Tag Archives: Tennessee Titans

New England Patriots: Play The Subs…PLEASE!

Another goal was reached Sunday when the New England Patriots routed the terrible (3-11) Tennessee Titans 33-16 in their final regular season game at Gillette Stadium. The win brought the beat-up, battered bodies of the home team to 12-2, but, more importantly, Denver’s loss to Pittsburgh guaranteed them a first round bye. The Patriots have now earned that honor for an NFL-record six consecutive seasons.

Malcolm Butler had a big game, including this interception in the end zone in front of Harry Douglas (83) (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Malcolm Butler had a big game, including this interception in the end zone in front of Harry Douglas (83) (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

How’s This For The Most Dominant Team In This Decade

  • Second team to ever have at least 6 straight 12 win seasons
  • Most seasons earning a bye since 12 team playoff format since 1990
  • 5 sacks against Tennessee and at least one sack in every game in 2015
  • Bill Belichick is 55-11 (.833) in December with New England, the best record in December among head coaches with one team in NFL history (min. 25 games)
  • Tom Brady tied Peyton Manning for the NFL record with the most seasons with 35 TDs (4)

The Patriots wrap up the season with road games in NY against the Jets and Miami to take on the Dolphins. They need to win one of those two games to assure home field advantage up to the Super Bowl. How important is home field? Well, since 1996 the Patriots are 17-3 playing at home in the real games. ‘Nuf said?

So, Who Do You Rest & When?

With injuries piling up every week the question arises, at what point do you start resting some of the walking wounded? The answer seems simple, NOW.

We all know Tom Brady will grit it out until the end, but even with a rotation of healthy running backs (James White has really stepped up and who wasn’t impressed with Joey Iosefa, oh yeah, and now Steven Jackson), enough WRs to get by (Brandon LaFell, Keshawn Martin, Leonard Hankerson Chris Harper) and the World’s greatest tight end (no need to name him is there?) New England should be able to win one, if not both of their remaining games.

Let Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman get as healthy as possible. Keep them on the bench until the games really matter, 4 weeks from now.

The defense continues to shine, so sitting Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung shouldn’t matter. Yes, all 3 are critical players if the team is to play in Super Bowl 50, but right now they can be replaced in the short run.

Defense Shines Again

Akiem Hicks recovers the ball for a TD after it was stripped from Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Akiem Hicks recovers the ball for a TD after it was stripped from Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Despite an understandable let-up in the second half the defense once again dominated. The list of players impressing grows game-to-game. This week it was Akiem Hicks turn to step up with a strip-sack (Chandler Jones featured photo) fumble recovery for a TD, a sack of his own, 4 tackles and constant pressure up the middle.

  • Chandler Jones had a two-sack game, bringing his season total to 12 1/2
  • New England is tied for 1st with Denver in team sacks (47)
  • The Patriots are now in the Top 10 in all key defensive stats…Points (7th), Yards (6th), Passing (8th), Rushing (10th)

Next Game: 1PM Sunday vs the Jets

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NFL Recap: 5 Things We Learned from Week 1

NFL football season is underway with week one’s slate of games finishing up on Monday Night Football, and the viewers got a good chunk of entertainment, surprises, and sloppiness. With it all, NFL fans everywhere learned more about teams, players and possible season outlooks.

1. The New England Patriots came out with a vengeance.

The New England Patriots are winning, no new news there. But we’re going to be seeing the Patriots use a mantra we have not heard since Spygate, “It’s us versus the world.” Off the heals of Deflategate and Tom Brady’s suspension, we saw the Patriots play with such ferocity and intensity in their season opener versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even though the final score was 28-21, the game was very much dominated by the Patriots. Tom Brady went 25/32 for 288 yards and four touchdown passes. The narrative of the Patriots dominating their opponents could be commonly heard throughout the season, and the “us versus the world” mantra could very well give them even more motivation to make another Super Bowl run. Also, don’t mess with an angry Tom Brady.

2Marcus Mariota is the real deal

Marcus Mariota, the number two pick in the draft, impressed in his first career start. In fact, impressed was an understatement. Mariota was historic and near-perfect in his debut as the Tennessee Titans squandered the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 42-14. Mariota threw for 13/16 for 209 yards and four touchdown passes. What’s significant about the four touchdown passes is that they all came in the first half. The feat of a rookie throwing four touchdowns in his opener has not been done since Fran Tarkenton in 1965. With the impressive debut, it has essentially eliminated the talk of Mariota only being a system quarterback under Oregon’s fast-paced spread offense, and also eliminated the questions of Mariota possibly struggling to adjust to a pro-style offense.

3. Jameis Winston on the other hand, needs more improvement

Number one pick Jameis Winston, however, struggled and at times looked inept in his debut. His debut went south quickly when his first career past was intercepted and returned for a pick-six. Winston completed lest than 50% percent of his passes as he went 16/33 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns. But with those two touchdowns, Winston threw two interceptions. However, it is too early to be hitting the panic button on Jameis yet. Winston is playing behind a shaky offensive line, and was also missing key receiver Mike Evans. However, that is not an excuse for having trouble in finding rhythm with throwing to them. As the season progresses, hopefully he should improve.

4. Maybe Johnny Manziel does have a chance.

After a disastrous rookie season, many began to write off Johnny Manziel as a bust. After checking into rehab, and a successful off-season of growth, a spark of hope was ignited when the Cleveland Browns opened up the season in New York against the Jets. After starter Josh McCown got lit up and sent out of the game with a concussion, Johnny football stepped in. Immediately, he made an impact by throwing a 54 yard bomb for a touchdown. However, the positives would shy away as the Jets force an interception and a couple of fumbles from Manziel during a 31-10 rout. Manziel finished 13/24 for 182 yards and one touchdown and one interception. Though they may not seem like big stats, it is a vast improvement over his rookie season. If he does start week two in place of a concussed Josh McCown, expect him to put up bigger numbers and seize the opportunity. Johnny Manziel has changed, and has improved.

