Jerod Mayo excited by the unknowns on the Patriots defense

New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins
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The last time we saw the Patriots defense, it was getting steamrolled by the Bills offense in a postseason game that ended without the Bills punting or turning the ball over on their way to a 47-17 victory.

Given the lopsided nature of that loss, it’s not a surprise that the Patriots defense is going to look a lot different in 2022. Players like J.C. Jackson, Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins, and Kyle Van Noy have moved on to other teams or remain unsigned at this point in the offseason.

The last three of those players are linebackers and a number of the players who are left have no track record with the Pats. Cam McGrone, Ronnie Perkins, and Raekwon McMillian have never played a regular season snap for the team, Anfernee Jennings missed all of last season, and Mack Wilson was acquired in a trade with the Browns. That makes it hard to know how things will come together, but inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo is embracing the uncertainty of the situation.

“That is the exciting part — the unknown,” Mayo said, via “And we’re going to go into it as a unit, we’re gonna go into it together. And, I would say, even right now, not having some of those older guys in the room is beneficial for the younger guys because older guys would be bored out of their minds with some of the things we’re talking about. At the same time, it’s forcing young guys to really take that step forward, and really grow and develop without being hindered by any other guy’s experience.”

Mayo has found his name on search lists for head coaching jobs and finding the right mix of players to make the Patriots defense a successful one should ensure that’s the case again in 2023.

18 responses to “Jerod Mayo excited by the unknowns on the Patriots defense

  1. “That is the exciting part — the unknown,” Mayo said,
    Exciting? Maybe. But when you have that many unknowns on defense sounds pretty scary to me.

  2. Drafting a LB seemed like a slam dunk but the Patriots seem confident in their group of faster younger guys providing more of a spark to the defense than the slow, lumbering LBs that are leaving in FA. Whether that’s the case or not will be interesting to see, a little scary since the defense might just be horrible this year, but maybe shaking things up will be a good move.

    Also, Anfernee Jennings has played 14 games for NE, with 4 starts, in your list of players who have never played a regular season snap for NE.

  3. Exctiting? Old and slow sounds like a better description for the Patriots defense.

    Mind boggling how they didn’t target any of the incredibly fast LB’s with the middle of their defense being so slow.

    Really hope Cole Strange wasn’t taken in 1st just cause his grandpa was college teammates and friends with Kraft.

  4. People thought NE should draft Nakobe Dean but he’s basically a much slower version of Jabrill Peppers.

    I think Peppers and Dugger are going to morph into the speed LBs they need.

  5. The Patriots screwed up the draft something awful.

    Travis Jones, who was a third rounder, I believe, destroyed Cole Strange at the Senior Bowl. He had no answer for pure power.

    The Patriots got rid of Shaq Mason for a late 5th round pick, and Mason graded out far and away as their Best Offensive Linemen.

    They thought they were going to be cute in the draft and play the trade down game over and over, and they got no takers, and were stuck, and took Strange, a questionable third round pick. Like 17 Offensive linemen ran the 40 faster than Strange at the Combine. The track was record fast and Strange could not beat 5.0 seconds.

    They also nickeled and dimed Ted Karras out of town.

    They created a crisis and they were outsmarted by their stupid Trade Back scheme that everyone is on to. The danger of the trade back scheme is being the one standing with no chairs available.

    Look at the Chiefs draft vs NE. Look at the Ravens draft vs NE.

    They had the worst draft in the league. Tyquan Thornton will be on the trading block in two years.

  6. The Patriots used their 1st rounder on a 3rd rounder because he’s the grandson of one of Kraft’s college buddies.

    Nepotism is rife with that franchise.

  7. Patriots defense can stop Josh Allen, they did it last year in Buffalo. This year they have added Mack Wilson a fast LB who arrives at his target with violence. He knocked out Mahomes in the playoffs. Dual threat QBs will pay a price if they try to run against the Patriots defense.

  8. 20 years of unparalleled excellence and a few years of rebuilding. Would trade it at all for your one and done team.

  9. This isn’t completely accurate. Jennings absolutely played in 2020 as a rookie.

    Pats can mold faster players is what this means. McCourty/Phillips being around will help the transition as teachers on the field.

  10. “Patriots defense can stop Josh Allen, they did it last year in Buffalo”

    I mean, I guess that’s hard to argue.

    As long as there is a hurricane or other extreme weather event for Bills/Pats match-ups, I’m sure the Patriots can keep that up.

  11. inozwetrust says:
    May 5, 2022 at 3:58 pm
    “That is the exciting part — the unknown,” Mayo said,
    Exciting? Maybe. But when you have that many unknowns on defense sounds pretty scary to me.

    Scary IS exciting.

  12. Travis Jones, who was a third rounder, I believe, destroyed Cole Strange at the Senior Bowl. He had no answer for pure power. Lol one rep in practice, strange was playing center a totally new position to him. Strange played well in the actual game an wasn’t over powered.

  13. Jimmy Johnson has said repeatedly that Belichick is the best ever but the basement boys know better?

    Mel, alone in his room surrounded by notes, knows better than Belichick who has an unmatched historical knowledge of the game?

    Parcells never won without Belichick but all we hear from those Belichick beat for two decades is that Belichick never won without Brady (11-5 in 2008, 3-1 in the post Deflategate year, 7-9 with Cam and a mass exodus, and 11-6 with Mac Jones).

    Guys, keep kidding yourselves.

  14. Parcel never won without Brady.


    Belichick never won even a divisional title without Brady.

    Oh, do you know that Rex Ryan led Jets to AFCCG with a rookie? So let us see what he can do without easy schedule plus when other teams didn’t have videos to study his QB.

  15. If the defense is to be successful, it’s going to be a group effort between all three levels of the defense, especially for this team, as they move to a more flex based defense, where DB’s and LB’s mix depending on the situation. The extra Safeties playing LB will be interesting. It is sounding like an Amoeba type of defense, where the QB won’t know who is playing where until after the snap, as the Patriots flood zones with bigger safeties and smaller/faster LB’s, while trying to pressure/rush the QB’s decision making process, and if the QB runs, have the speed to get to him quick. So the linebackers could play great, but if the DB’s don’t hold up or the DL gets gashed consistently, no group will be deemed to have played well. I don’t think the Patriots can fall behind to a team with a good running game. If they do, their run defense could still be exposed based on the current roster. A lot has to go right for them. Many of these LB’s have not played significant snaps. The whole thing could go sideways. It’s not a position that a Super Bowl contender would be discussing in the off season. 2022 will be a growing year for the Pat’s. They need to keep the arrow pointing up. A serious run at the Division Title, and a playoff win, are minimums to keep the growth curve going. What worries me is the massive brain drain the staff has had. McDaniels took 4-5 coaches and staff members with him, plus Scarnechia is retired, and his two replacements are gone. Ivan Fears is retired. There is no true, experienced, Offensive Coordinator to call plays against good experienced defensive coaches. Guys like Patricia and Judge will be coaching out of position. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but so much is changing in New England, the math simply says it’s a lot to ask for them to put it all together in Jones 2nd season. When they did it with Brady, they had a complete coaching staff and a roster full of veteran players. They need time to grow. Hopefully they are all in, and putting in the extra work early. It helps that they seem like a close knit team. That makes the extra work a lot less draining, and more fun.

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