FOXBORO, Mass. — While Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has sold his point to the media that the Colts' record is meaningless come Sunday, his players have said they've got all the proof they need while watching Indy's tape.
Earlier this week, Colts center Jeff Saturday — maybe the team's most significant leader in the absence of quarterback Peyton Manning — said the veterans have told the younger players that they better not mail it in despite the Colts' winless record.
The point Saturday used was that each player was putting his résumé on tape with every play. If they weren't giving effort, personnel evaluators would certainly recognize it when it was time to dole out new contracts. That's a pretty good sales pitch on Saturday's behalf — don't try and you'll be searching for a new line of work.
Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker has been through similarly dire circumstances in the past, and he echoed the same reasons for why it's important to stay motivated. The 2004 Dolphins started 1-9 and finished 4-12. The next season, they started 3-7 before winning their final six games. In 2006, the Dolphins started 1-6 and finished 6-10.
Welker can empathize with the Colts' run of misery, but he sees them playing with respectable effort on film.
"I think it's the easiest time for teams to evaluate talent and seeing what guys are going to give effort in bad circumstances," Welker said. "As we've seen on film with the Colts, they haven't given in or anything like that. Their best players are playing hard and bringing it every single play. It's not an easy thing to do, but they're doing it."