Aside from playing each other nearly every year in the regular season or playoffs, the Patriots and Broncos have even more reason to feel familiar with each other these days.
Denver's head coach is Bill Belichickprotégé Josh McDaniels, who brought to his new job several former New England players. Will that be to Denver's advantage or New England's?
Consider that in Week 2 when the Pats faced the New York Jets, the Patriots completely overhauled their play-calling procedures to counter any information that former backup QB Kevin O'Connell, whom the Jets picked up a week earlier, might have given them.
"I think there are definitely changes you have to make," QB Tom Bradytold reporters Wednesday. "We made a bunch, even going into the Jets game this year with Kevin being over there. Obviously, with Josh, he knows it better than anybody. And we know them.
"I think in the end it comes down to how you execute, it really does. They may have information, we have information. When you're out there, what you see is what you see, and that's what you've got to react to no matter what they say in the meeting before the game."
"He's coming from here and I think they're pretty much doing the same thing he did when he was here," DL Mike Wrightadded about McDaniels. "Hopefully, that'll be an advantage for us, but, who knows … he's a smart guy. I'm sure he'll throw some new stuff at us."
This game, more so than any other we've seen recently, has the potential for the addition of many new wrinkles on both sides of the ball because of the intimate knowledge both squads have of one another. The team that adjust best to those changes will likely come out on top.
"It always come down to execution, being able to play well," WR Wes Welkerobserved. "That's what it's going to take against a good team like Denver."
"You take the information, you gather it from a lot of different sources, then, you've got to go out and you've got to make the plays," Brady continued. "All of those things can help you anticipate, and then, when you do see it, you really hit it. But in the end, if it's not what you thought it was, you still have to be able to react to it."
"I think it's an advantage for us, but it's definitely an advantage for them," said Wright. "It really comes down to who's going to play better that day."
Much is also made of the thin air in the Mile High City, and it's not uncommon for significant snow to fall in Colorado in the month of October. In fact, this weekend's forecast is calling for temps in the 30s and potential snow showers in Denver.
Welker said he's never had an issue with breathing in Denver's high altitude, although he does take it into consideration as part of his preparations. And as far as the cold weather …
"Oh man, that's warm for here. We'll be looking forward to it," he laughed.
Burgess out, Davis in
The Baltimore Ravens have signed their former linebacker, Prescott Burgess, from the Pats practice squad after trading him to New England two weeks ago. The compensation for that trade was reportedly a conditional seventh-round draft, so presumably, the Pats won't have to give that up now.
To fill Burgess' place on the eight-man practice squad, the Patriots signed Bruce Davis. The 6-3, 252-pound former UCLA Bruin was a third-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008. Davis played defensive end at UCLA, but was converted to outside linebacker in Pittsburgh's 3-4 defense.
"I could play inside, but whatever they ask me to do is what I'm going to do," Davis told reporters in the Pats locker room prior to practice.
"At this point, I'm just trying to learn my way around … I had to ask where the training room was," he added with a smile.
For the past month, Davis has been home after being released by the Steelers. Needless to say, he's thrilled to have an NFL job again.
"I was excited. It's one of the best franchises in the NFL," he added. "You know, I'm a football player. Sitting inthe house and having to watch games, knowing that there are teams out there working and I'm sitting at home is really tough … I'm glad to be here. It's definitely a great feeling."
Wednesday locker room/practice notes
RB Fred Taylor, who limped off the field in the second half of the Ravens game with what appeared to be a right ankle injury, was not at practice Wednesday. Neither was WR Randy Moss, who had been fighting a back injury in recent weeks. However, the injury report stated that Moss' absence was not injury-related.
Four players were awarded black, practice-player-of-the-week jerseys. For the second week in a row, LB Tully Banta-Cainand practice squad QB Isaiah Stanbackwere honored. Joining them were DB Bret Lockettand practice squad TE Robbie Agnone.
Despite on-and-off thunderstorms earlier in the day, the Patriots practiced outside in full pads on a somewhat soggy field. Davis wore number 49 at his first practice with his new team.
In preparation for this week's Legacy Game against Denver, the Patriots wore their throwback helmets at practice. They'll wear their white 1963 jerseys this Sunday, while the Broncos will sport their original AFL uniforms, which are brown and yellow, with numbers on the helmets and vertically striped socks.