The Patriots and Titans will square off in Nashville on Sunday with plenty of familiar faces on the home sideline. Mike Vrabel is Tennessee’s ne coach, hired by general manager Jon Robinson, who was a member of the Patriots personnel department for several years before leaving to run the Titans operation.
On the field, Logan Ryan, Malcolm Butler and Dion Lewis have all been big parts of the team during the first half of the season. So, there will be plenty of familiarity between the teams.
Matthew Slater, the Patriots well-respected special teams captain, told the Boston Herald he always felt Vrabel would be a coach one day. The Providence Journal has the defense preparing to go against “jitterbug” Lewis. NBC Sports Boston has Butler saying there is no bad blood between him and the Patriots.
The Boston Globe says Jason McCourty, who spent most of his career playing in Tennessee, knows what to expect from the Titans. Speaking of the Titans, they are a team worthy of respect, even if they don’t wind up beating the Patriots.
As seems to be the case most seasons, the Patriots feel like their making strides on defense as the year goes on.
The Patriots got a lift at practice this week when running back Rex Burkhead returned after being on injured reserve. He could be activated was early as Dec. 2. The Patriots sweetened the contract of Obi Melifonwu in order to ensure they got the free agent safety.
The Boston Herald says Trey Flowers is a budding star on the Patriots defensive line. Josh Gordon is happy to be off the injury list for the first time since arriving. On the flip side, tackle Trent Brown missed his second straight day of practice while battling an illness.
The Boston Sports Journal wonders if the Patriots reliance on deception against the Packers is just par for the course for cause for concern. BSJ also credits the work of James Develin to create space for Cordarrelle Patterson in the running game. Speaking of potential concerns, MassLive.com wonders if the recent red zone struggles could lead to an upset in Tennessee.