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Jerod Mayo on MFB: Patriots sometimes get attacked unfairly 01.22.15 at 1:09 pm ET
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Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo joined Middays with MFB on Thursday to discuss his rehab, Deflategate and also to look ahead to the Super Bowl. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

This entire week has been all about Deflategate in the media and there hasn’t been much discussion at all about the actual Super Bowl game. Mayo said it it’s been highly unusual.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Mayo. “At the same time I know the guys are focused on Seattle and you know the whole ‘ignore the noise.’ That is what the guys are doing. When you get in between the walls, we’re studying film and trying to move forward.”

The linebacker was asked how he feels about the team being under scrutiny a lot of the time. He acknowledged it happens, but it isn’t something the team thinks about.

“I really don’t know. I don’t what know it is,” he said. “I feel like sometimes the team sometimes gets attacked unfairly, but at the same time really it doesn’t matter, we’re trying to put a good performance on each and every week. I know the guys are really focused on the game and it’s a huge game. We’re not really bothered with all that going on.”

Mayo suffered a torn patellar tendon in Week 6 against against the Bills. It’s the second straight year Mayo has suffered a season-ending injury early in the year. He said rehab is going well.

“I’m doing good. Rehab is going well,” Mayo said. “I’m doing good. We’ll keep taking it one day at a time, no setbacks here.”

Despite being placed on injured reserve, Mayo has still remained part of the team, showing up at the facility everyday, watching film and helping out the linebackers. He has even been on the sidelines during the playoffs, something unusual for a Bill Belichick coached team, to have a player on injured reserve on the sidelines.

“I just tried to keep the guys calm. I know it’s a long game and sometimes things don’t go your way,” said Mayo of what he did in the Baltimore game. “I try and keep everybody calm and obviously I can see things from the sideline that you can’t really see on the field. It’s difficult to see the entire field when you’re out there looking at certain keys. I can see a lot of things on the sideline and I just try to rely some of the things that I see to the guys.”

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Read More: 2015 NFL playoffs, Jerod Mayo, Super Bowl XLIX,
Dont’a Hightower explains how Jerod Mayo stays relevant by keeping his voice heard 01.08.15 at 6:10 am ET
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FOXBORO — Sometimes a player can make his impact without stepping on the field.

In rare cases, that player can help inspire his teammates to a new level that helps them achieve something special and unexpected.

For Dont’a Hightower, that player is Jerod Mayo.

Like he did in 2013, when he tore his pectoral muscle midway through the season and missed out on the playoff run that ended in the AFC championship in Denver. History unfortunately repeated itself on Oct. 12 in Buffalo when Mayo injured his knee. Season over. Again.

But ever since then, Mayo has made it a point to stay involved with direction and focus of the defense. It’s that involvement as a type of sounding board that Hightower pointed to as a big reason for the maturity of defense and its evolution into a dominant unit.

“Most definitely. A guy that’€™s been in this defense as long as he’€™s been in [it] and a lot of games, big games he’€™s played in and a lot of big plays he has,” Hightower said Wednesday. “We all still stay pretty close. We’€™ll run [things] by him, we’€™ll catch film, he’€™ll throw pointers out there and different things. He’€™s run this defense for so long. Me, him and Jamie [Collins], we’€™re always still picking each other’€™s brains as far as different perspectives on things.”

Hightower can only sympathize with Mayo not being able to play in the playoffs for a second straight season.

“Mayo is a great player and he means a lot to this team and this organization,” Hightower said. “He’€™s not taking it for granted. He’€™s still, what little he can do as far as off the field, as far as his film study or giving us actual notes, maybe he’€™s watched the game a week or two in advance that we haven’€™t and he sees some things. He’€™s still in our ear and our back pocket. He’€™s still out there with us.”

Mayo isn’t the only player who has been taking Hightower and fellow young linebacker Jamie Collins under his wing. Vince Wilfork made it clear that he’s never had more trust in the pair than he does heading into this playoff push. Having a healthy Wilfork for most of the season has allowed Hightower to reach another level, something Wilfork was unable to do last season since he was lost in Week 4 with a torn Achilles.

