FOXBORO - Devin McCourty sees a lot of the Patriots in the Indianapolis Colts - not the personnel as much as the mindset.
"I think it's their will, their will to win the game," the Patriots' safety said Wednesday as the two teams prepared to clash Saturday at Gillette Stadium (8:15 p.m.; Ch. 4, 12) in the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs.
"I feel like when we're engaged, I feel like we have that edge that when we get in the game that there's never going to be a point in the game that we feel like we're just down or out of it," McCourty said. "We always talk about defensively if our offense is on the field last or if we're on the field last, we feel like we're going to get the win. I think that's what's going to make this game tough because I truly believe they feel the same way. I think it's going to be a great game for four quarters. You're going to see two teams give it everything they have."
The Colts proved their mettle by rallying from a 28-point deficit to beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 45-44, in the wild-card round. In that game, Andrew Luck cemented his status as a potentially great quarterback.
"I think he just had an understanding of the defense when you watch," McCourty said. "He knew where he wanted to go with the ball, he knew how and when he wanted to get it. If they took away his first read, he just moved on to his second read and didn't try to make it all at once. He just took his time, went down the field, took what the defense gave him and really just played smart. I think it's what we talk about here they took it one play at a time."
The Patriots can't afford to overreact to Luck's arm strength or mobility.
"I think it's key we stay in coverage," he said. "Every time we play a quarterback that's mobile, especially a quarterback like him that's mobile that has a big arm, it's key to myself and other guys in the deep part of the field to stay deep because the receivers when he starts scrambling, they either go deep or they come back to him.
"We don't want everyone up there worried about the short routes or worried about them running and one of their guys gets behind us and that's just an easy play," he added. "He can just chuck the ball deep and that's a touchdown."
The Patriots issued their first participation report of the week, and the only player that missed practice Wednesday was wide receiver Aaron Dobson (foot). Nine Patriots were listed as limited: Kyle Arrington (groin), Alfonzo Dennard (knee, shoulder), Dane Fletcher (groin), Steve Gregory (thumb, knee), Logan Mankins (ankle), McCourty (concussion), Will Svitek (ankle), Kenbrell Thompkins (hip) and Shane Vereen (groin).
Danny Amendola (groin) and Tom Brady (shoulder) were listed as participating fully.
For the Colts, nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin (not injury related) and wide receiver Darius Heyward-Bey (hamstring) missed practice. Cornerback Khaled Holmes (calf) was limited, and linebacker Josh McNary and safety Laron Landry, both with concussions, participated fully.