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Five takeaways from Tuesday’s conference calls with Bill Belichick, Bill O’Brien and Nick Caserio

11.29.11 at 4:50 pm ET
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Dan Orlovsky will be taking the snaps at quarterback for the Colts on Sunday in place of Peyton Manning. (AP)

Five takeaways from the Tuesday afternoon conference calls with Patriots coach Bill Belichick, offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and director of player personnel Nick Caserio:

1. Belichick is understandably sympathetic to a Colts’ team that’s gone with quarterback Peyton Manning, but at the same time, don’t expect him to shed any tears over the fact that Manning won’t be playing on Sunday: “We see that every week. It changes. We have players that I wish were playing for us; other teams have players that I’m sure their teams wish were playing for them. That’s football; you play with what you’ve got. The games are scheduled; you show up and play them. We all take on that responsibility at the beginning of the season. You never know who is going to be there at what time on what week and all of us have to make adjustments throughout the course of the season. Every team in the league is going through that. There are plenty of guys that I wish we had out there on the field this Sunday that we won’t have. I’m sure the Colts feel the same way. I’m sure Philadelphia felt the same way. That’s the way it is every week.”

2. Belichick says that Colts’ defensive personnel is the same as it has been over the last few seasons. The biggest difference is that now, they’re playing from behind more often than not, and that’s been a lot to overcome: “Situationally, the third quarter, late in the third quarter, fourth quarter, there’s a huge difference between playing from ahead and playing from behind. They’ve won a lot of games when they’ve played from ahead. This year they haven’t won a lot of games because they’re playing from behind in the fourth quarter in a number of games. That certainly can affect statistics and the way that the game situationally gets played out in the last quarter. Some of their games, not all of them – they’ve had a lot of competitive games, too, I’m not saying that, but there have been some games where the score overrides some of the schemes.”

3. O’Brien was asked what he thought Deion Branch and Wes Welker did better on Sunday than they had the last couple of weeks. He responded by saying you need to look at all facets of their game if you want to judge them as football players: “One thing that you have to remember is, it’s really important to us here at the Patriots – it’s important to Bill [Belichick], it’s important to me, it’s important to our players – is that those guys contribute in a lot of different ways. If you just look at receptions as a mark of how they contribute, then that’s wrong. If you look at one of the first plays of the game, Deion goes in there on about an eight-yard gain by [BenJarvus Green-Ellis], Deion blocks the weak safety pretty well on the play. I think we all have to look at all the different ways that they contribute in a game and those two are two of the best at doing that.”

4. As for the idea of who fits in best as the No. 3 receiver, O’Brien said that role is filled on a week-to-week basis. “It’s something that we look at week-to-week and now we’re looking at it as it relates to Indianapolis. … It’s a week-to-week deal and this week it could be somebody different. It could be Taylor [Price], it could be [Chad Ochocinco], it could be Tiquan [Underwood], it could be somebody you’ve never heard of. That’s kind of the beauty of what we do. At some point in time, hopefully every one of those guys will contribute to what we’re trying to get done.”

5. Belichick has been battling a cold the last few days — he had to stop his Monday afternoon press conference because of a coughing fit. He was asked if he was going to be on the field for practice on Wednesday, and whether or not he might be on the injury report: “Yeah, I’ll be (at practice). I probably won’t even be on the report because I know I’ll be there. I guess if we had to list something to be compliant with less than 100 percent, then I’d be on the probable, but I’ll be there.”

Read More: BenJarvus Green Ellis, Bill Belichick, Bill O'Brien, Chad Ochocinco
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