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Jerod Mayo knows ‘Dream Teams’ don’t always ‘pan out the way you think they would’

05.06.14 at 11:07 pm ET

FOXBORO — He may be only 28 but Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo has seen enough as an NFL player and fan of the sport to know that all the talent in the world doesn’t always translate into success.

The most recent and obvious example of this would be the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles that added the likes of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha to the back end of their secondary. Two shut down corners added to a secondary that already included Asante Samuel. Vince Young was so impressed in July Eagles camp after the lockout that he dubbed them the “Dream Team.”

What happened? They went 8-8. A year later, they allowed 33 touchdowns and intercepted just eight passes and finished 4-12. Clearly, the Patriots feel they’re a little better off than a team that had no zero team chemistry in the year that led to Andy Reid losing his job.

The Patriots this offseason have added the consensus best corner in the game over the last five years in Darrelle Revis and one of the most physical bump-and-run corners in Brandon Browner. But Mayo is a student of the game and its history. He knows well from the Eagles example since the Patriots beat them, 38-20, in November of the “Dream Team” season.

“Just as a player and as a fan of football, you kind of notice things like that, these “Dream Teams” that don’t pan out the way that you think they would,” Mayo said Tuesday. “A player would go into a different scheme and it just doesn’t fit right, it just doesn’t work out right. So, it’s all about taking it one day at a time, building a camaraderie, going out in training camp, going out there in 7-on-7, these workouts together and just getting on the same page.

“It’s always good when you can add talented football players and people who love the game. We really don’t know yet. We haven’t been out on the field and gelled together. Obviously, there have been talented teams that haven’t played well together. We’ll have to wait and see and take it one day at a time.”

Revis and Browner join a secondary that already includes Devin McCourty, Logan Ryan, Alfonzo Dennard and Duron Harmon. The defense presumably will be getting back Mayo, Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly from injuries and a more experienced tandem of Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower to go along with Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones. That’s a lot of talent.

One piece that won’t be returning is linebackers coach Pepper Johnson, who is off to Buffalo as their new defensive line coach.

“We haven’t had that many meetings,” Pep was a great coach but right now, we have our coaching staff all set. We have great coaches. These coaches have coached linebackers before so I’m sure it’ll be the same thing.

“I’m sure Coach Belichick and those guys, they evaluate all of us. All of us are evaluated on a daily basis. I’m not sure what he’s going to do. That’s a question for Coach Belichick.”

Here’s is more from Mayo on Tuesday:

  • On Jamie Collins: “Jamie is a great athlete. He does a lot of different things. He can cover, he can blitz, he can tackle. He’s a very versatile player who can do a lot of different things. Obviously, he’s out here working hard, trying to get better. At the end of the day, we’re a unit, we’re a linebacker unit. We don’t really talk about individual things. We’re trying to put the best linebacker unit we can on the field.”
  • What will he be doing during the NFL Draft?: “I always down for watching some football. My kids love football. We’ll enjoy it. It’ll be good.”
  • Does he have a mock draft?: “My mock draft? To be honest with you, I don’t even really pay attention. The guys that are going to be here, the guys that Coach Belichick and the Kraft family choose to select, when they get here, I’ll let you know how they are then.”
  • What does he remember about being drafted in 2008 out of Tennessee?: “I just remember being at home, my mom, my grandmother, uncles, my brothers, it was a great day. It was a blessing. We felt pretty good.”
  • How does he feel overall after surgery last season to repair his torn pectoral muscle?: “To be honest with you, I feel pretty good. I’m just taking it one day at a time. Obviously, we haven’t been on the field doing any contact drills. Walking around, I feel pretty good. They just tack it back down and then it’s all about strengthening the ligaments and the muscles around it.”Obviously, it’s a time when you just let your body rest and heal. It’s been a long time since I’ve been out of football so I kind of took a little bit of a break. But overall I’ve been taking it one day at a time and the training staff has done an excellent job getting me back ready to go.

    “It was very tough. Anytime you go through training camp and through those games, you build that camaraderie and that brotherhood. It’s tough watching guys go out there and play but at the same time, they did a good job. Right now, we’re going focus on this year and hopefully I can stay healthy and be out there with my guys.”

  • On his drive to get back after missing second half of last season: “I’m really not even focusing on last year. It’s all about this year, staying healthy and making sure everyone is on the same page and putting a good team out there and a good defense out there. Just taking it one day at a time. I don’t know how we’ll feel when we start going out there doing different things as far as a little bit of contact drills. Even though there’s no pads, you still can fall a certain way so I’m just going to take it one day at a time and see how it goes.”I’ve been running. I have a two-year-old and a three-year-old, doing a lot of sprinting.”
  • On his new perspective for the game: “They always say you’re closer to end than you are the beginning. That’s the mindset you have to have in football. I’ve always appreciated the game. I’ve always appreciated being around the guys in the locker room and when it’s taken away from you like that, it’s kind of tough but at the same time, the guys are very supportive. The coaches are very supportive. I’m just glad to be back right now. It was frustrating. Sometimes I had to watch the game by myself. Making [defensive] calls at home and things like that. It was frustrating but at the same, guys did a great job. Just sit there, say my prayers for the guys and see what happens.”A lot of my teammates were very supportive. I talked to a lot of guys, talked to a lot of coaches. I’ve been hurt before. It’s not like the first time I’ve been hurt. It was a long time [ago] but I feel like playing the game is like riding a bike, after a first couple of days of camp I think I’ll be OK.”
Read More: Brandon Browner, Darrelle Revis, Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots



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