Patricia sees no issues with Manning's arm

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Patricia sees no issues with Manning's arm

All it took was one Broncos win for some to proclaim an "official" Peyton Manning comeback.

And it only took one loss for others to question the quarterback's arm strength.

The quarterback's answer to it all? "I am what I am. It is what it is."

Tuesday in New England, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia delved a little deeper into Manning's play. The Patriots will face Denver in Week 4, and as far as Patricia can see, the quarterback's most recent neck surgeries aren't affecting his throwing arm at all.

"I havent seen any issues with that whatsoever," Patricia said. "He looks like hes throwing the ball extremely well, extremely confident and getting it into some really tight locations and I just think its building every week. I think hes just doing a tremendous job out there."

Manning has completed 99 of 153 passes in four games with his new team. He's thrown for 1,162 yards and eight touchdowns to three interceptions. Opponents have sacked him eight times.

Both Patricia and head coach Bill Belichick said they see several threads of the Colts offense -- two tight ends, three receiver sets -- being woven into Denver's gameplan.

"Peyton is doing a good job of running things that theyre asking him to run and some of it happens to be real familiar with the stuff that he did previously," said Patricia.

"I think theres a good mix of the Denver offense and a lot of that has to do with Peyton Manning and the quarterback, but also like I said, the skill players really fit into a good role for him in what theyre trying to do both in the run game and throwing the ball too. But there are definitely some things there that look just like Peyton Manning."

Which can always be trouble.

Though New England's quarterback holds an 8-4 advantage in the all-time Tom Brady-Peyton Manning Bowl, Manning's team has won four of their last six meetings. Their last five clashes (including playoffs) were decided by seven points or fewer.

"Anytime youre trying to play Peyton Manning youre always trying to figure out what the best thing to do is and how to go up and challenge it and figure out how to beat him," Patricia explained. "Hes an extremely smart and intelligent football player. He has a good idea of what youre trying to do at all times which certainly makes it challenging."

Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

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Belichick: Patriots have caught up after starting offseason 'five weeks behind'

FOXBORO -- After starting the offseason "five weeks behind," as Bill Belichick put it, the Patriots have caught up. 

"I think we’re probably caught up to where we are now," he said before Thursday's OTA practice at Gillette Stadium. "I think it’s being behind in draft, free agency and that type of thing.

"I think at this point, we’re ready for OTAs. We’ll be ready for training camp. I think that part of it we’ll be on schedule on. It’s the catching up on all the spring projects, draft and free agency. It’s the initial part of it."

Belichick made headlines on the morning after winning his fifth Lombardi Trophy with the Patriots when he said, "As of today, and as great as today feels and as great as today is, in all honesty we're five weeks behind in the 2017 season to most teams in the league. Fortunately we have a great personnel staff

"Look, in a couple weeks we're going to be looking at the combine, obviously the draft, all-star games have already occurred, and in a month we're into free agency, not to mention all the internal Patriots players (whose) contracts are up and we're going to have to work with in some form or fashion like every team in the league does."

Leaning on evaluations of players that began in the build-up to previous drafts, Belichick and his staff opted to trade away some of this year's draft capital for veterans like Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy and Dwayne Allen. They also gave up their fifth-rounder to sign restricted free agent Mike Gillislee.

Before heading out to the team's third practice of the week -- the first week the Patriots were allowed to introduce helmets and run offense versus defense periods -- Belichick said that part of his focus will be spent on finding out how those players he picked up this offseason are progressing.

"Yeah, that’s definitely part of it," he said. "Seeing the new players, how they’re doing and also how they’re doing relevant to the rest of the other players that I’m a little more familiar with. Again, each year is a new year, so even though we’ve seen some of these guys multiple years, it’s still starting all over again, seeing where they are, how they’re progressing in their training and preparation for the season."