrassing to be defeated in such an emphatic manner in the AFC Championship game, losing to the Patriots by a score of 45-7. The two teams will meet once again this fall, as the Patriots travel to Lucas Oil Stadium for a Sunday Night Football matchup in week six. There will be a heightened sense of importance for that game for the Colts, as they will be looking to finally get past that hurdle. The Colts have played 54 games with Andrew Luck at quarterback, and only one team has beaten them multiple times: the Patriots, who have done so in each of their four meetings.
The goal in 2015 will be to change that, and it's evident throughout the Colts locker room. Even the newcomers, such as Trent Cole, realize how important getting past that hurdle is.