7-Things For The Titans: Part I.
By Tom Mahoney
1. Titans- Whew! This is going to be a tough one. The Titans are built in Vrabel’s image. Tough, smart, hypercompetitive, and a little crazy. It’s going to be an interesting game. They have a dominate defense. They win with the old school formula of a formidable O-line, Defense, and a powerful run game. They have won five of their last six games. However, they have been devastated by injuries. They have lost their best Offensive weapon that made their unstable Quarterback look legit. This will be a beat ‘em up and take names old school Battle Royal. May the toughest team win.
“They work well together. They've had a couple subs here and there where Lewan was out for a couple games. The right guard was out for a couple games, (Aaron) Brewer replaced him. Quessenberry missed a game. For the most part, they've been there, and they've been pretty consistent. Certainly, (Roger) Saffold has been a solid guy for them at left guard, Lewan at left tackle and (Ben) Jones at center. We played against four of the five last year, or two years ago? Whatever it was. They work well together,” BB said. “They're a good run-blocking line. [Geoff] Swaim does a good job at tight end. He's not an O-lineman, but he's sort of an O-lineman. They employ a fullback too, Carter (and) Blasingame. They get different combinations in the running game, and they're all pretty effective.”
Okay, the number one factor in this game is can Mac the Knife continue to play like a veteran QB. The 2nd biggest factor is Derrick Henry can’t play at all. He was on pace for a 2,000-yard season (1,091-yard and 10 TDs in eight games)! He was the most important non-QB on any Offense in the NFL. He’s gone for the season. This is a devastating injury for the Titans. It will destroy their season. Jeremy McNichols is the guy for the Titans this week, and everyone in Patriot’s land is happy.
“Team defense is important to be successful,” BB said. “Again, as I said many times before, you can't have one guy out there and stop somebody's offense in this league. It's just not realistic, so a combination of good team defense, run defense, which forces passing defense, pass rush, pass coverage, jamming the receivers, keeping the quarterback in the pocket, using your help and your leverage, all those things. They're all fundamental. They're all critical.”
Now, the Titans will still have maybe the most physically dominate O-line in this game, and Jeremy McNichols has started a few games. Now, McNichols is listed as questionable and it looks like 100-yard old Adrian Peterson is their starting RB. They also have two young RBs I never heard of before. If they can run successfully and have their Big-Uglies beat up on the Pats Defense? It is going to be a long day. That scenario is significantly less likely without their All-World Runningback.
“Ultimately, Devin's the one with the guy in the stat book, but the flip side of that is the receivers are covered, the quarterback holds the ball unless somebody gets a sack,” BB said. “Again, it's good team defense. That's really what it comes down to. The more we do that, the better the results we are going to have. If one guy breaks down, the other guys could be in good position, but if you don't cover a receiver or somebody lets the quarterback out of the pocket, whatever it is that breaks down. In addition to coaching mistakes that come up. If you get 10 good things and one bad one, it's still not a good play.”
The rest of the season is about all what the Offense can bring to Buffalo. The Pats will play the Bills in two of the next three weeks. Starting next week on Monday Night (or… huh… in two weeks?). Those games will be the season. They also have to win out. They can lose a game and still take the AFC East if they take both against the Bills. But that’s about it. It is all about the O-line for the Titans and everyone on the field knows. The Pats have to poke some holes in their O-line, and stop the run. They are not a passing team.
The Ever Efficient Mac “The Knife”-
Stunning, spectacular, and shocking. We are seeing something
right now that you don’t see every decade. The Pats
have found themselves an efficient rookie QB. But
I hate Rookie Quarterbacks. They’re stupid and they’re
not this one. He has been truly efficient this whole season.
An efficient Rookie QB is an oxymoron. They have scored on
47% of their drives so far this season. Jones’ efficiency
rating is at an
impossible rookie high of 89.6.
We are seeing things from him that I have never seen before
from a rookie QB.
