Monday, January 6, 2014

Belichick sees mix of Newton, Big Ben in elusive Luck


The New England Patriots have faced their fair share of elusive quarterbacks this season, most which posed a one-dimensional problem for the pass rush -- either extending plays in the pocket or tucking the ball in and making a run for it.

Against Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, however, the Pats defense will be dealing with a little bit of both.

While New England played well against Ben Roethlisberger, tallying five sacks in Week 9, the same can't be said for their performance against Cam Newton one week later, who ran for more than 60 yards and some key first downs.

Pats coach Bill Belichick told reporters Monday he saw Luck as somewhere in between the two Pro Bowl signal-callers in terms of style, leaving the defense to try to pick its poison in terms of quashing second-chance opportunities.

"He's certainly capable of making plays with his feet and gaining yardage but he's also very good at extending plays and sliding in the pocket or even getting out of the pocket and giving his receivers a chance to scramble and get open, uncover," Belichick said, via "He does all those things. He uses all those tools.

"He has multiple elements there to his game."

Luck's averaged around 25 yards per game on the ground and ran in four touchdowns. He's also largely avoided sacks, taking only 32 all season in fact, though he's taken the third most QB hits of any quarterback.

That's a promising stat for New England, showing that while Luck may be hard to take down, getting to him isn't impossible.

Pressuring and containing the sophomore QB will certainly be a tougher task with linebacker Brandon Spikes out of the picture, as the 26-year-old was designated to Injured Reserve Monday. Spikes was a force against the run when healthy, and he was the team's third-leading tackler this season.

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