Patriots

The Patriot Way? Yes, Titans coach Mike Vrabel thinks he knows WHERE it is

The Patriot Way? Yes, Titans coach Mike Vrabel thinks he knows WHERE it is

To say Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel is downplaying his ties to the Patriots as he prepares his team to travel to his old workplace and take on New England in a wild-card playoff game Saturday is an understatement.

When the former Pats linebacker was asked about what the franchise's oft-mentioned, but not-so-well defined philosophy of "The Patriot Way" and what it meant to him, he quipped:

"Isn’t that the street the movie theater is on? I don’t know. I didn’t come up with it, so I don’t know."

That would be 24 Patriot Place, coach. Home of the Showcase Cinema de Lux.

The comment is funny, but also somewhat a throwback to Vrabel grousing about revenue from the mall built near Gillette Stadium when he was part of the NFL Players Association executive committee negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with the owners - including the Patriots' Robert Kraft - back in 2008. 

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Earlier this week, Vrabel said, “I haven’t had a paycheck with a Patriots logo on it since 2008. So, no different than going and coaching against someone with the Texans or coaching against them last year. It’s a huge challenge to go up there and try to win.”

While not getting sentimental, Vrabel did have a glowing assessment of his old team.

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“They’re well-coached, a fundamentally sound football team, play with great technique, great effort,″ he said “They’re good tacklers on defense. The offensive line plays with great technique. There are very limited mistakes. It seems like all the players are in tune, they communicate well together. They’re good in critical situations.″

And of his former teammate still at quarterback for New England, Vrabel doesn't think Tom Brady has lost a lot at 42, two years younger than the Titans coach.

“I still see a lot of accuracy. I still see a lot of quick release, decisive throws,″ said Vrabel. “He’s been able to win a lot of football games, get the ball to a lot of different people to get everybody involved. He’s got an uncanny ability to find the guy that’s open, execute game plan plays.″


 

Raiders QB Derek Carr to face Patriots early in what could be bounce-back season

Raiders QB Derek Carr to face Patriots early in what could be bounce-back season

Editor’s note: In the coming weeks our Patriots insiders will be speaking with beat writers from around the NFL to get an outside view on what the future holds for the Patriots. Today’s team: The Las Vegas Raiders with Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area.

The Las Vegas Raiders reportedly were among the teams with some level of interest in signing Tom Brady in NFL free agency, but the Silver and Black ultimately decided to stick with Derek Carr as its starting quarterback.

Carr shouldn't be too comfortable, though.

Despite making the most of a tough situation in 2019 during which the Raiders lacked skill and depth at many offensive positions, Carr's job doesn't appear to be safe. For example, the Raiders signed veteran quarterback Marcus Mariota in free agency, and he has several seasons of starting experience.

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NBC Sports Bay Area's Raiders insider Scott Bair recently spoke to our Patriots insider Phil Perry, and one of the topics centered around Carr's future and if he can once again perform at the level of a top-tier quarterback.

"Actions speak louder than words, and (head coach) Jon Gruden and (general manager) Mike Mayock at the combine and all these different places, they say the right things -- Derek Carr is their guy," Bair said. "But then, they're constantly flirting with Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins, and they sign Marcus Mariota to a deal that could evolve into paying him starter money should he take over that job. Those actions don't say (Carr is their guy).

"I've seen every professional snap that Derek Carr has ever taken. I've seen every practice rep that I've been allowed to see, and I may be in the minority, but this is a guy I believe can be an upper-tier NFL quarterback. He can make every throw, and if you go back to 2016 when he had a loaded offensive line and lots of good skill players, he finished third in MVP voting despite the fact he broke his leg in Week 16. I know that's in there. Now, Raiders fans don't believe me, the national media doesn't believe me, but I think the stage is set for him to have a career year and find that 2016 form yet again, that most fans think is lost forever."

One defense Carr will go up against in 2020 is the New England Patriots.

The Raiders are scheduled to visit Gillette Stadium on Sept. 27 for a Week 3 matchup, and they currently are underdogs by almost a touchdown, according to oddsmakers. Bair thinks the matchup is closer than the betting lines would suggest.

"I would definitely hammer the Raiders pretty hard right there," Bair said. "I just think they're going to have a lot of explosive firepower, and when there's uncertainty at quarterback, (the more explosive team) seems to be a safer bet. Maybe you know better than I do exactly how (the Patriots') quarterback situation is shaping up, but if there are major questions marks there, I would go with the more established quarterback, the more established offense. Again, (the Raiders) are going to be able to score in bunches, and I think they're going to be pretty excited to come to Foxboro and finally get a win, even if Brady isn't there."

The Raiders and Patriots both face a bit of uncertainty at quarterback entering the 2020 season, and whichever coach is able to surround his young QB with the best system and the right talent will put his team in a strong position to reach the playoffs. The Patriots haven't missed the postseason since 2008, while the Raiders have made only one appearance since 2002.

If Brian Hoyer starts for Patriots in Week 1, that's absolutely crazy

If Brian Hoyer starts for Patriots in Week 1, that's absolutely crazy

Rob Ninkovich sounded drunkovich when he spoke of Brian Hoyer starting Week 1 for the Patriots.

Get that man a breathalyzer. Stat.

And if Nink turns out to be right, get Bill Belichick one too. 

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I have said this before — and I will say it again: I will not watch one down of Brian Hoyer under center for the Patriots.

And you shouldn’t either!

Don’t be a sucker. Really, you’re going to waste your time watching a guy who has started 25 games in 11 seasons in the NFL?

He may be a nice guy, good at carrying a clipboard and ridding Tom Brady of his insecurities, but he is a lousy quarterback. Patriot fans deserve better.

Going from Tom Brady to Brian Hoyer is cold turkey to the extreme. I can feel the cotton mouth, cold sweats and shakes coming on already. 

Does Bill Belichick expect you to accept Brian Hoyer as a starter? If he does, it should piss you off. 

If Hoyer does get the call you can still watch some of the game. I plan to. When the Patriots are on offense I will switch to the other game or Red Zone, and when I see on my phone that the Pats are back on defense, I will switch back over and watch Gilmore, Hightower and the McCourtys do their thing. 

That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.