Patriots

Mike Vrabel thanks 'good friend' Tom Brady for motivating Titans on Instagram

Mike Vrabel thanks 'good friend' Tom Brady for motivating Titans on Instagram

Turns out Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were all bark and no bite.

The Tennessee Titans upset the Patriots 20-13 in the AFC Wild Card Round, shortly after Brady posted an Instagram video likening his team to "lions" who had to fend off the "hyenas" that were the Titans.

Tennessee used Brady's hype video as bulletin board material and trolled the Patriots QB after sending New England packing.

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Titans head coach Mike Vrabel happily continued that trolling in a recent interview with ESPN's Diana Russini.

"I used to call (my players) street rats," Vrabel said. "And then I woke up before the playoff game against the Patriots and Tom, my good friend Tom Brady, put out a really cool -- Instagram, Facebook, whatever he’s on -- post of him being this lion or something and then these hyenas.

"And I’m like, 'You know what? That’s a great compliment.' Because that’s what we want to be. We want to be hyenas. We want to be street rats that live in the jungle that hunt in packs, as a team."

Vrabel, a former Patriots linebacker, spent eight seasons as Brady's teammate in New England and isn't above trading jabs with the 42-year-old QB.

But Vrabel's latest zinger likely cuts deep for Brady, who is set to enter free agency and has extra time to ponder his future after Tennessee's upset.

The "hyenas," meanwhile, are still on the prowl: The Titans face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in the AFC Championship Game.

Report: Ex-Patriots WR Danny Amendola to re-sign with Lions

Report: Ex-Patriots WR Danny Amendola to re-sign with Lions

Scratch that Danny Amendola-Patriots reunion.

Peter Schrager of the NFL Network reports the free-agent wide receiver is re-signing with the Detroit Lions, where he spent last season and had 62 catches for 678 yards. Former Pats defensive coordinator Matt Patricia will enter his third season as Lions coach in 2020. 

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The 34-year-old left the Patriots after five seasons to sign with the Miami Dolphins in 2018 and may have burned a bridge or two with Bill Belichick. 

It had been speculated that perhaps bringing in a former reliable Tom Brady receiver might be part of a plan to lure Brady back to New England, with a report in late January that Amendola could come along to wherever Brady lands in free agency, but a Brady-Amendola reunion in Detroit isn't happening, either. 

Next Pats Podcast: Will Patriots go mobile at QB if Tom Brady leaves?

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Next Pats Podcast: Will Patriots go mobile at QB if Tom Brady leaves?

There's one big question that New England Patriots are facing this offseason. Who is going to be their starting quarterback in 2020?

For the past 20 seasons, the team hasn't really had questions at the position. It has always been Tom Brady's job. But with the 42-year-old set to hit free agency, the Patriots can't necessarily count on him returning unless they want to pay him what he's worth.

So, now the question for the Patriots becomes, what will life look like if Brady departs?

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On the latest episode of The Next Pats Podcast, which returns for its first episode of the 2020 offseason, Phil Perry is here to explore that question. And really what it all boils down to is what the Patriots are looking for in a potential successor.

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As Perry notes, it's likely to be one of two types of quarterback: The traditional pocket passer or a more mobile athlete in the mold of some of the recent success stories at the position.

Do the Patriots look for the next Brady? Uber-accurate, somebody who's going to sit in the pocket and absolutely dissect every little aspect of the defense that he is looking at. Or, do they go a different route? Do they go with an athlete? Do they get more mobile? Because talking to people this offseason, I'm getting a whiff -- I'm getting a scent that people believe the pocket passer might be dead.

Perry is joined by guests including Pro Football Focus' Steve Palazzolo, Greg Cosell of ESPN and NFL Films, and NFL Network's Kurt Warner to answer questions about Brady's future and what his game has looked like in recent seasons.

For more thoughts about the Patriots offseason, check out the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast, available as part of the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network.