The Indianapolis Colts offense is the same with or without quarterback Peyton Manning. Well, I wouldn’t say that but New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has. In a pre-match news conference Belichick told media that the Patriots would tackle the Colts with similar strategies even if Manning was in the squad.
Manning has been missing the action since the preseason. Manning recovered from a neck injury to participate in the preseason where he picked up another injury as soon as he had recovered. Later, Manning was scheduled for surgery which confirmed that Manning would be out for the season.
In Manning’s absence, the Colts have failed to win a single game this season. The closest they came was against the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-20 in Week 3. With just 5 games left in the regular season, against; the Patriots, the Baltimore Ravens, the Tennessee Titans, the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars, few hope of them acquiring a win.
According to Belichick Manning’s presence in the squad would have brought little change, Belichick said, “It's identical. It's their offense. No huddle, they go at a fast pace. It's hard to substitute. You have to be ready to play defensively with whoever you have on the field; you have to be ready to play first, second and third down with them. You can't count on getting anybody in or getting anybody out. Or if you put a group in on third down and they convert, you can't count on getting another group back in on first down, so you have to be ready to play consecutive plays.”
Belichick further said, “[Curtis] Painter and [Dan] Orlovsky, both of them, whoever has been in there, they've both done a good job of changing plays, taking advantage of looks, they've hit some big plays, a couple of long passes against Tampa on audibles. They hit another one on Carolina last week. They do a lot of the same things; same thing in the running game. They've done a good job checking to runs against overloaded looks or light fronts and [Delone] Carter and [Joseph] Addai and [Donald] Brown rip off a lot of good runs in that off tackle, their zone play. They've done a good job matching that up, too. I don't see any change there at all, no.”
Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter have been trying to fill in Manning’s boots since his absence but they have had a hard time replicating his results. Belichick may reckon that Manning could have done little to save the Colts but at least he wouldn’t have led them to 0-11.