New England Patriots defense recognizes Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning's audible skills

5:12 PM, Jan 15, 2014   |    comments
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Nov 24, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) reacts against the New England Patriots in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

KUSA - Listening to Peyton Manning change the play at the line of scrimmage can be mesmerizing, but the New England Patriots said Wednesday they can't fall into the Denver quarterback's trance.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Manning "maybe the best in the game" in drawing defense's offside with his cadence and hard counts. Manning does a lot of adjusting and hand-signals at the line of scrimmage.

But Belichick knows the Denver Broncos have a plan that they try to stay with it.

"I don't get the sense that they change every play. I think if they have play called and they get a bad look, they get to something better. That's what I think they do," Belichick said. "I don't see them run a lot of bad plays."

Belichick was without his quarterback, Tom Brady, at practice Wednesday. Brady was not at the early session and did not attended his scheduled news conference Wednesday morning. When asked, Belichick would not give a reason for Brady's absence, only to say "the injury report will be available later today."

The injury report later listed him with a "right shoulder/illness" injuries. His news conference was rescheduled for Friday.

Brady has not sustained any major injury this season and should be available for Sunday's game at Denver (1 p.m. kickoff).

That will keep the focus on the Manning-Brady matchup. And the Patriots' defense is well-aware of Manning's ways before he calls for the snap.

"As a defender we can't be out there saying 'We heard him scream this, so it must be this play,'" New England cornerback Devin McCourty said. "They have different plays off the same word, the same checks. For us, it will be sticking to what we have planned and what we're doing ... not trying to outsmart ourselves, guessing things and doing the wrong things."

Belichick said this season they recognized Manning and the Broncos have a core offense they've stuck with to get to NFL-record numbers.

"If you watch four or five games, you start to see some things repeat," Belichick said. "Over a broader look, they have their system, they have their variations, but they don't put in 20 new plays each week."

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