Tough talking about Steeltown for Jerod Mayo

572622.jpg

Tough talking about Steeltown for Jerod Mayo

Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo is usually succinct in his sound bites. After a loss, he's about as chatty as a brick. A good-natured brick.

Mayo had his weekly meet with Tom Curran two days after New England fell 25-17 to the Steelers. Leading in the match up, quarterback Tom Brady flagged it as a learning opportunity.

So what did Mayo and the rest glean from giving up 10 of Pittsburgh's 16 third-down chances?

"We fought to the very end," he said. "We still had a chance to win the game at the end of it. It was a tough game for us."

He's not exactly wrong.

Though the defense gave Brady's bunch just 20 minutes to score, they did tamp down in the game's waning moments to give the 'O' another chance. It just wasn't enough; too much damage had already been done. The time of possession, the third downs, and the inability to stop Pittsburgh's aerial attack (365 yards surrendered) stacked the deck well in the Steelers' favor.

And it was a step back for an already struggling defense.

"It surprised us a little bit. We had a great week of practice and just didn't go out and execute like we wanted to."

Curran joked with the linebacker about his brevity.

"Yeah. Great answers," Mayo laughed.

Okay. Losing is a sensitive subject. No need to throw that on the breaking news wire. Talk of New England's weak defense has been building for almost four years. The deficiencies in the secondary, especially, have been obvious. But Mayo says the team isn't working itself up with worry.

How? There's at least one key strategy.

"Not listening to guys like you, to start off," he ribbed Curran. "But at the same time, we know people are going to say what they want to. We're not ready to hit the panic button. We know we have a good football team and we'll just continue to get better. We aren't even at the halfway point yet, so we have a long way to go."

Up next is the New York Giants. Eli Manning brings his 102.1 quarterback rating to Gillette for the first Pats-G-men showdown since New York won Super Bowl XLII 17-14 in mind-bending fashion.

Mayo, a senior at the University of Tennessee in 2007, says he watched that game at home in Virginia. He had no problem admitting who he pulled for.

"Patriots, baby."

His investment in New England is one NFL draft and many paychecks deeper now. He brings things up to date with Curran in the second half of the interview.

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

President-elect Donald Trump made sure to thank a few of his supporters from New England -- particularly those at 1 Patriot Place -- during a speech on the eve of his inauguration to the nation's highest office. 

Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady all earned shout-outs from Trump. Kraft was one of many Trump donors present for a dinner at Washington, DC's Union Station, where he was singled out by the soon-to-be-president. 

"In the audience we have somebody that's under no pressure whatsoever because he's got a great quarterback named Tom Brady and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft," Trump said. "Good luck, Bob.

"Your friend Tom Brady just called. He feels good. He called to congratulate us. He feels good. Good luck. You're going to do great."

Trump gave one extra nod to Belichick, who he says taught him to out-work his competition. 

"I out-worked everybody," Trump said. "I think I out-worked anyone who ever ran for office. I learned that from Belichick."

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have signed free-agent tight end Rob Housler to a future contract. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound target last played for the Bears but was released at the end of training camp.

Housler won't be eligible to participate with the Patriots during the postseason, but he will be available for the offseason program and training camp leading up to the 2017 campaign. 

Housler taken in the third round by the Cardinals with the 69th overall selection in 2011. In 65 career games, he has 109 catches for 1,166 yards and one touchdown. 

The Patriots may have been intrigued by Housler's skill set last summer when he caught one pass for 52 yards -- making two Patriots defenders miss in the process -- during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots and Bears held joint training camp practices in August that would have given Patriots coaches and scouts a closer look at everything Housler has to offer as a player. 

Housler was one of the better athletes at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2011, running a 4.55-second 40-yard dash (fastest among tight ends), posting a 6.9-second three-cone drill, and recording a 37-inch vertical leap.

Bill Belichick and his staff hit big on a future-contract signing two years ago when a running back with a significant injury history was available to scoop up at the behest of then-assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi. Since then, the Patriots still have never lost with Dion Lewis in uniform.