“Last year in this spot we weren’€™t able to have as much meat ‘€“ best way to say it ‘€“ in the front,” Hightower said. “Vince helps a lot, especially having an older guy, a veteran guy who knows the game as well as he does. It slows everything down. It slows the offensive line from getting on top of us. Nobody is just going to leave Vince Wilfork single-blocked at all. He helps a lot, as well as Sealver [Siliga] and [Alan] Branch and Chris Jones as well.”

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Read More: 2015 playoffs, Baltimore Ravens, Dont'a Hightower, Jerod Mayo
Vince Wilfork ‘disappointed’ in Patriots run defense 10.17.14 at 2:05 am ET
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FOXBORO — Although the Patriots beat the Jets 27-25 on Thursday Night Football to move to 5-2 on the year and won their third straight game in the process — there are still plenty of improvements to be made — particularly when it comes to defending the run.

Not given any favors with the loss of Jerod Mayo to season-ending knee surgery this week, the Patriots allowed 218 yards on 43 carries to the Jets — including a 21-carry, 107-yard performance to running back Chris Ivory. The 218 yards were the most rushing yards the Jets have had in a game since Oct. 14, 2012 against the Colts.

This is something the defense is not taking lightly.

“I’€™m very stingy when it comes to the rush defense,”€ defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. “That’€™s the one thing I’€™m disappointed in [the run defense]. We’€™ll fix it, we always do and hopefully we can get this thing rolling consistently.”

Thursday marked the third game this season where the Patriots have allowed 190 or more rushing yards — the Dolphins ran for 191 in Week 1 and Kansas City ran for 207 in Week 4. Also, Bill Belichick has allowed more than 200 yards rushing to an opponent 13 times during his tenure in New England and two of them have come this year.

“Luckily we played well in the red area, kept them out of the end zone and kept the points down, but didn’€™t do a good enough job in the running game — didn’€™t do a good enough job on run force, didn’€™t do a good enough job on third down obviously,” Belichick said. “We just weren’€™t consistent in any phase of the game.”

The Patriots entered Thursday with the fifth-best overall defense in the league, but the passing defense carrying the group as they are fourth in the NFL defending the pass, compared to 14th against the run. This is much improved as just two weeks ago they were 23rd.

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Read More: Chris Ivory, Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Jerod Mayo
Setting the scene: Patriots take on Jets at rain-soaked Gillette 10.16.14 at 5:26 pm ET
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Heavy rain is in the forecast as the Patriots look to improve to 7-0 on Thursday night under Tom Brady. (Mike Petraglia/

Heavy rain is in the forecast as the Patriots look to improve to 7-0 on Thursday night under Tom Brady. (Mike Petraglia/

FOXBORO — For the second straight year, the Patriots will play the Jets at Gillette Stadium on a rainy Thursday night. Steady rain with a chance of thunderstorms is in the forecast for the entirety of the game. But temperatures will be very mild, with a kickoff temperature of 64 degrees expected for the 8:25 p.m. start. Temperatures are expected to remain above 60 throughout the night.

A 7 MPH breeze out of the southeast is also in the forecast throughout the game.

In 2013, the Patriots held their home opener against the Jets on Sept. 12 and squeezed out a 13-10 win as the driving rain pelted players, coaches and fans.

The Patriots have won their last five regular season games against the Jets at Gillette Stadium, not including the 28-21 loss to New York in the 2010 playoffs. Overall, the Patriots have won 20 of the last 27 meetings between the two AFC East arch-rivals.

The Patriots will be playing the first game since losing starting linebacker Jerod Mayo and starting tailback Stevan Ridley to season-ending knee injuries. Both were placed on injured reserve. Taking their place are running back Jonas Gray and offensive lineman Chris Barker, who have been activated off the practice squad and are eligible to dress for the game.

