FOXBORO -- New England has dealt with some serious roster reshuffling this season.
But so has Indianapolis.
According to "Sports on Earth," the Colts have employed 36 different offensive players this season, which is more than any other team in the league. The 32 different players used on defense is only less than the number used by Dallas (42).
Indy has tried a different offensive lineup for every game of the regular season.
"I think it is a challenge in different phases, but it is a great opportunity for everybody to come in, and guys have made the most of their opportunity, whether it’s wide outs or linemen or whoever it may be," quarterback Andrew Luck said Tuesday. "I understand that it’s sort of the climate of the NFL and injuries are a terrible thing, but they do happen.
"We’ve been very fortunate, I think, to have great guys step up into those roles, whether it’s been for the whole season, or for a game, or for a quarter or whatever it may be. Everybody prepares like a starter and the next man up theme is a bit unfortunate, but it is real and it is part of the locker room."
Sounds familiar, doesn't it.
Luck and Brady have both played diplomat for their respective teams this season. Though it is true all NFL quarterbacks are spokesmen, this particular pair has had to handle question after question about roster changes and fighting through adversity.
It's been a learning experience for Luck. But as far as deferring praise goes, the second-year signal caller sounded like an old pro Tuesday.
"I figure it’s part of being a professional – making sure you do your job no matter the circumstances surrounding it. [Quarterbacks Coach] Clyde Christianson and [Offensive Coordinator] Pep Hamilton have done a great job of making sure we all go out there feeling comfortable and no one is going out there feeling out of their element or unable to handle the load that’s given to them. So, I think a lot of credit [goes] to Pep for making it all work."
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick also credited Hamilton's work this week, noting how Indy is a game plan offense that can change at will.
Whether that is strategy or a product of necessity (13 Colts have gone on injured reserve between September 3 and December 17) remains to be seen. Either way, the Colts won 12 regular season games and a postseason berth.
Luck has found it hard to complain.
"I think Pep has really done great job of giving us our best shot each week based on personnel and everything else. We go in feeling like we have a fighting chance to win each game if we can limit our mistakes. So, it’s been good."