FOXBORO, Mass. — Thursday night’s matchup between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts will serve as a Super Bowl LII rematch of sorts.
Frank Reich, the Colts head coach, was Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator in the Eagles’ 41-33 Super Bowl win over the Patriots. So, does Patriots head coach Bill Belichick see similarities between the Colts’ 2018 offense and the Eagles’ championship offense?
“Sure; yeah,” Belichick said in a conference call Tuesday. “They’re both west-coast based offenses. Yeah, sure. There’s a lot of carryover.”
The Patriots already went over that ugly Super Bowl LII tape during the preseason, however, so there might not be much more to glean now.
“Yeah, well we’ve seen that game” Belichick said. “We looked at that game pretty closely before the Philadelphia preseason game this year. There were obviously things that came up in that game that we knew we were going to have to deal with as a carryover into this year. I’d say we’ve already pretty much been down that road. How much they do or don’t do — I don’t know. There’s certainly a lot of similarities in the basic offensive systems.”
Reich also isn’t leaning on that game too heavily as he prepares for the 2018 Patriots on a short week.
“It’s been a little bit helpful, but I’d say a very small part of the equation,” Reich said in a conference call Tuesday.
Why is that?
“We’re different teams,” Reich said. “It’s different players. You’re always trying to accentuate what your team and what your players do best. It’s just continual evolution of an offense, of what you’re doing week to week. I think those are the biggest reasons.”
The Patriots’ defense was porous in Super Bowl LII, played well Week 1, struggled again Weeks 2 and 3 and were dominant in their Week 4 win over the Miami Dolphins.
Reich credited the Patriots’ ability to pressure Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill for their turnaround. New England will hope to do the same Thursday night against Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.