Jerod Mayo concerned about Jets running the ball, not their mouths
|01.11.11 at 6:17 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Jerod Mayo is smart enough to let the his head coach be concerned about what is said in the media this week between the two arch-rivals.
What he’s concerned about is trying to repeat the lesson learned from the now-epic Cleveland game when Peyton Hillis ran roughshod over the Pats for 184 yards on 29 carries in a 34-14 thumping of New England on the shores of Lake Erie.
The Patriots haven’t lost since and one of the biggest reasons is not letting their opponent shove the ball down their throats. This week, the Jets will again try to do what they couldn’t do on Dec. 6 at Gillette, use Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson to establish the ground before unleashing any type of aerial assault.
“To be honest, I think we learned the most from that game throughout the whole season,” Mayo said. “Cleveland came out and ran the ball effectively, so now we know what to expect from other teams that try and do the same things. So, hopefully we can get on top of them early and make them throw the ball.”
While LT and Greene combined for 111 yards on 23 carries, they didn’t reach the end zone and their longest gain was of 14 yards. Mayo is pretty confident that the Jets won’t be discouraged by shellacking at the hands of the Patriots a month ago and will try to stick to Rex Ryan’s philosophy of “Ground and Pound.”
“All across that offensive line is experience and those guys do an excellent job opening up holes for LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene,” Mayo said. “Those are two different running styles. LaDainian has obviously had an explosive year and Shonn Greene is a downhill pounder. We have to prepare that way.”
Not only are the Patriots 8-0 since then, they haven’t allowed a back to rush for triple-figures and have held the opponents to an average of 92 yards a game. Very impressive. Still, Mayo – who leads the team in tackles with 193 as the run-stopping middle linebacker – can’t point to one specific light that magically turned on.
“You know, I’m not sure,” Mayo said Tuesday. “Every time you have a young defense, you have to stay on top of everybody. That Cleveland game is still in my head, so I try to go out and work hard each and every week and make sure that everybody else does the same thing so we don’t have another repeat episode of that. But, these guys have really been stepping it up the last couple of weeks and hopefully it continues.”
How important is it to stop the running game in the playoffs? Remember last year against the Ravens in the first round? Mayo certainly does. Ray Rice took it to the house on an 83-yard gallop off left guard and the Ravens were off to the races in a 33-14 win that eliminated the Patriots.
“I think you have to experience your first one,” Mayo said. “My first one wasn’t too good against the Baltimore Ravens. The first play or something like that, they got an 80-yard touchdown. Hopefully it’s different this year and that’s the plan.”