|Patriots supporting Jerod Mayo following season-ending injury: ‘Hopefully we can play well for him’||10.13.14 at 7:57 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Sunday’s win over the Bills came with a big price.
The Patriots lost running back Stevan Ridley for the season with a torn ACL and MCL and also their leader on defense — captain Jerod Mayo to a ‘severe lower right leg’ injury, also reportedly ending his season.
It’s the second straight season Mayo has been lost for the year in Week 6 after he tore his pectoral last season and it gets no easier for his teammates, both coping with the injury as well as replacing him in the middle of the field at his middle linebacker position.
“With that happening yesterday, it was a blow,” fellow captain Matthew Slater said. “You can’t try and pretend it’s one of those things you can pick up and move on from because you feel for a guy like Jerod. I came in with Jerod, we were rookies together and to see him go down I know took a toll on me, but we have to do the best we can to bounce back.
“A lot of guys have to step up because a guy like that is hard to replace — not only what he does on the field, but who he is in this locker room. His leadership, the man that he is. A lot of guys can emulate and imitate because of who he is. Hopefully we can play well for him the rest of the year, but like I said there is no replacing him with one guy, it’s going to take a lot of guys stepping up.”
With all the season-ending injuries the defense had to deal with last season — including Mayo’s — defensive end/linebacker Rob Ninkovich was forced into playing much more than he was accustomed to and played quite well. Once again, it will take efforts like that to replace Mayo.
The worst fears have been realized for Jerod Mayo and the Patriots.
The veteran middle linebacker and Patriots defensive captain suffered a season-ending right leg injury in Sunday’s 37-22 win over the Bills, multiple sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Those sources tell Schefter that the injury is “bad,” leading to the assumption that he will require major corrective surgery. This comes one year to the month when he tore his pectoral muscle and missed the second half of the 2013 season.
Earlier in the day, Bill Belichick indicated that “no one guy” will be able to replace Mayo or do for the Patriots what the seven-year veteran out of Tennessee does in the middle of the New England defense.
Patriots LB Jerod Mayo is out for the year after suffering a lower right leg injury that multiple sources say ‘is bad’.
‘ Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 13, 2014
On Monday, he reaffirmed that belief when asked about the huge task of going about replacing what the captain and middle linebacker brings to the team.
“So, we’re just going to have to get contributions from other guys ‘ some at the linebacker position and some at other positions as well,” Belichick said. “We’ll see how it all comes together. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for him and see exactly what his situation is. We have to be ready to move on without him. So, we’ll have to look to, I’d say, multiple groups [and] multiple players to do some of the things that he did. There’s no one guy who is going to, on this team, do what Jerod did. We’re lucky to have him, let alone another guy that can do all that too. It will have to come from a combination of guys somehow.”
The Patriots are awaiting tests on the right knees of Mayo and Stevan Ridley to determine the severity of each injury and whether one, both or, best-case scenario, neither is lost for the season.
Mayo injured his right knee making a tackle with about six minutes remaining in the second quarter of Sunday’s 37-22 win over the Bills in Buffalo. Ridley was lost when he was tackled while trying to avoid a tackle on a run to the left side.
What makes the Mayo injury particularly frustrating for player and coaching staff is the likelihood Mayo could be gone for the second half of the season for a second straight year. Mayo tore his pectoral muscle against the Dolphins in Oct. 2013 and subsequently went on injured reserve.
|Tom Brady on D&C: ‘We’re going to go out there and play our best for’ injured teammates Jerod Mayo, Stevan Ridley||at 8:04 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on Dennis & Callahan on Monday, one day after Sunday’s impressive 37-22 victory over the Bills. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Brady completed 27-of-37 passes for 361 yards and four touchdown passes as he improved to 23-2 against Buffalo.
“I think all the guys, we made a ton of plays out there. It was really fun to be out there,” Brady said. “We’ve been making some improvements, and hopefully we continue to do so. I said after the game, it’s still early in the year, it’s great to go on the road against a team that is a good team, it’s always a battle against those guys.
“I know we’ve had a good record against them over the years, but they always play us tough. They had a great front, and the crowd was really jacked and into it. We went out there in the second half and did really a great job as a team, just taking the crowd out of the game and then going out and executing at a high level. That’s what it takes, that’s what it was all about.”
The Patriots had two bad losses early this season and now have put together two straight good wins, and Brady said it’s important not to overreact to either.
“Coach always says hopefully the losses act as motivation,” Brady said. “The only thing I would say, when you lose you’re probably way more hypercritical to your deficiencies than when you win. Having a tough loss like we did, we had a couple of tough losses this year, really understanding the things that we needed to do better hopefully can really serve a purpose for us.
