The New England Patriots certainly missed linebacker Jerod Mayo towards the end of last season. The tackling machine was lost for the season when he suffered a torn pectoral muscle on Oc. 13. Mayo has progressed nicely from the injury and has full clearance to participate in organized team activities. On Monday, Mayo discussed his return to football activities and the nature of the team.
A very optimistic Mayo made an appearance at the team’s Community MVP event and took time to talk about his injury status. In between posing for pictures with award recipients, the Patriots primary signal-caller on defense said he is “doing everything” during OTAs, but recognized the possibility that he may be limited physically when the pads come on. He said, “Right now it’s passing camp, there isn’t any banging or things like that, but right now I’m feeling good.”
With all the injuries the Patriots suffered on defense, Mayo may have been the biggest lost, as he is a player who rarely comes off the field and is a reliable tackler. His knowledge of the defense and his ability to be in the right spot was greatly missed. Dont’a Hightower and former Patriots linebacker Dane Fletcher tried to fill in at that role, but it was an obvious decline and the team was never able to fill that void.
Jerod Mayo returns to a team with more veteran depth along the defensive front and a much-improved secondary. The linebacker group now consists of veteran versatile linebacker James Anderson and an emerging Jamie Collins. A notable change is the departure of linebackers coach Pepper Johnson, who has been replaced with new coach Patrick Graham. Mayo addressed the change saying, “All coaches do a great job making sure we’re all prepared. Most of the time we’re together anyway, as a group. We have a lot of good smart minds that are really coaching us up and getting us on the same page.”