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Patriots DE Rob Ninkovich on M&M: ‘We’ve got our work cut out for us’ vs. Andrew Luck, Colts

01.06.14 at 1:08 pm ET
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Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich checked in with Mut & Merloni on Monday to discuss the NFL playoffs. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

The Patriots will meet the Colts on Saturday night, after Andrew Luck led Indianapolis back from 28 points down to beat the Chiefs in an opening-round game. Luck showed an ability to gain yards with his feet as well as his arm.

“Luck obviously, his comeback there was pretty good. We’ve got our work cut out for us just to prepare well for those guys,” Ninkovich said. “He’s a good, big quarterback, he can get around the pocket there and scramble a little bit. But he’s definitely looking to throw the ball instead of run.”

Luck has taken huge strides in his second pro season.

“Especially at the quarterback position, confidence is huge. So I think this year he’s definitely more confident,” Ninkovich said. “He’s in control of everything, he’s making more checks this year, definitely controlling what’s going on on the field. With him being able to run around a little bit, he has more control of the offense and check things, check out of a certain look. If we’re showing him a certain thing he’s going to check to another play. I think that that just comes with more experience. This year he’s got the experience from his rookie year, he’s more confident, he’s making a lot of great throws. We have our work cut out for us.”

Some of the games over the weekend were played in frigid temperatures. If that’s the case Saturday night in Foxboro, Ninkovich still won’t wear long sleeves under his jersey.

“I’m never wearing sleeves,” Ninkovich said. “Once you get into the game you don’t really need them anyway. You’re warmed up from running around, and you’re focused on making plays, and you get off to the sideline they’ve got those jet engines on the sideline there shooting out hot air. You’re fine when you’re out there. Everybody gets too into the weather sometimes. It’s just go out there and play.”

Asked if he considers players who wear sleeves to be soft players, Ninkovich said: “I just feel like maybe you can get in their head a little bit easier.”

Professional wrestling legend Hulk Hogan released a video last week in which he paid tribute to Patriots tight end Matt Mulligan and said he was pulling for New England in the playoffs. Mulligan, a longtime fan of Hogan, drew Hogan’s attention because his wife had purchased a replica WWE championship belt as a tribute.

“It’s a pretty sweet belt,” said Ninkovich, who said he was a pro wrestling fan as a kid. “I saw the video. I thought it was pretty funny.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.

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