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Bill Belichick really loves the work ethic of Jerod Mayo

08.19.11 at 1:04 am ET

You hear it all the time from coaches at every level. Work your tail off in practice and in the offseason, and the rewards will come.

Clearly, Bill Belichick believes that Jerod Mayo gets it.

In Thursday night’s 31-14 walkover against the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium, Mayo had about as dominating a game as a linebacker can have in the preseason. He racked up five tackles – three solo – two sacks, two passes defended and three hits on the quarterback. That’s called being a force.

It was also clear that Mayo, who began at the strong side (SAM) outside linebacker spot, took full advantage of the Patriots four-man front completely dismantling an overmatched Tampa Bay offensive line. Showing his versatility, he then moved back to his more customary inside (MIKE) linebacker position as the game moved on.

With Vince Wilfork and Kyle Love dominating the interior and Andre Carter getting it done on the opposite side, Mayo was able to take advantage of the gaps on the edge and up the middle, occasionally on the blitz and other times just on a great rush.

‘€œI’€™m not sure how many times he blitzed,” Belichick said afterward. “But Jerod’€™s a good player. He really does everything pretty well. There’€™s not a lot of weak points in his game. He’€™s worked hard on his blitzing, his man coverage, his tackling, his pass defense, his run defense. He works hard at everything. I’€™m happy for whatever success he has because he works as hard as anybody to earn it.’€

That’s not to say everything was perfect, despite holding the Bucs scoreless in the first half as the Patriots were nearly perfect again on third-down defense.

‘€œWe’€™ll take a look at it on film,” Belichick said. “We had trouble chasing these fast quarterbacks. So, it looked like we made a few plays.”

Mayo can’t do everything but he’s working toward it.

Read More: 2011 training camp, Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots, nfl



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