5. It’s going to be a season of chaos

The Buffalo Bills beat the Indianapolis Colts. The St. Louis Rams beat the Seattle Seahawks. Those results should not have happened. But yet the underdog came out on top. And it is only a sign of things to come. This NFL season is going to be a season of twists, turns, and most importantly chaos. Teams that we thought were juggernauts, will stumble and fall and get upset. Peyton Manning failed to throw a touchdown pass, Marshawn Lynch couldn’t run one yard to convert a first down, the San Francisco 49ers won despite being cast off due to the tumultuous off-season. Everyone better buckle up, because of what happened in week one, this season is going to be the year of chaos.

Winston vs. Mariota will be Decided by Offensive Schemes

Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston?

It’s a question with no clear answer but with plenty of division among NFL fans and experts alike. Instead of put it to rest, the lukewarm preseason debuts of both signal callers brought up the question once more. In reality, this quarterback debate skims the surface of an issue that’s been a part of the game for the past decade. It boils down to the pro-style versus the spread option offenses, and the effect both have on the quality of NFL quarterbacks.

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Let’s consider Oregon. Arguably no other team plays a tempo offense in a spread formation better than the Ducks. Quick passes and option reads, a running quarterback and lightning fast running backs, all working together to control the clock and confuse the defense. It becomes easy to see why many college programs have switched to this style of play and have found success with the spread option. Not only is it fun to watch, it sounds like the future of football. Compared to the sometimes slower and more methodical play of a pro-style team, it can look revolutionary.

That is, until it’s done in the NFL.

Read options don’t work in the league. Defensive linemen are fast enough to chase down a runningback or shadow and tackle a quarterback. A running quarterback can excel, but he has to be able to check down to a second or third receiver. Though it may have worked just fine in college, reading one receiver and scrambling to the edge won’t be effective (or safe) in the pros. Yet, teams have tried to build this kind of offense around their star QB, and without much success.

Look at Cleveland with Johnny Manziel or Carolina with Cam Newton. Both are incredible with the option and on their feet, but taking a five step drop and finding an open target? Not so much. The same could be said for RGIII in Washington. All three are exceptional athletes, but not great quarterbacks; they just can’t make the throws pocket passers like Brady, Rodgers, or Manning can. The only team who has had any success with this kind of offense is Chip Kelly’s Eagles. Even so, Kelly has yet to find the quarterback to run his offense, and with the roster looking the way it does now, he may still be looking in 2016. Without an electric playmaker behind center, Kelly will never recreate the Oregon offense the way he wants to.

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So if I’m forced to choose between the two former Heisman winners, I’m choosing Winston. Within the pro-style offense of Florida State, Jameis covered ground that Mariota has only recently begun to. Mainly, Winston has the throwing mechanics, footwork, and passing vision the Titans QB just doesn’t have. Pro style teams consistently produce better NFL quarterbacks than option type teams, it’s that simple. Both throwers have a lot to prove, and both will be making big plays this season. I have no doubt that Mariota can become a great player in this league, but I have doubts that it will be happening anytime this season.

NFL: Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota preseason debut breakdown

Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, quarterbacks taken first and second in the 2015 NFL Draft debuted for their respective teams in their preseason openers.

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Jameis Winston, drafted first overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had his debut on Aug. 15, and struggled in the game against the Minnesota Vikings.  Winston finished the day throwing 9-for-19 for 131 yards. He also threw an interception. Winston’s day was off to a bad start, as he kept missing receivers, usually overthrowing them, or throwing too high, like his interception.  He also got hit often and sacked twice. Jameis also fumbled a snap. Though there were many negatives, Jameis did show off his talent and why the Bucs chose him first. He led two scoring drives, one ending in a field goal, one ending with a touchdown. His touchdown drive was impressive, as on the nine-play 76 yard drive, he completed five straight passes. He then capped it off by running in a touchdown from eight yards out.

Though Winston had a shaky and troubling debut, there should not be anything to worry about. It was the first preseason game, and there’s three more to go. Even though Winston has lots of expectations, he is a rookie and will have speed bumps. He has the talent to be great, and should progress through the preseason.

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Marcus Mariota, drafted second overall by the Tennessee Titans, debuted on Aug 14. against the Atlanta Falcons. Overall, Mariota played great in his debut, even though he  struggled and got off to a bad start. His first two possessions ended in turnovers, one being an interception, and one being a fumble returned for a touchdown. When his first ever NFL play led to being sacked, Mariota threw an interception after he failed to see Falcons linebacker Justin Durant sprinting to make a play and stopping the screen. On the fumble, guard Chance Warmack blew the protection, letting Jonathan Babineaux strip the ball as Maritota stepped up to pass. However, after those two mishaps, it was smooth sailing as we saw Mariota show off his talent and accuracy we had been accustomed to seeing when he was an Oregon Duck.  Mariota led a scoring drive where he threw for four straight completions, and was capped off by a Dexter McCluster rushing touchdown. At the end of the night, Mariota finished seven-for-eight for 94 yards, with the interception being his lone incompletion.

Even with Mariota heading out of the gate struggling, he surged and finished strong. Marcus looked comfortable in Ken Whisenhunt’s offense, silencing some questions on whether he would be able to adjust to an pro-style offense. However, Mariota did seem more comfortable taking snaps from shotgun instead of under center.

Both Winston and Mariota had bad starts, but showed their toughness and mentality by being able to power through and finish strong. Though it is only one preseason game and that we should take this with a grain of salt, the future looks bright for the Buccaneers and Titans, and their franchise quarterbacks.