1. Does Brady look timid in the pocket to you? I have only been able to watch one Pats game this season, the opener, and it looked to me like he wasn't stepping into his throws. Have you seen that to be the case? How would you assess his play so far?
I think Brady is suffering from a number of things. First, his mechanics appear to be off. He's simply not throwing the way he used to (overthrowing Moss a number of times). Second, timing with his receivers isn't all it's cracked up to be. Third, Brady and his receivers are simply not on the same page. Tom expects Welker to go one way and he's adjusting to coverage, heading off in another direction. Fourth, as you indicated, he's not stepping into his throws like we're used to. There's certainly a bit of timidness, a desire to protect his left leg, but I'm not really surprised at this. Many expected the return of the 2007 Brady and that's just unrealistic.
2. Do you think this team misses Josh McDaniels?
Yes. Josh, more than anything, was a very good quarterbacks coach (his role before taking over OC duties). He knows quarterbacks and he knows who to manage them. Case in point: I thought one of his best years was 2008 when Matt Cassel took over the QB reins. It wasn't a great year for the team (missed the playoffs), but without McDaniels the Patriots may have been much worse off.
3. What is the one match-up the Patriots have to win in order to win this game?
I think we have to stuff the Titans' run game. In particular, Chris Johnson can breakout at any moment and make a big play. I think the matchup to concentrate on is sealing up the edges and forcing Johnson inside where the Patriots' defensive line can bottle him up.
4. Talk about how good Jerod Mayo has been for this team.
Jerod Mayo has been huge for the Patriots. In his 2008 rookie season, he had to step up and become one of the main players in our front 7. He still struggles in pass coverage, but makes up for it by being all over the field. He's so well respected by the coaching staff that he wears the radio helmet.
I think the most important aspects of Jerod Mayo, however, are his insane work ethic (they had to kick him out of the weight and film rooms during off season) and the long term youth he adds to the defense. After losing so many veteran players, we were in dire straights for a leader and Mayo appears to be that guy.
5. Write the headline in Monday's Tennessean.
The Titans' Chris Johnson had a solid day in Foxborough, MA, but Kerry Collins was unable to find his receivers, barely cracking 200 yards passing. The Titans ultimately fell to a home field Patriots and a Tom Brady who decided to finally connect with his receivers for 300 yards and 4 TD passes. Patriots defeat Titans, 35-14.
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