The Patriots suffered another tough blow over the weekend after seeing Jerod Mayo go down Sunday against the Saints, and Monday night revealed more bad news for this football team.
According to an initial report from Les Carpenter of Yahoo! Sports, Mayo suffered a torn pectoral and underwent surgery to repair it, and Tom Curran of Comcast Sports New England - who knows Mayo well after all of their weekly preview segments - said that a return for the linebacker is "not likely" for 2013.
Sure enough, Wednesday morning the team announced they've placed him on injured reserve, ending his season.
That's yet more bad news for a defense that has now suffered the loss of another leader, with the team having already lost Vince Wilfork for the season to a torn Achilles. Mayo was one of the Patriots most versatile players in New England's defense and is an every down player, having played in 399 of their 407 defensive snaps this season and hadn't missed a play before he went down in the fourth quarter of Sunday's win over the Saints.
He also led the team in tackles with 55 this season, and is one of their better defenders against the run. When looking at the overall numbers it's pretty staggering what they've done to this point. Of the 147 positive carries they've allowed this season, 107 of them have been between just 1-5 yards. Mayo is obviously a big part of that, and it's going to be a challenge for the guys around him to hopefully step up now and fill that void.
The veteran was also the signal caller in New England's defense, with Erik Frenz of the Boston Globe pointing out that Dont'a Hightower got some experience during training camp wearing the "green dot" on his helmet, which represents being the signal caller for the defense. Having been in that role, should he see a more playing time (he was in on just 23 defensive snaps Sunday) it could be a big help now that Mayo is out because prior to going down that responsibility fell on him.
Either way the Patriots now have yet another adjustment to make after losing their second defensive captain of the season. New England isn't exactly a stranger when it comes to rolling with the punches, but after also losing Aqib Talib to an injury on the defensive side of the football Sunday, it's hard not wonder how many more they can take before this unit starts to falter. Talib's status for this weekend isn't known at this point, and hopefully he doesn't become yet another player that the Patriots will have to figure out a way to live without for any period of time.
It's yet another challenge as their work begins today to begin their preparations for the Jets, who they'll face in their final regular series match-up this weekend.
PATS STARTING TO SPEED THINGS UP:
Some good notes this morning from Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. She points out that New Orleans came to New England with the fourth ranked defense in the NFL and the Patriots racked up 26 first downs and 376 yards of offense during their 13 series, with the Patriots running no-huddle during a large portion of that including getting points on three of their first four possessions, two of which were touchdowns. That's a good sign considering they haven't done very much of it during the early part of the season, but hopefully this is an indication that many of these new players are starting to get more comfortable in New England's offense.
JETS WILLIE COLON 'HATES' THE PATRIOTS:
Interesting read this morning in ProFootballTalk with the Jets' offensive lineman Willie Colon telling the New York Daily News, "I just hate them," when speaking about the Patriots. It's not very often you hear that from a guard, so it will be interesting to follow who matches up against him and how effective he is on Sunday when these two teams get together.
RARE PRAISE FROM BELICHICK FOR TOM BRADY:
Belichick is known for his "there's no other quarterback I'd rather have" when it comes to Brady, but he usually doesn't elaborate when asked about the play of his quarterback. During his conference call on Tuesday he had a little more to say, including some praise about Brady's poise under pressure.
"I'd say that's pretty much always been a trademark of Tom," said Belichick. "Even going back to the first year, we were in some really tight games throughout the year but particularly at the end of the year: the Oakland game in the snow, obviously the Super Bowl. I think Tom showed a lot of poise and composure in those games which is as big as it gets, his first year as a starting quarterback.
"But even throughout that year, when he first took over for Drew [Bledsoe] and started to become a regular player. We were in a lot of tight games, some we won, some we lost but I never felt that there was a sense of panic of discomfort or anything with Tom. He was always very poised and always had a real good vision in the game."
Belichick said that Brady never gets consumed by tough situations, and his ability to process changes quickly during practice are also two of his strengths.
"He does a very good job of knowing what the situation but not getting consumed by it and focusing on the execution of that particular play or sequence of plays," said Belichick. "I think that's one of his greatest strengths as a player. Yeah, I think it was evident from the 2001 season and it's been very, very consistent – same thing in practice too. You see the same thing in practice. You try to throw a new – which we do on a regular basis – we throw something in there that maybe the other team hasn't done or we haven't seen in awhile, just to keep us on our teams or run something that a team ran a couple weeks ago and hurt us with it and see if we're ready for it this time. He's very, very good about that too."
GROGAN ON THE GRONKOWSKI SITUATION:
In this morning's Grogan's Grade (now available) Grogan talked again about the Gronkowski situation and had some interesting comments about how this may have played out during his time as a player, saying that there were no options to talk to a second doctor if a player was injured back in his day.
"Actually back in our day, they didn't allow you to see other doctors so it was pretty much what the team doctor told you to do," said Grogan. "When he told you you could get back out there, you went back out and played. It would have been nice maybe sometimes to have that second opinion, but we didn't. I think as a team leader, you just have to realize as I said earlier, Gronkowski wants to play football. That's what he's there to do, and he'll get back out there when he feels like he's best suited to get back out there."
ON TO THIS MORNING'S LINKS:
SOURCE: Jerod Mayo All Done - Jeff Howe - Howe files his notebook this morning which leads off with a bit on Mayo, as well as some additional notes on the Jets.
Return of no-huddle good sign for Patriots offense - Karen Guregian - Guregian looks at New England's use of the no-huddle this season, which she feels is a good sign for the progress of the offense.
Thoughts on the loss of Jerod Mayo - Erik Frenz - Frenz has his thoughts on the loss of Mayo, and feels that with all the bad luck the Patriots have had that Belichick either crossed paths with too many black cats or broke one too many mirrors.
It's early, but Patriots, Jets ready to meet again - Michael Whitmer - Whitmer has an article this morning on the rematch between the two teams, which will see them complete their two regular season meetings by just week seven of this season.
Jets' offense has injuries, too - Ben Volin - Volin writes that the Patriots may actually have a healthier offense than New York's when the two meet this weekend.
When heat gets turned up, Tom Brady stays cool - Michael Whitmer - Whitmer has a column on Brady, who he writes got some praise from Belichick yesterday for his poise under pressure.
ON FOOTBALL: Patriots won the one-on-one against the Saints - Ben Volin - Volin has a great look at Sunday's game, including the fact that Stevan Ridley had a big day because Logan Mankins and Nate Solder dominated Akiem Hicks and Junior Galette.
Catching up with former Patriots, Week 6 - Mike Reiss - Reiss has his weekly update on what's going on with some former Patriots, including Jermaine Cunningham, who despite signing with the 49ers recently has yet to see any game action.
In Focus: Charting Offensive Opportunities for Patriots Skill Position Players - Christopher Price - Price breaks down each skill position and has numbers including negative plays, etc. in this entry.
Jerod Mayo injury a big blow to a New England Patriots defense that already lost Vince Wilfork - Nick Underhill - Underhill looks at the loss of Mayo and what it means for the Patriots defense.
Patriots unleash Austin Collie against Saints - Glen Farley - Farley has an article on Austin Collie, who got his first game action Sunday for New England against the Saints and was a key part of their victory.
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