By Tom E. Curran
FOXBORO - The Patriots have brought in a ton of new personnel this offseason - free agents like Trevor Scott, Jonathan Fanene, Steve Gregory and a fleet of draft picks.
Jerod Mayo said Thursday that he likes the vibe he's getting from them.
Speaking of rookie first-rounder Dont'a Hightower, Mayo said, "He came in and wanted to watch film; we watched film together. He understands everything Im trying to say. Thats the fortunate thing about that having guys who are true football guys."
The Patriots defense was shoddy at the start of 2011 and gradually progressed to decent. They next stop, one presumes, would be "good." Mayo isn't entertaining those questions right now, though.
"Im not even trying to look that far out," Mayo said when asked how the defense may transform. "Im looking to now. Im looking toward watching this film from today and going out tomorrow and improving on that."
Even though these aren't padded practice and there's no collisions, Mayo said the OTAs have value in terms of tempo.
"We try to practice just as hard now without pads as we do with pads," he said. "Even though were not actually hitting each other, were out there going hard. Were out there being safe but at the same time trying to get those looks and making sure everyone is on the same page, especially when people get tired."