FOXBOROUGH — Perhaps owing to the time Colts interim coach Bruce Arians spent as the Steelers’ offensive coordinator, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday he saw the role of Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, still productive after 12 seasons in the league, as comparable to that of former Steelers wideout Hines Ward.
“They’ve moved him around a little in the past, but not much,” Belichick said of Wayne, the NFL’s leader in receiving yards since 2001 with 12,639. “He’s like Hines Ward. They motion him a lot, he’s blocking, cracking, lining up close to the formation. He’s in the slot. He’s been doing a lot of things that Hines Ward did in Pittsburgh. It’s interesting to see him in that role, but he’s always been good at whatever he’s done.”
Wayne, who made eight receptions for 96 yards in Indy’s 27-10 victory at Jacksonville last Thursday, ranks first in the NFL with 69 receptions this season and second with 931 receiving yards.
Asked if Wayne’s resurgence could be tied to the presence of rookie quarterback Andrew Luck, who has completed 208 of 362 passes for 2,631 yards and 10 touchdowns for a rating of 79.1, Belichick said, “I don’t see Reggie Wayne as being any different from the Reggie Wayne I saw in the past. He was good then and he’s good now.
“They had some issues last year with their quarterback and the passing game and all that, but I didn’t see any drop-off in Reggie Wayne as a football player. He’s always been pretty good, to me.”