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Jerod Mayo, Deion Branch on M&M: Practice key to Patriots’ success

09.19.11 at 11:42 am ET
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Jerod Mayo

Linebacker Jerod Mayo and wide receiver Deion Branch joined the Mut & Merloni show live from Gillette Stadium on Monday, one day after the Patriots posted a 35-21 victory over the Chargers.

The game featured four turnovers created by the Patriots defense, plus a goal-line stand.

“When training camp started, we always said we’ve got to be tough on the goal line,” Mayo said. “I think it really paid off us yesterday — and the week before.”

Mayo said the defense benefits from practicing against the Patriots’ high-powered offense.

“Just going against our offense I think really helps us out,” Mayo said. “We’re still a young defense, and going against [Tom] Brady and Deion and those tight ends is good practice for us each and every day.”

Following are more highlights from the discussion. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Deion Branch

Branch on young tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski: “I enjoy watching those two young guys practice each and every day. What they’re doing in the game is what they do in practice. It’s amazing. [Hernandez] truly thinks he’s a receiver. … The guy has so much confidence, and it’s good. He’s still learning, he still has a lot to learn. But both of them, Gronkowski and, true enough, the younger brother, Dan [Gronkowski], is another great one. Hopefully, we can get the opportunity to start to get him a lot of exposure as well.”

Branch on the failed third-down pass from Brady in the end zone: “It’s just a little miscommunication. Stuff just happens so fast. We were on the 4-yard line, so everything is so condensed. It’s going to happen fast. That’s something that we can always go back and look at after the play. Once we think about it, hey, I probably should have slowed down. … Going into the game, we want to make every play. You can’t just make every play. San Diego’s got some great players, great coaches, they had a great scheme.”

Mayo on Vince Wilfork‘s interception return: “It doesn’t get any better than that. You saw that head cock back, you know that back got a little tight on him. I think Devin [McCourty] made a great play as far as chasing that guy down, even though he got the penalty. Vince had that head back. He didn’t feel that guy behind him, trying to pop the ball out. We don’t want that.”

Mayo on filming a cameo this summer for the upcoming Farrelly brothers movie: “I had a little role in ‘The Three Stooges.’ I’m not going to tell you [about it], because I’ll probably get sued. My role is that pivotal in the movie.”

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Deion Branch, Devin McCourty, Jerod Mayo
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