There is a book of tricks, a book of calls, that an inside linebacker can use in that system,” Bruschi explained on the weekly ESPNBoston.com podcast. “Jerod knows all those calls and he’s starting to use his arsenal of calls, and utilize other players, other pieces on his chessboard, to put them in position so he can make plays.” On offense, Brady is a master chess player. Mayo is coming into his own as well. “It’s kind of like a quarterback: The linebacker has to make multiple, multiple decisions on every play,” coach Bill Belichick said. “So many different things happen in a split second during the course of the play, just like it is for a quarterback.
I think a lot of times rookies come in and they’re talented, they’re big and fast. They can run and chase the ball. But a lot of times, they’re just kind of running around out there. As they gain more experience and more understanding of the total defense, and where their teammates are and how things fit on different runs, they play with maybe a little more patience, maybe a little bit more recognition in terms of play-action passes and missed direction plays and things like that. Although Jerod is very good and has been very good at those. But I think certainly you get better at them through time.
The offense and defense worked against each other in a full-field two-minute drill, and for at least part of it, linebacker Jerod Mayo was using a whistle to signal the end of the plays. The 26-year old adopted a coach-on-the-field role of sorts, as it appeared the drill was run entirely by the players. The coaches largely stood pat on the sidelines. This could be a case where the players, not satisfied by what had just happened, took it upon themselves to finish practice on the right foot. If such was the case, that’s terrific leadership from Mayo, amongst others.
Despite making a lot of tackles [Jerod Mayo] was rarely a downhill, impact type of player and seemed more of a clean-up specialist than a linebacker really influencing the game. In this regard he was not unlike the Jets’ David Harris. This season though, the move to the 4-3 seems to have helped him be more of a downhill force. He is making more of his tackles in the right area. 39 of his tackles have been defensive stops this season, a far better ratio than in previous seasons where he was aligned slightly further back from the line of scrimmage so that he could control both sides if necessary. The hype for Mayo has always outweighed the real impact he has on the defense, but it would also be somewhat unfair to say that he does little of substance, as his contribution and reliability are not to be underestimated, and he does get involved in a lot of plays, even if it is almost always fewer than the generosity of the New England scorer would suggest. The area where he still struggles the most is in coverage, where he has allowed 416 yards this season with 319 of them after the catch. Only four other 4-3 OLBs have allowed more YAC than Mayo has this season and throwing into his coverage yields opposing QBs a 92.0 QB rating.
Thanks to Frenz for the heads up on this article. Last year when me and Frenz were tailgating before the Giants game we had a long discussion of Mayo asking if he was overrated. There’s no question he has all the intangibles you look for, though I do have a slight preference for fiery guys on the inside like Spikes. He started to make some big plays last year, like the game sealing interception against the Redskins. Still, his pass coverage can be glaringly awful at times. Just look at this play from the Super Bowl.
That should be an interception or the very least a pass defended. It’s the perfect call but Mayo just doesn’t get his head around. There’s a lot to like about Mayo, but there’s also a lot of places he can improve.
Breaking: Patriots sign Jerod Mayo to a 5-yr extension
Great news this morning that the Pats have locked up Jerod Mayo long term. Always love when these extensions come out of nowhere, leaving us with one less player to speculate about what his future might be. We all know when Pats players get to free agency there’s no guarantee that they’ll be back.
Coincidence that this comes after Mayo has back to back interception games?
PatsPropaganda is written and edited by Mike Dussault. He is an unapologetic homer and a card-carrying Belichickian. He has a soft spot for hard core X's and O's, and believes in "throw to score, run to win", low pad level, and touchdown celebrations that last two weeks.
He is a Patriots Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report, and his work has been featured on FoxSports.com, Yahoo Sports, and SI.com. He also co-hosts the weekly PatsPropaganda & Frenz Podcast with Bleacher Report's AFC East Editor Erik Frenz.
PatsPropaganda was TruFan.com/CSNNE's 2011 winner for Best Patriots Blog.
He can be contacted at PatsPropaganda [at] gmail.com