“Like every week, whatever happened against Buffalo, it means nothing for what’s going to happen on Thursday night against the Jets. We’ve got to refill the tank and then go out there and try to play as best as we possibly can, because this team’s going to be ready to go. I know they’re having a tough year, but they always play us tough, they’ve got a great defensive front, it’s a division battle. We’ve got to put everything we can into. and that’s what you’ve got to do every week.
“You just can’t think this last game’s going to carry over to the next game, ’cause it doesn’t. Not sure if you guys understand that, but coach always nails that point home, and the veteran leaders really talk about that. So, that’s what we’ve got to do.”
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — If the Patriots are forced to go without running back Stevan Ridley and linebacker Jerod Mayo for an extended stretch, it would force them to get creative on both sides of the ball in hopes of trying to replace the contributions of two of their better players.
First, Ridley: the back was in the midst of a very impressive streak prior to going down in the second half of Sunday’s win over the Bills. Ridley, who has struggled with ball security issues over the course of the last year-plus, had hit a stretch of 161 consecutive straight touches without a fumble (including the regular season and postseason) dating back to last November. Through six games, he has 94 carries for 340 yards with a pair of touchdowns.
If he is gone for an extended stretch, he would likely be replaced by a running back by committee, a grouping that will be led by Shane Vereen, as well as Brandon Bolden. At 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, Vereen doesn’t necessarily have the traditional body type of a between-the-tackles running back, but his past body of work suggests that he could handle the load in the short term. The Patriots could have Vereen and Bolden share the load, while working rookie James White into the mix on a semi-regular basis. And there’s always fullback James Develin, who has taken on a bigger role as a blocker over the last month, and could see his role expand even greater in the coming weeks if Ridley is shelved for an extended stretch.
As for Mayo, the defensive captain has shown himself to be absolutely integral to the success of the New England defense. Stout against the run and fast enough to work in pass defense, his smarts and background in the system all combine to make him an extension of Bill Belichick on the field.
“It’s tough to lose somebody like that, but I’m pretty sure this team will rally around him. One thing he said when he was leaving the field was ‘Finish the job for us,” said defensive lineman Vince Wilfork. “We played this game for him in the second half. It means a lot to us, what he brings to this team, not only on the field but off the field also. So it’s a tough one. But at the same time, he understands. We’re going to have to rally, and he’s going to be with us, so we just have to continue to play good football.”
Mayo is the defensive play-caller, but the Patriots will likely turn to a series of possibilities when it comes to finding someone to wear the green dot on the back of the helmet. If he’s healthy — and his knee prevented him from going Sunday afternoon — that responsibility will fall to Dont’a Hightower. But there’s no denying that New England was already dangerously thin at the linebacker position even before Mayo went down, and with his absence for a lengthy period of time would force Hightower and Jamie Collins to serve in an even greater capacity. (For what it’s worth, the Patriots rotated a series of defenders through against the Bills after Mayo went down, a group that included defensive back Tavon Wilson, as well as backup linebackers Deontae Skinner and Chris White.)
|Patriots lose Stevan Ridley, Dan Connolly, Jerod Mayo to injuries||10.12.14 at 3:57 pm ET|
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — After losing Jerod Mayo in the first half to a right knee injury, the Patriots lost a valuable skill player to another right knee injury in the second half.
Stevan Ridley was tackled for a two-yard loss at the Buffalo 29 by Stephon Gilmore. Ridley landed awkwardly and appeared at first to injure his right ankle on TV replays. But after getting attention on the field for several minutes, he limped to the sideline and had his knee examined. He made it to the sidelines under his own power and tried walking on it on the sidelines.
But after further evaluation, he was escorted down to the Patriots locker room and ruled out with a knee injury.
Ridley’s injury came one play after Rob Gronkowski landed awkwardly on pass from Tom Brady. Gronkowski had the protective sleeve on his left arm removed but re-entered the game after Ridley left the game and appeared not to be seriously injured.
As Ridley’s injury was awas being announced, the Patriots also confirmed that starting left guard Dan Connolly would not return after suffering a head injury in the first half.
|Jerod Mayo carted off with knee injury, out for the game||at 2:10 pm ET|
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The injury bug has bitten Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo again.
With just over six minutes left in the second quarter of Sunday’s game in Buffalo, the Patriots inside linebacker and captain made a tackle on Bills running back Boobie Dixon. During the tackle, Mayo’s right knee appeared to buckle.
Mayo went to the ground and couldn’t get up. His teammates circled around Mayo and went to one knee in prayer. A cart came onto the field at midfield and drove Mayo off the field, with the Patriots team doctor trailing. The Patriots later announced Mayo would not return.
Mayo missed half of the 2013 season with a torn pectoral muscle, which required offseason surgery. In other injury news, starting left guard Dan Connolly was forced to leave with a head injury and was replaced by Jordan Devey.