INDIANAPOLIS -- Patriots fans are familiar with the mantra of opposing defenses hoping to disrupt Tom Brady and the Patriots' potent offense:
The key to slowing the Patriots is pressuring Brady, especially up the middle, and making him uncomfortable in the pocket.
The Ravens did it to some effect during the Patriots' 23-20 victory in the AFC Championship game last Sunday. Brady has vowed to play better in the Super Bowl than he did against the Ravens, when he had two interceptions and did not throw a touchdown pass.
“[Playing well] comes down to preparation, and obviously we’re out there playing with confidence,'' Brady said. ""We had a good week of practice, a couple of really good days of preparation, and trying to understand the strengths and weaknesses of this Giants defense. I think they’ve changed a little bit. They’re playing as well as anyone we’ve played all year.”
The Giants, with a deep and talented defensive line, will undoubtedly take the same aggressive approach in Super Bowl 46 next Sunday. After all, it worked for them in the Super Bowl four years ago.
So in that regard, the key for the Patriots could be the converse: The offensive line must keep Brady protected long enough to make his throws when he wants to make them.
At his press conference Sunday night, Brady spoke of his confidence in the men charged with protecting him.
"I certainly have a lot of trust in my offensive line," Brady said. "Those guys are a great group of players who have played together for a while. Matt Light, my left tackle, there is nobody I’d rather have at left tackle more than him."
Guard Logan Mankins, who was one of six Patriots made available to the media tonight, made it clear the line is taking their assignment seriously.
"We're not here to go out and drink at the bar all night," Mankins said. "We are here to get rest, practice and get ready for the game. We're not here to do appearances and make a couple extra thousand bucks. We are here to win. I think our guys understand that."