“Mac Jones is playing good football right now. Over the five-game winning streak, Jones has completed 68.9 percent of his passes for 1,068 yards and seven touchdowns to two interceptions,” From TitansWire. “The Pats also have the league’s most efficient offense, with 47.4 percent of their drives resulting in a score. A big reason for that has been their starting field position which, on average, begins at their own 32.6-yard line, the best in the league.”
The Patriots are crushing the Vegas lines as the most underrated team in a decade or more. Now having a starting rookie QB is a natural disaster waiting to happen. Rookie QBs suck. Mac is playing better then 90% of QBs in the NFL lately. I had Jones going to the Pats a 15 in the Draft. He just seemed to read it right instantly, all season as a senior at Alabama. But even I didn’t except this: 70.2 Completion Percentage. 2,540-yards and 14 TDs. One of the most efficient QB in the NFL. And he got better again last week against the Falcons.
“I think just doing what we've been doing, but it's a new season after Thanksgiving, and everything is a fresh start,” Mac the Knife said. “So we got to go out there with a positive mindset, and the goal is to just go 1-0 each week. And this week that's the goal. And you can't focus on things in the past and things in the future. Just be where your feet are and just practice hard. Practice well. And then when you're in the game, you feel prepared.”
Again, this all comes down to winning the Division. With Buffalo falling and Mac the Knife getting better every game? The Pats look poised to steal the Division from the Bills. It will all be happening after Thanksgiving, which is my favorite Holiday (a celebration of food, football, and family;). And the real story of the Pats has been the Devastating Defense that destroys QBs, and takes the ball away from puny Offenses. So I’m saying there’s a chance. If Mac the Knife can continue to improve, and the Pats Defense continues to destroy every Offense every week? Who knows.
3. Titans Defense– The Pats O-line is going to have to step it up in this game. They have to keep their invaluable rookie QB on his feet. The Titans are going to be looking to crush his soul and send him to Tartarus. The Pats O-line has to not just physically match the Titans physicality, they have to kick their asses. The Pats have been going to a 6-man O-line in certain situations, which has been devastating to defenses. Running behind Trent Brown and Mike Onwenu has been devastating to defenses.
“We knew Trent was coming back and we were going to manage that situation, which we did, and Michael played right tackle. We knew we weren’t going to play Trent wire to wire, which we didn’t, and Mike was obviously going to be in there at right tackle. He was ready to go inside, as well,” Josh McDaniels said. “But he was going to play. We knew all six of (our OLs) were going to play. He also played some snaps at Tight End for us.”
The Pats have been taking a few pages out of the Titans playbook, and lined up with Onwenu at Tight End (or 6th OL;). This week we need more of that. So the O-line can pound the crap out of the passrushers. If the Pats want to turn the line of scrimmage into a back-alley battle, and not a freeway? Then they have to go to that Six-Man Line, and ground and pound and hurt all the Titans pretty passrushers. That has to be done this week more than anything else. They have the Vrabel tough Defense and passrushers that can devastate a QB, never mind a rookie QB. The uglier the Pat’s Big Uglies get? The more likely the Pats are to win. This game is all about the Pats O-line. They dominate. Pats win.
“Yeah. There are not a lot of 300-pound guys walking around the street: 300, 350, whatever they are. They're hard to find,” BB said about Onwenu and Trent Brown. “They're big-physical guys. No doubt about it. All the things you do offensively is to try and get an advantage on the defense. And if you can do that? Then you probably want to do it. If you can't? Then you probably want to find something else.”
Pats O-line took it up a notch last week. They have the right
formula. With a rookie QB? In order to win? You have to have
a dominate O-line that can not just slow down the rush, and
hurt the passrusher on passing downs. And have a dominate
O-line in the run game that can push DLs back and hurt the
pretty passrushers on run downs. This is what the Patriots
have been doing Offensively. But the addition of Brown and
Onwenu together at the end of the line has taken the Offense
to a new level that allows their rookie QB to exist in a winning
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