Belichick Plans for Colts Rematch
By KEN CASTRO
In real estate, the rule of thumb is location, location, location. For Bill Belichick, the mantra goes something along the lines of preparation, preparation, preparation.
Such meticulous attention to details, ability admired by even his staunchest critics, will play out on Thursday night when the Patriots open the 2004 campaign against the Indianapolis Colts.
But for New England, a team with depth beyond compare, at least in the AFC, the subtle nuances that have taken shape in both camps over the summer have given Belichick pause for concern.
What will the Colts bring in way of surprises? "There are some things that sometimes you get surprised in a game, with something that a team does, and it is something fairly easy for you to handle," said Belichick on Sunday. " Maybe you haven't worked on it but 'Okay. Here is what we want to do about it'. And you adjust to it. There are other times that maybe you know what you want to do but you just haven't had enough work on it, and your team is not comfortable doing it. Then it looks like it is a big mess. It is chaos. So, it just depends on how it affects you and that is hard to predict. There are some times where you go into a game and say 'Boy, if they do these one or two things, it could really be a problem', assuming they can do them, not just put it on paper."
But even the defending champs cannot foresee every minute eventuality that might transpire in the opener. "I think you have to be careful about defending a lot of ghosts, trying to prepare for 7,000 plays," Belichick said. "They are only going to be able to run 60 or 70 out there, so they can't do everything. I think you better take care of the things that you feel sure that they are going to do, cover the things that could be a problem, that there is maybe some good reason to think that they would do. And then you are probably better off taking your chances on everything else or you would be spending a lot of time on things that they might do but will never happen, and it is just a waste of time."
Belichick has kept a wary eye on the Colts corners situation in leading up
to this game. "They changed their corners from last year," he said.
"[Nick] Harper was mainly their third corner who played the star. Even
though he played quite a bit of corner due to injury, he is now starting opposite
of [Donald] Strickland. Strickland played free safety for them last year for
most of the year when either [Idrees] Bashir or [Mike] Doss was injured, they
were kind of hurt at different times, but Strickland was kind of the constant
there. Now they've moved him back out to corner, looks like pretty much on a
full-time basis, and it's been Bashir and Doss at safety with [Cory] Bird and
[Anthony Floyd]. Last year we didn't play particularly well in the red area
on either side of the ball in either game, so that is a problem. And they did
a good job of shutting us down there. So, if we get down in the red area offensively,
we are going to need to find a way to finish the drives and get the ball in
the end zones."