Sunday the Patriots will be facing four former teammates when they kick off in Tennessee. Five counting head coach Mike Vrabel.
Along with former Patriots scout Jon Robinson, Tennessee certainly has some inside information. Although, a lot has changed in New England since then. Here are two players who were on the roster last year, that may or may not do some damage come Sunday.
Dion Lewis Is Still Dion Lewis
Dion Lewis played 3 seasons for New England (2015 through 2017) and his best year was in 2017. As a Titan Lewis has shared the backfield with Derrick Henry, but as of late Henry’s touches have fallen. Dion showed Patriots fans last year that he can be a three down back despite his size.
This year as a Titan Dion Lewis has mainly been more of a receiving threat, and through eight games has already passed his 2017 season in New England.
Last year as a Patriots Lewis had 32 receptions on 33 targets with 214 yards. Through eight games with the Titans he has 33 receptions on 37 targets for 259 yards. Brian Flores and Bill Belichick are going to have to take Lewis out of Sunday’s game, as he is their best offensive weapon. New England needs to make tackles and try to limit Lewis’s receptions.
Only a year has passed since Dion dawned the Patriots uniform, so it’s easy to remember that he can also be very dangerous running the ball. Through 8 weeks Lewis leads the NFL in percentage of runs with a broken tackle at 33.0%.
Dion Did You Have to Say That?
Lewis created some bulletin board material while talking about his old teammates. Saying “I don’t talk to nobody before the game,” “I don’t anticipate going out there pregame and hugging and all that.” “I’ll talk to them after the game, after we beat them.” I’m sure as usual the Patriots will use his words as motivation. Did Dion learn anything about teams verbally attacking the Patriots? Doesn’t look like it, and he will most likely be eating those words after the game.
Malcolm Butler Has Had This Game Circled For A Long Time
Malcolm Butler has had a horrible start to the 2018 season. Before I continue on I would like to say that Butler will always be a Patriots legend to me.
Butler left New England signing with the Titans for a whopping 5 year $61.25 Million contract, with $30 million guaranteed. Through 8 weeks Tennessee has drawn the short end of that deal as Butler is statistically the worst CB in the NFL. Here are some numbers that you know Bill must be smiling about, all of which are the worst in the NFL.
Through 8 games this season Butler has allowed 7 TD’s which is half of the entire team’s total. He’s also given up 618 yards on 39 receptions, both worst in the NFL.
Malcolm is playing for the number one defense in the league, yet he’s ranked as the worst CB. Against Dallas he gave up both TD’s in a win on Monday night. When asked about going up against NE he said “It’s just a game, I know I used to play for New England and all of that.” “I’m not over hyped, I’m not very pumped.” “It’s just another game” he says, but I have a sneaky feeling that Butler will be over hyped, and very pumped despite what he says before the game.
He’s a very emotional player, Tom knows this as we all do. So expect whoever our old friend Butler is covering to have a huge game. Head Coach Mike Vrabel said that he’s not ready to replace Butler yet and will continue to start him.
One thing is for sure, Malcolm Butler wants to have the game of his life against Bill Belichick, and personally I don’t blame him. Unfortunately for Butler he will be too amped up, trying to make plays and that is a recipe for disaster against Brady.
(SB49 #21) “Malcolm Go!” Should never be forgotten.