by Chris Warner, Patriots Daily Staff
October 16, 2009
New England looks for a win this week against the Tennessee Titans, one of the most disappointing teams of the young 2009 season. Picked by many to be an AFC South frontrunner, the Titans have stumbled to an 0-5 start.
This, of course, scares the bejeebus out of me. Some fears leading into Sunday:
Oiler Alert: Can the Pats get psyched for a winless, desperate opponent at home? Can New England play a solid all-around game in their AFL duds?
Pass Fail: Most frustrating about last week’s debacle was the near enshrinement of Broncos QB Kyle Orton, who figured out the Patriot defense as if it were a kids’ Jumble. Tennessee quarterback Kerry Collins hasn’t had a great season, but he has been effective in the short game. If cornerback Leigh Bodden has 11 tackles in this one, Foxboro fans could witness another slow, painful demise.
Wild We’re Young: With the Broncos’ effective use of the “Wild horses” spread offensive look, the Titans could use QB Vince Young to showcase their version.
White Shoos Johnson: Named after a former Oiler, this worry points to the running combo of bruiser LenDale White and speedster Chris Johnson. The defense can ask for nothing more from Vince Wilfork, who guarantees himself a bigger future payday every week. Ty Warren has also been stout, but can others (Mike Wright, Jarvis Green, Myron Pryor) hold down their end? Where’s rookie Ron Brace? Can any of these guys get to the opposing QB?
No, no. I know. Which reminds me:
Taking The Fifth (And A Third): “Less-Than-Dynamic Pass Rusher” (note I broke out the air quotes for that description) Derrick Burgess came to Gillette to pressure the quarterback. Five games in, he has exactly one more sack than I do, and I cost the Pats zero draft picks. Here’s hoping the decal on Tennessee’s helmets isn’t the only derrick of notice Sunday.
Titan, Teuton; Teuton, Titan: With tackle Matt Light injured, Sebastian Vollmer should get introduced as a starter. Look for the Titans to go after the German like Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man. Is it safe?
It’s A Long Way To Tip A Randy: One of my father’s favorite old Irish ballads reminds us that the Patriots passing game still has some distance to make up (as in, how much Tom Brady has overthrown Randy Moss). Brady has no completions over 36 yards this season. Without a consistent long ball, New England’s offense looks about as threatening as a Bing Crosby television special.
All of which ties nicely into our ultimate concern…
See The Sun Go Down On Galloway Bay: This song (another of my father’s favorites) comes as a formal request to solve the Joey Galloway problem (aka Mr. Inactive). Either he can help the offense – even as a decoy – or he can’t. If not, time to move on.
Email Chris Warner at firstname.lastname@example.org