Take 2: Colts vs. Patriots

Updated: September 9, 2004, 11:32 AM ET
Scouts, Inc.
Our scouts take a second look at tonight's season-opening matchup between the Colts and Patriots. For their complete scouting report, check out the initial Insider breakdown.

Dwight Freeney
  • The Patriots have a creative and effective way to neutralize Dwight Freeney, the Colts' best and only legitimate pass rusher. They do not want LOT Matt Light to be left alone in blocking schemes, but they also do not want to keep a tight end or back in to max protect because it limits their ability to spread the field in the passing game.

    Instead, the Patriots have done a great job in the past (see last year's regular-season and AFC Championship games) of "chipping" Freeney with a receiver, tight end or back who is going out for a pass. The object is to get just enough contact to knock Freeney off stride and allow Light to get in better position off the edge, but for the skill player to still be a part of the passing equation as an underneath option for QB Tom Brady.

  • Patriots head coach Bill Belichick often employs a defensive philosophy that focuses on taking the opponent's best player out of the game, which in turn puts its complementary players in the uncomfortable position of having to win the game. Marvin Harrison is the logical target for Belichick this week. Look for some "bracket" coverage on Harrison with an emphasis on jamming him at the line of scrimmage and playing tight man-to-man behind it. Harrison is the type of receiver who will benefit from the new contact rules by defensive backs, so the Patriots cannot afford to let him get a clean release.