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October 21, 2009
Grogan's Grade: Week 6: New England vs. Tennessee
BY: Steve Grogan

MB: What a difference a week makes, right Steve? Brady, obviously, having the performance of his career Sunday. We were talking about it earlier, and I was thinking how much of that was Brady being as good as Tom Brady gets and a team not giving him any pressure?

S.G.: Well, that's what I was going to say. Last week they were playing against a pretty good football team and this week they were playing agianst one of the worst football teams I've ever seen in the National Football League. I've played on a couple bad ones but it was never that bad. These guys didn't have a lot of talent in the secondary and looked like they just quit when the throws started falling, it was embarassing. At the same time, Brady, Welker, and Moss went out there and did what they had to do in a terrible conditions day. You have to give them a lot of credit for that.

MB: I'm torn, obviously it was great to watch but it was a little sad to watch the Titans go through what they went through but there was no pressure on Brady. Moss had ten feet all around him and so did Welker at times. The thing I came away with, not talking so much about Brady, was Lawrence Maroney. I know he needed it but you have to judge it the same way. After the touchdown he was [overly excited] and I was thinking, 'okay lets take it easy.' Did he have a great game, did he finally come out of his shell or was it the result of the defense he faced?

S.G.: Lawrence Maroney definitely played better than he had been playing, but at the same time Tennessee didn't tackle very well, and they weren't really forced from the line of scrimmage. So when he made a big run he was dancing a little bit at the line, which has been one of his problems, but he was able to dance yesterday because they weren't getting any penetration and he was hitting the hole and getting some nice gains. That will go a long way towards confidence building for him and they need him right now with Sammy Morris down. I don't know how bad he is, but Lawrence Maroney is going to have to step up big time.

MB: Also about an hour or two before game time it came out that Adalius Thomas was not playing, a healthy scratch, first time in a long time. Do you think that's a motivator?

S.G.: Yes, I think that Belichick has seen what the rest of us have seen in the paper that Adailius Thomas has 15 tackles and has not been a huge part of the defense when he should be, and Belichick said, "you have to wake up or hit the highway." That will be interesting to see how it plays out with him in the next few weeks.

MB: They asked him about during the press conference beforehand and he said, "we go with the players that are going to get the job done" which is a shot right there. Do you think he's on the trading block?

S.G.: It's possible, but I don't know anybody that would want him at the salary he's carrying and the productivity that he's provided, so it's going to be hard to move a guy like that.

MB: Last season we saw Arizona in the snow just kind of mail it in. Obviously Tennessee is a terrible team at this point, but do the weather conditions make it more likely that a team will quit?

S.G.: There is no question about that, especially a team that hasn't won a game all year. They're just thinking about getting on the plane to go hom, "no one told us we'd have to play in snow this early in the year". I'm sure once they looked out the locker room door and saw it was getting white - maybe they didn't even bring the right clothing, I don't know, but I'm sure they just wanted to get it over with and get the heck out of here.

MB: How often is it that, not just any guy, but a 40 year-old guy signs with a team in the middle of the week and plays on a Bill Belichick team that weekend? Do you think he would have played if the game was close?

S.G.: I think so, he was on the roster and as you said a minute ago Belichick goes with the players that give him the best chance to win so he must have felt that he could contribute something.

MB: And he did, with that fumble recovery!

S.G.: He did! It's amazing to me that a 40 year-old linebacker, with the wear and tear on the body like that can come back and do what he's doing. He's certainly an exception to the rule.

MB: It's hard to know what an organization like the Titans are going through. They were 10-0 at the start of last season, and now 0-6 this year. How about their coach [Jeff Fisher], is he in danger? Could he be on the chopping block? I would think that Monday the owner of the Titans would be thinking that they have to do something drastic and that's the only thing that comes to mind is we have to get rid of the coach?

S.G.: They will probably change quarterbacks. They have Vince Young down there and they're paying him a ton of money, although he looked worse than Kerry Collins when he did come in the game, that was just awful. I heard a report coming in that the owner's not going to make any major changes until the seasons over with, but if they continue to play like they're playing right now Jeff Fisher's in big trouble. Don't feel bad for Jeff Fisher though, he'll get a good job somewhere, he's a very good football coach.

MB: What happens when you have a coach as good as Fisher? We saw it last year in Denver with Mike Shanahan who is obviously a great coach with two Super Bowl rings. At some point do they just lose track of their team?

S.G.: It's hard to explain. Sometimes it's just the chemistry of the people they decide to keep on the team, sometimes you just get a little old and players don't perform as well as they had in the past. In their case they've lost both their starting cornerbacks and that puts a lot of pressure on a young defensive secondary to play week in and week out. There is never any one thing, but these guys don't forget how to coach and if you give them the right talent, they will win again.

MB: So what are Grogan's Grades for this week?

S.G.: I obviously gave the Offense an A. Brady had an unbelievable passing day considering the conditions. I thought they ran the ball pretty well too, which was nice to see. A game where you have 619 yards and 59 points doesn't come along very often, and they held the ball for 39 minutes. It's not easy to hold it that long when you are scoring so much on long plays.

I also gave the Defense an A. They held the Titans to an amazing -7 yards passing. When does that happen in the NFL? They also forced 5 turnovers, which was impressive. The only negative I could see was that they did give up 193 rushing yards. So there is some concern there, but overall a great day.

So overall I give them an A. I thought they played well all the way around. As I said the only negative I saw was the defense giving up 130 yards rushing to one of Titans runningbacks. I can't give them the plus because the team they played was horrible but they definitly deserve an A.


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