Monday, January 6, 2014

Pats see Pagano's Baltimore roots in Colts' defense


Bill Belichick knows one when he sees one.

The New England Patriots coach has gone head-to-head with the Baltimore Ravens on a regular basis over the past near-two decades and is well aware of their distinct style on defense.

So when a former Ravens defensive assistant implements his system into a new team, Belichick notices.

Belichick will be up against another disciple of Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome's program Saturday when the Patriots host the Indianapolis Colts in the Divisional round of the playoffs.

"[Head coach] Chuck [Pagano] comes from the Baltimore tree, so I think you see the elements of the Baltimore system there with their mix of coverages and pressures," Belichick said Sunday, via

"They have a good balance of attacking the offense with their multiple coverages, multiple type blitzers - linebacker blitzes, secondary blitzes, zone coverages, man coverages, they mix it up and do a good job keeping the offense off balance. They don't just sit in one thing."

So in short, they're versatile.

The Colts' defense isn't dominant in any particular category, though it has succeeded at its most important role: keeping points off the board.

Indianapolis' 21 points given up per game this season ranked as the ninth fewest in the NFL.

The Patriots will also need to put a premium on protecting the football, as the Colts have forced the fourth-most fumbles (26) in 2013.

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