FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots will see a lot of familiar faces Sunday afternoon at Nissan Stadium.
New England travels to Nashville to take on Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, Dion Lewis and the Tennessee Titans for a Week 10 matchup that’s sure to be a hard-fought game.
The Titans (4-4) lead the NFL in scoring defense despite Butler struggling with his technique all season. A lot of their success has come from first-year coach Mike Vrabel, who spent eight seasons under Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. On Wednesday, Belichick praised Vrabel for his stamina during practices while he was in New England, as well as his need to always want to be on the field.
“Players like Pat (Chung), Mike, Rodney (Harrison), they just never want to come off the field,” Belichick said. “They’re out there on defense they’re out there for every play and then when scout team is out there they want to go out there and take scout team plays, too. … Whatever it is, they just go out there and play football.
“All three of those players, great condition but never got tired … go run 50 yards and cover guys,” he added. “They’re not tapping out looking for somebody to come in for them. They run back to the huddle and they’re ready to go the next play, whatever it is.”
Belichick also said no matter who New England’s opponent was, Vrabel always was ready to contribute, especially on the scout team.
“That’s how Mike was, he loved to play on the scout team defense. He’d be there best pass rusher, he’d play middle linebacker … he’d play strong safety. (Troy) Polamalu, Ed Reed, (Dwight) Freeney, whoever we were playing, he would love to be those guys (in practice). Play against their offense then take all the snaps on defense … they bring a lot of good positive energy to the team … you can’t put a price on guys like that.”
Sunday marks the first time Belichick will coach against one of his former players, but his focus is on stopping the NFL’s best defense and securing a seventh straight victory.