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Bill Belichick calls Jerod Mayo ‘one of the best’ team leaders he’s ever been around 07.25.14 at 9:45 am ET
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Bill Belichick spoke very highly of Jerod Mayo (51) on Friday. (AP)

Bill Belichick spoke very highly of Jerod Mayo (51) on Friday. (AP)

FOXBORO — Bill Belichick knows a team leader when he sees one. And in Jerod Mayo, he’s sees one of the best he’s ever been around in the NFL.

That’s saying something from a coach who has been in the presence of Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Carl Banks, Pepper Johnson, Rodney Harrison, Tedy Bruschi, Tom Brady and Junior Seau.

But on Friday, Mayo was put in that lofty group by Belichick when the Patriots coach was asked about what Mayo means to the Patriots, after missing half of last season with a torn pectoral muscle.

“Yeah, I think he means a lot to our team,” Belichick began. “I’d say he’s really the guy that the team probably revolves around more than any other player. Not that there aren’t other players instrumental in that. He pretty much touches everybody, not just the defensive players but all the guys, and not the just the older guys, the younger guys. Even when he was captain in the second year, he had a relationship with the older guys.

“Now, he’s more a veteran player but he’s still pretty attached to the younger guys like Jamie Collins, [Dont'a] Hightower, guys like that, in addition to players not at his position. He’s got a great work ethic, great presence on the football field, great personality that I would I say in a very good way professional but also has good rapport with all the players and the coaches. He’s as as well-respected as any player in the locker room. I’d say he’s one of the best overall team leaders and players, kind of a glue-chemistry guy, I’ve been around.”

Mayo, the 10th overall pick by the Patriots out of Tennessee in 2008, is already entering his seventh season. He has enjoyed a career that included NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in ’08 and a Super Bowl appearance in February 2012.

On Thursday, Mayo showed some of his leadership by telling everyone that this talented Patriots defense still needs to prove itself on the field. Mayo cautioned that no one knows after just one practice just how good this defensive unit can be until all the pieces are on the field together.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: 2014 training camp, Bill Belichick, Jerod Mayo, Lawrence Taylor
Jerod Mayo after first day of training camp: ‘We really don’t know what we’re capable of’ 07.24.14 at 5:52 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Thursday was like Christmas morning for many Patriots fans as they got their first glimpse of the 2014 squad on the field together for the first time on the first day of training camp.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski took part in team activities (with the exception of 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s) for the first time since tearing his ACL last December, as during OTA’€™s Gronkowski worked off to the side, not working with the entire offense. Free agent cornerback acquisitions Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, who should strengthen the secondary, took part in their first training camp session as members of the Patriots, and second-year wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins made several nice catches in 7-on-7s.

There was plenty to get excited about, for sure, but it was just Day 1 and the team was in shells and shorts, which made it hard to get a true sense of exactly where the team and individual€™s stand both skill and scheme wise.

“At this point, we’€™ve only had one day of practice, so we really don’€™t know what we’€™re capable of,” linebacker Jerod Mayo said following the workout. “We’re taking it one day at a time and continuing to work towards our goal.”

Much of the talk entering camp has been the additions of Browner and Revis in the secondary. With what already was in place, this could be one of the best secondaries in the Bill Belichick era.

With only one real practice under their belts, it’€™s hard to really know what their true impact will have on the defense.

“Honestly, it has been one day of practice out here,” Mayo said. “We have a lot of different schemes and plays to put in, so ask me that in a couple of weeks and I’€™ll let you know.”

Where exactly individuals and units are will become clearer as camp rolls on, beginning over the weekend when the team will wear pads for the first time, with which comes real blocking and tackling.

Like many of the fans, the players are excited.

“Definitely,” said Mayo. “You can only do so much out here with no pads on. Saturday will be a good day, but obviously we have some work to do [Friday] putting some plays in. Saturday will be fun.”

Read More: 2014 training camp, Brandon Browner, Darrelle Revis, Jerod Mayo
Report: Patriots add Dominique Easley to NFI list, while Alfonzo Dennard and Aaron Dobson will start camp on PUP 07.21.14 at 5:27 pm ET
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With camp looming later this week, the Patriots reportedly made some procedural roster moves Monday designed to allow some of players who are injured or coming off offseason surgery more time to rehab before they get on the field.

According to Field Yates of ESPN, defensive lineman Dominique Easley, running back Roy Finch, linebacker Deontae Skinner and tackle Chris Martin have been placed on the non-football injury list.

Meanwhile, cornerback Alfonzo Dennard; wide receivers Aaron Dobson and Jeremy Gallon; defensive tackle Tommy Kelly and special teamer Matt Slater were placed on the physically unable to perform list. Most of the players in this grouping were either limited (working with a rehab group) or not present during the media portion of the spring workouts.

In both cases — the active/physically unable to perform list as well as the active/non-football injury list — they can come off the list and return to practice at any time after they have been cleared by the team’s medical staff.

One thing worth noting is that both lists do not include tight end Rob Gronkowski, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo, all of who suffered season-ending injuries last year.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Aaron Dobson, Alfonzo Dennard, Chris Martin, Deontae Skinner
Jamie Collins: ‘I’m going to do whatever I’m told to do’ 05.08.14 at 1:46 pm ET
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Jamie Collins meets the media at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Jamie Collins meets the media at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — When the 2013 NFL Draft came around, Jamie Collins was not really paying attention except to find out where he would wind up.

