The New England Patriots will face plenty of familiar faces when the they play the Tennessee Titans later today. But while a lot of the focus has been placed on Mike Vrabel, Malcolm Butler and others ahead of the contest, the other players on the Titans’ roster cannot be ignored either as Patriots head coach Bill Belichick illustrates in the latest episode of the Belestrator:
"He's one of the best defensive tackles in the league."— New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 11, 2018
Jurrell Casey a threat on the pass rush & more from BB on the Belestrator. pic.twitter.com/O95kRp1kn0
Belichick and quarterback-turned-broadcaster Scott Zolak start the breakdown of the Titans by taking a look at wide receiver Corey Davis and his role in the team’ play-action game. “This guy is an excellent receiver — big, fast,” Belichick says about the former first-round draft pick. “We’re going to have to do a good job in the running game but if you get up there too fast, they just toss it over your head.”
The player doing the tossing is quarterback Marcus Mariota. Belichick calls him a “very athletic quarterback, similar to some of the other players we have seen this year at the position” before focusing on his abilities as a ball carrier. “They run him on some keep plays, but also on the passing plays if the pass rush lanes aren’t there,” Belichick says. “He’s a running back, he’s not looking to slide.”
“He’s a problem not only throwing the ball but also running it,” New England’s head coach notes about the four-year veteran, who is third on the Titans with 41 carries for 217 yards and a pair of touchdowns. But while Mariota is a highly athletic quarterback, the title of “best player on the Titans” arguably goes to defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, who Belichick and Zolak also analyze in the breakdown.
“He’s playing great football for them,” Belichick says about the former third-round draft pick who is second on the team with 3.5 sacks and plays around three-fourths of Tennessee’s defensive snaps. “He’s very hard to block: he’s strong, he’s explosive, and he’s very quick.” After looking at a play of him stopping Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy behind the line of scrimmage, Belichick and Zolak analyze Casey as a pass rusher.
The conclusion of the two plays is a simple one: “Casey, he’s one of the best defensive tackles in the league,” Belichick says. “He’s a hard guy to handle.”