Source – The Tennessee Titans made the playoffs last season for the first time in nine years, and even won a road playoff game. But they fired coach Mike Mularkey anyway.
Simply getting to the postseason isn’t good enough anymore. They want to win division titles every year and compete for Super Bowls.
So they went out and bought themselves some championship pedigree. …
There is Mike Vrabel barking out orders; Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler swatting away passes; Dion Lewis spinning off defenders; Josh Kline starting at right guard; Dean Pees running the defense; and Jon Robinson calling the shots as general manager. …
Lewis was a fifth-round pick in 2011, and he spent the first seven years of his career trying to prove that he was worthy of an NFL spot, and that he deserved a big contract.
Now that he has gotten a big contract, he seems to have found a different motivation — proving the Patriots wrong.
They got three solid seasons out of Lewis but let him walk away in free agency. … “If they wanted me, they could’ve had me.
“But obviously, they didn’t want me, they didn’t think I was good enough to be there. I just had to move on and do what’s best for me.”
First of all, respect to Ben Trollin’, leaving New England in the middle of camp and with a preseason game against the Super Bowl champions tonight to visit the team with the highest number of recent former Patriots players hoping to find one who’ll talk bad about the team he covers. I’m convinced that John Henry has a raging inferiority complex towards the Patriots for drawing so much of the spotlight away from his own team. So when you work for his paper, you look for shots you can fire at the Pats, and Tennessee must have looked like a target rich environment for finding ammo.
Logan Ryan has nothing bad to say. He was drafted by Bill Belichick out of the University of Patriots Defensive Backs. That made him a two-time champion and a ton of money so everybody wins. Malcolm Butler passed on his 150,000th opportunity to talk about getting benched in the Super Bowl. Which only left Dion Lewis, who sounds a little hurt. Angry. And determined to show the Patriots they made a horrible mistake in not re-signing him, one they will live to regret.
And to that I say, good for Dion Lewis. Hey, whatever does it for you. Whatever motivates you. I was disappointed the Pats didn’t keep him too. Even in an offense where I think running backs are members of the Borg Collective who can generally be swapped out and replaced with minimal cost and effort, I thought he was special. The one who broke the mold. As I said in the playoffs, he led the NFL in total rushing over the second half of the season. He had the best catch percentage in the league. His yards after contact were as good as anyone we’ve seen here since Curtis Martin. He makes people miss and runs over them.
So it’s not Lewis; it’s them. They just don’t value that enough to pay for it. It’s a core philosophy that’s served them pretty well over the years. They once made a mistake buying into Corey Dillon and gave him an extension. But virtually no one other than 3rd down specialists like Kevin Faulk and James White ever see that coveted second contract. Stevan Ridley didn’t get one either, which is how Lewis ended up here after missing two whole seasons with injuries. It’s how Lewis made LeGarrette Blount became expendable after 2016. There’s always another Dion Lewis out there, whether it’s Sony Michel or whomever. And that guy who replaces Lewis will himself be replaced and cash in somewhere else while wondering why the team that made him great gave up on him.
So good for Lewis. I hope it gives him a chip on his shoulder the size of a garage door and he helps Vrabel win multiple playoff games and wins the MVP and leads the league in rushing until he’s 40. I loved him here. It’s not personal, just business. Even when Ben Volin and the Globe try to make it personal.