If you remember, there was an episode of America's Game chronicling one of the Patriots championships during which then-Patriot backup Damon Huard was credited for preparing the team to play Manning. There were even shots in there of Huard gesturing like Manning does.
So if Hoyer's done that good a job, what's left to surprise at the Luke? The pace of the game, that's what.
A couple of the rookies told me earlier in the week that it's the one part they can't prepare for as much, and will have to adjust to on the fly. Belichick affirmed that this afternoon.
"Especially because they change the pace, because they have the ability to play fast, they have the ability to play at a moderate rate, and sometimes they even slow it down, and go to the line and make a bunch of calls, and snap the ball with one or two seconds left on the 40-second clock, and wait and get their look," the coach said. "That’s a problem for the defense, because if you go and show it early, then he sees it early and can change.
"But if you’re not ready to play when they get over the ball, then they can snap it right away and then you’re out of position. They put some stress on you as far as disguises, and showing them what you’re gonna do. And if they don’t like it, they go to something they prefer against that particular look."
And there's the complexity of facing the Colts. The playbook they'll throw at you is not ridiculous. It's the way that Manning can play puppetmaster with a defense that is.