Patriots vs. Titans Preview: Nashville Reunion With a 'Feisty Jitterbug' and a Rookie Head Coach Who 'Gets the Job Done'
Posted by: Gronkowski
Patriots Nation is heading to Nashville in full force this weekend for the showdown against the Tennessee Titans.
By the looks of the amount of faithful attending, New England fans may even outnumber that of the home team in the Music City.
The Pats and Titans last met in the AFC Divisional Round of the 2017 playoffs, which can only be politely described as uneven.
Brady is 6-1 against the Titans, with his only loss coming in 2002. The G.O.A.T. has thrown 1,561 yards, 12 touchdowns and the one interception against them, while completing 66 percent of his passes as he heads into his 300th game in the league.
Tom Brady tossed SIX touchdowns in the snow and the @Patriots matched the largest win margin in NFL history with a 59-0 victory over the Titans back in 2009. #FBF (via @nflthrowback)— NFL (@NFL) November 9, 2018
????: #NEvsTEN Sunday (1pm ET) on CBS pic.twitter.com/cf0EEwD6XN
Coming off an impressive 31-17 win against the Packers where the Pats made Aaron Rodgers look like a mere mortal in the presence of greatness, Brady isn’t taking his foot off the gas pedal with just one more game to go before the BYE week.
“We need to be kind of battle tested in these games. We’ve had a long run of practices. But, again, there have been a lot of people that have been in and out,” he told reporters. “So when everyone is together it’s fun to kind of watch us go and watch us practice and see the different mismatches that we can get and different guys making plays. I think it’s really fun. Great offensive football is about different guys making plays in the roles that they have.
“That’s part of where we are at is trying to build week to week on what we’re doing. I don’t think we’re a finished product. We’ll still keep working at it and part of it is going out every day with the pedal to the metal and just trying to do the best we can do.”
Titans safety Kevin Byard has vowed to “make Tom Brady look like Blake Bortles,” which, as cruel as it is to the poor Jaguars QB, ain’t ever gonna happen.
Byard also has Rob in his sights, saying he’s been working up to this meeting all summer: “Just thinking about the opportunity to go up against Gronk again, I’ve definitely been thinking about it all off-season.
“We all want a piece of Gronk. But in the end, it’s not just about Gronk. It’s about winning the game,” he continued according to NESN. “It’s about doing what we have to do to win the ballgame. If he plays, he plays. We’re going to try to do our best to stop him. But if he doesn’t, then we’ll lock everybody else up.”
We think that’s bordering in the obsessive, get over it buddy.
Sunday will also mark a reunion with former Pats cornerback/Super Bowl LIX savoir Malcolm Butler, running back Dion Lewis and longtime Pats linebacker-turned-Titans head coach Mike Vrabel. Two of these guys might be more excited to see Bill Belichick again than the other …
Vrabel has three Super Bowl rings to remind of him his time playing for the Hoodie before being traded to Kansas City in 2009.
The Belichick-Vrabel relationship has gone through every phase you can imagine, but now they’re in a good place according to the rookie head coach.
“We didn’t talk for a couple months, maybe a year,” Vrabel said, according to Boston.com. “Then we became friends, and I used him as a resource when I started my coaching career, and still talk to him a lot now. This week we’re competitors.”
Predictably, Belichick doesn’t have any romantic notions about a reunion with his former LB. “It will be the Patriots against the Titans. That’s what it will be,” he deadpanned.
Fortunately Brady was more vocal about his former brother in arms, calling Vrabel “a great person. He was a great teammate. I’m sure he’s brought those things to the locker room being really just a mentally and physically tough player. And I’m sure he wants his players to be the same. They’re playing hard. They have confidence as a team. They win in different ways.
“That’s kind of what he’s always been about, just getting the job done. He’s definitely been someone that was an underdog his entire career. But he was a great player and is doing a great job as a coach,” TB 12 added.
“That’s kind of what he’s always been about, just getting the job done."— New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 9, 2018
From a #Patriots teammate to the opposing coach, Brady talks Vrabel ahead of #NEvsTEN: https://t.co/uNFiBpUjb1 pic.twitter.com/PrGy6tBTkm
In fact, there are only three current players who shared a locker room with the then-No. 50: Brady, Stephen Gostkowski and Matt Slater.
As for Lewis, who’s now the lead RB for the Titans, Julian Edelman has fond memories of when he wore a Pats jersey and bore the nickname “Joystick.”
“He’s a fiery guy. Little jitterbug. He worked hard. He’s a baller. So, he meant a lot to me when he was here,” Edelman said, the Providence Journal reported.“He meant a lot to me when he was here. Now I hate him.”
Don’t worry, Jules is joking …
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