FOXBOROUGH - Coach Bill Belichick, who again sidestepped questions yesterday about the health of quarterback Tom Brady, was asked to compare Giants quarterback Eli Manning with his brother, Peyton, who guided the Colts to a Super Bowl triumph last year.
"They're in different systems, so that's a big difference right there," Belichick said. "But Eli, he's done a good job for them. He's got some mobility in the pocket, he's able to avoid the rush, he's an accurate passer . . . The way he threw the ball last week [in a 23-20 overtime victory in the NFC Championship game at Green Bay] was exceptional, given the [subzero] conditions and the tight coverage that Green Bay had on him.
"There wasn't much space to get some of those passes in there and he threw the ball very accurately, both on the intermediate and down-the-field routes, and the receivers made some good catches. I think he brings a lot to the position."
Hill is missedSafety Rodney Harrison spoke about the memory of teammate Marquise Hill and how his presence is still felt in the locker room. Harrison pointed to the decals of Hill's No. 91 affixed to the helmet of every Patriot and said they serve as constant reminders of the defensive lineman who was killed in a Jet Ski accident last summer. When told that when Hill's number, transposed, represented the number of wins the Patriots would achieve for the season if they prevail in Super Bowl XLII at Glendale, Ariz., Feb. 3, Harrison arched an eyebrow and replied, "I never really thought of it that way until you just brought it up." . . . The Patriots practiced inside the Dana-Farber Field House in full pads for the second day in a row. Brady (ankle) and offensive tackle Ryan O'Callaghan (illness) were not present for the media-access portion, which included stretching and positional drills. After he was not spotted for Thursday's practice, Harrison was present for the media-access portion . . . The Giants evidently have been bitten by the Big Blue Bug. Fullback Madison Hedgecock, defensive tackle Manny Wright, and safety Mike Johnson missed practice in East Rutherford, N.J. "They all have whatever is going around, high temperatures and that kind of thing," coach Tom Coughlin said . . . Coughlin intends to install 80 percent of his game plan by the end of today's practice, rest his team tomorrow, and fly to Phoenix Monday.
Mike Reiss of the Globe staff contributed to this report.