Tom Brady enters the game with a perfect 6-0 record in Thursday night games. Bill Belichick is 7-2, with his last loss coming with Matt Cassel at the helm of a 34-31 overtime loss to the Jets on Nov. 13, 2008. Belichick’s only other Thursday loss was the 34-9 Thanksgiving blowout at the hands of the Detroit Lions in his first season in New England in 2000.

The game will also feature the Patriots paying tribute to Ty Law, the cornerback who was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame on Aug. 1. The halftime ceremony will be similar to the ones that former Patriots Tedy Bruschi and Troy Brown have enjoyed past primetime games.

The national anthem will be performed by Joey McIntyre of “New Kids on the Block” fame. The game is on the NFL Network as well as CBS nationally. McIntyre stars in the new CBS show, “The McCarthys.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jerod Mayo, Joey McIntyre, New England Patriots
Patriots promote RB Jonas Gray, OL Chris Barker, place Stevan Ridley, Jerod Mayo on IR at 4:32 pm ET
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Jonas Gray

Jonas Gray

FOXBORO — In a move that was expected, practice squad running back Jonas Gray has been promoted to fill the spot on injured running back Stevan Ridley for tonight’s game against the Jets.

Gray impressed the Patriots in training camp and the preseason with his tough physical running style. The second-year back out of Notre Dame played in all four preseason games this year, totaling 37 carries for 142 yards and a 3.8 yard per carry average.

The other injured Patriot from Sunday who is lost for the season, Jerod Mayo, will be replaced by offensive lineman Chris Barker. This move was made with the uncertainty with regard to center Bryan Stork and left guard Dan Connolly. Stork missed the last game in Buffalo with a head injury after leaving in the first half against the Bengals on Oct. 5. Connolly left in the first half last Sunday against the Bills, also with a head injury.

Both Ridley and Mayo were placed on season-ending injured reserve before the 4 p.m. deadline to have Gray and Barker activated. The moves were first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.


Read More: Bryan Stork, Chris Barker, Dan Connolly, Jerod Mayo
Report: Jerod Mayo has surgery to repair patellar tendon at 11:30 am ET
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Earlier in the week it was reported Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo would be out for the season with a “bad right leg injury.” On Thursday, the extent of the injury was revealed.

According to Tom E. Curran, Mayo had surgery Thursday morning to repair his patellar tendon, which he injured in Sunday’s win over the Bills. Mayo is hoping for a six-month recovery time.

It is the second season in a row Mayo has suffered a season-ending injury in Week 6, as last year he tore his pectoral muscle against the Saints. In his five-plus games played this season, he leads the team in tackles with 37.

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Read More: Jerod Mayo,
Dont’a Hightower ‘hopeful’ he will be able to play Thursday vs. Jets 10.14.14 at 6:31 pm ET
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Dont'a Hightower

Dont’a Hightower

FOXBORO — After missing the last two games because of a knee injury, Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower stood at his locker already knowing the question would be coming.

Will he be ready to play Thursday night against the Jets?

“The next question is do I think am I going play Thursday? That is day-to-day,” Hightower said. “I am holding up, doing everything they’€™ve asked me to do, so hopefully I will be out there.”

Hightower has missed the last two games after having a strong start to the season — recording 20 tackles in the four games he’s played — as well as coming along in terms of pass coverage, something that was a bit suspect in past years.

In his third season, Hightower only missed two games in his career prior to this year, so standing on the sidelines has been tough — but he’s done what he can to help the defense.

“It definitely sucks,” he said “Definitely these last couple games coming up are definitely games we want to have and seeing those guys out there having fun and playing the way we have been playing and not being able to have a part of — the most I can do is help give those guys checks and alerts from the sideline and doing my part. Hopefully that was the last game of the season I’€™ll have to do that.’€

With fellow inside linebacker Jerod Mayo going down with a season-ending leg injury, the Patriots need Hightower back even more now. While no one person can replace Mayo — a captain — it will take a number players on the defensive side of the ball, including Hightower, who should become more of a leader for the group.

The unit went through the same thing last year when Mayo also went down for the season in Week 6 with a torn pectoral muscle. Going through the same thing last year should help them moving forward this season.

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