When the Patriots nabbed him with their second-round pick out of Southern Mississippi, Collins was ready to do whatever he was asked to do. That would turn out to be very helpful as the Patriots selected him because of his reputation in college as one of the more versatile linebackers in college in the ’13 draft.

In his rookie season, Collins played both down and linebacker positions, showing he could get to the quarterback, play the run and drop in coverage.

Collins, asked this week to reflect on his first year in the pros, said once you have the talent, the rest is pretty elementary when you play for Bill Belichick.

“It’s pretty easy,” he said. “It’s not easy but it is easy. I don’t know if you get that or not. I’m going to do whatever I’m told to do. I’m the type of guy that is going to do what I have to do. I’m going to get it done, no matter what it is.”

In other words, Belichick has very specific plans for the linebacker, who showed up this spring in Foxboro looking bigger and stronger, all the more reason for the Patriots coaching staff to show more confidence in Collins, who began coming into his own as the 2013 regular season came to an end.

“Guys are different,” he said. “I just look at things and I just know it’s my job and I have to do what I have to do to survive. I was learning, regardless. But once a guy goes down, it’s next man up. You have to be strong. You lose a guy, the next man has to be ready to play. I’m excited to have him [back]. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brandon Spikes, Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Jerod Mayo
Jerod Mayo knows ‘Dream Teams’ don’t always ‘pan out the way you think they would’ 05.06.14 at 11:07 pm ET
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Jerod Mayo speaks to reporters Tuesday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Jerod Mayo speaks to reporters Tuesday at Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

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.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brandon Browner, Darrelle Revis, Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots
Jerod Mayo doesn’t know how his repaired pectoral muscle will handle rigors of an NFL return at 3:57 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Jerod Mayo wants to believe he’ll be ready for the Patriots’ 2014 season but the truth is, he just isn’t sure.

Mayo tore his pectoral muscle in the miraculous 30-27 win over the Saints on Oct. 20. He had surgery shortly thereafter and had to watch in utter frustration as his team reached the AFC championship in Denver before falling to Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

“I don’€™t know how it will feel when we start going out there doing different things as far as a little bit of contact drills,” Mayo told reporters inside Gillette Stadium Tuesday, where he took a break from the offseason conditioning program. “Even though there are no pads, you can still fall a certain way, so I’€™m just going to take it one day at a time and see how it goes.”

“I think every day, I feel like I’€™m getting stronger, getting better,” Mayo said. “But once again, I won’€™t know until I get out there and start really playing the game of football. If it was flag football, it’€™d be cool.”

The real test, of course, will come when the Patriots finally begin football activities, like hitting, which isn’t allowed until training camp opens on July 23.

“OTAs, mini-camp, training camp, preseason games, it’s all a step-by-step process,” Mayo added. “All different milestones you have to get to to really gain that confidence after the injury. For now, it’s just about taking it one day at a time.”

The way last season ended provides more than enough motivation for Mayo to get back on the field as he had to watch the rest of the season with fellow injured Patriots Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly.

“It’s hard to sit in a room with other injured teammates and watch as the team battles,” Mayo said.

Mayo confirmed he has been working out at Gillette Stadium for a while, extending well beyond the team’s three weeks of the offseason program, so he feels pretty good after tearing his pectoral muscle last October.

Read More: Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots, nfl, torn pectoral
Dont’a Hightower: It’ll be ‘real fun’ being a part of this group of linebackers 05.01.14 at 4:11 pm ET
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Dont'a Hightower likes the look of the 2014 linebacking corps. (AP)

Dont’a Hightower likes the look of the 2014 linebacking corps. (AP)

FOXBORO — There have been a lot of changes at linebacker for the Patriots to this point in the offseason. Dane Fletcher and Brandon Spikes have departed via free agency, while linebacker coach Pepper Johnson left for a new challenge in Buffalo. Meanwhile, the team awaits the return of veteran Jerod Mayo, who was out for the bulk of the 2013 season because of a torn pectoral muscle

But Dont’a Hightower said Thursday that even with all the changes, there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the state of the linebacker group in New England heading into a new year. The return of Mayo and the emergence of Jamie Collins — as well as his own strong finish in 2013 — all bode well for 2014, according to Hightower.

“Definitely with those guys — myself, Mayo, a longtime vet, and Jamie Collins coming up and playing the way he did last year, he definitely stepped up,” Hightower said. “I feel like that’€™s another thing that’€™s going to be real fun this year, having that linebacking corps right there. We have guys in that room who can also step up and play much like Dane did, but I feel like it’€™s going to be real fun with those three.

“Spikes was a big heart on the defense. (He) played with a lot of emotion,” Hightower said. “Dane was a great special teams guy as well as a guy to come in and play as well as he did. He did a great job. But we’€™re building right now. We’€™re all kind of getting back to what we’€™re doing, watching a little film, talking about things. I think it will be interesting to see how things (unfold). As a unit, we’€™ve been watching a lot of film together, learning the basic stuff right now so we’€™re not coming in to OTAs with too much on our plate. We’€™re teaching some of the younger guys and getting in with that.”

Hightower also pointed out that youngsters Steve Beauharnais, Ja’Gared Davis and Chris White are working hard, but has been particularly impressed by the work of Mayo.

“Working out now with him, he looks great,” Hightower said. “He’€™s a hard worker, always been a hard worker, always going to do what’€™s best for the team and what’€™s best for himself. I’€™m not sure how long he’€™s been up here or what he’€™s been doing, but he looks great.”

Read More: Brandon Spikes, Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Jerod Mayo
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