Boy, Colts Week just isn't what it used to be, huh? Not with a winless, Peyton Manning-less Indy team coming to Foxborough and getting flexed out of the prime time game. Mercifully, the NFL decided to change kickoff to 1 p.m. this Sunday, rather than the original 8:20.
There'll be plenty of time to talk about the Colts in the coming days, but first … how was your Thanksgiving? The Patriots celebrated by feasting on eagle, not turkey. Thanks to yesterday's 38-20 drubbing of Philadelphia, players have been given a "Victory Monday" off, in addition to their normal Tuesday day of rest.
However, head coach Bill Belichick will still entertain a few final questions about the Eagles game this afternoon around 3:30 before we move on to Indianapolis. Tomorrow, I'll post the latest Ask PFW installment, and we have the usual round of conference calls with BB, offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien, and personnel man Nick Caserio. Andy and Paul will handle anything newsworthy that comes from those, in between filming this week's PFW TV (tune in Thursday night at 7:30 on Comcast SportsNet New England) and hosting "PFW in Progress" on patriots.com radio starting at noon.
By Wednesday, we're back in the normal routine. Practice and player interview access will take place Wednesday through Friday (check for updates here on the blog and on patriots.com), while Bill takes our questions on Wednesday and Friday.
Our afternoon radio programming (available for download as a podcast if you can't listen live) continues Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, as always.
Sunday morning, sleep in late if you want, but make sure you're up in time for the Pre-Game Social on the Patriots Facebook page. Andy and Paul will kick off game day starting at 10:45 a.m. Eastern.
It could be difficult for fans – maybe even the players – to pump themselves up the way they normally do for a Colts game this week. Avoiding that "trap game" mentality will be paramount, though, because New England can't afford to let up on the gas pedal right now. They're currently the second seed in the playoffs, behind only Houston, and need to keep pace with the Baltimores, Pittsburghs, Oaklands, and even the New York Jets of the AFC world.
But it's still only Monday, and you're probably taking your time easing back into work after a long, holiday weekend. So, take a little more time and check out my Eagles post-game analysis on patriots.com and our PFW Postcard from Philadelphia.
After that, start focusing on the Colts.
UPDATE … 4:14 p.m.
Just came back from an abbreviated Belichick press briefing. He began experiencing a coughing fit, took a few sips of water, and tried to continue, but it was clear he was having difficulty, so, the small media corps in attendance cut him some slack and cut the questions short.
When the topic of Taylor Price came up, he clammed up even more. It's clearly a touchy subject.
The most interesting answer involved the use of right guard Brian Waters in the silent-count snaps from the shotgun. You may have noticed (either before or after I tweeted about it during the game yesterday), that Waters has been responsible for tapping the leg of either Dan Connolly or Ryan Wendell to indicate when to snap the ball. Waters peeks back at Tom Brady, who gives him some sort of signal that he's ready for the ball, and Waters turns back toward the line while gesturing to his center.
Belichick explained that this is a procedure they've started using this year, particularly on the road, to help Connolly and Wendell (both reserves at the position) deal with crowd noise. In the past, the center — Connolly, Wendell, or regular starter Dan Koppen — would look over his shoulder or through his legs to make the determination when to snap the ball.
Just another tantalizing component the Patriots have added to their already-complex offense.