Colts coach Chuck Pagano was preparing for his team’s game in Denver while the Ravens and Patriots were playing on Saturday, but he was aware that the Patriots caused problems for the Ravens by lining up in a formation with running back Shane Vereen lining up with four offensive linemen as ineligible receivers.
While Ravens coach John Harbaugh complained about the “substitution trick” after the game, Pagano called the league to “cover all our bases” and make sure he was prepared if the Broncos decided to peel a page from Bill Belichick’s book. The league told him that all was legal and Pagano will have that in mind as he now turns his attention to stopping Belichick’s team in the AFC title game.
“They only had four linemen in on those plays, had three wideouts, two tight ends and a running back and a quarterback,” Pagano said, via ESPN.com. “It made it difficult for the defense to get lined up, especially if you’re in a man-to-man situation and you’re trying to figure out who is eligible, who’s not, who’s on the ball, who’s off the ball, all those types of things. You don’t have a lot of time. Officials aren’t going to slow the thing down and let you get lined up so to speak. We have to be prepared for everything obviously.”
Now that so much attention has been paid to it, the Colts may not see that alignment this week. They’ll have to take time away from other things to think about how to combat it, however, and that may wind up benefitting the Patriots as well.