Mayo: Pats passing on pass rusher says a lot

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Mayo: Pats passing on pass rusher says a lot

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
Bill Belichick said it himself: When it came to pass rushers, the 2011 NFL draft class carried the mother lode. Yet the Patriots - whose main defensive shortcoming is its inability to make opposing quarterbacks pay attention to their pass rush - passed on all the blue-chip guys. Unless they make a big strike in free agency, the group of Jermaine Cunningham, Tully Banta-Cain, Eric Moore and Rob Ninkovich will be their edge rushers. Linebacker Jerod Mayo says that decision speaks volumes. Tuesday, I asked Mayo on WEEI's Big Show what it must mean in relation to Cunningham that the Patriots opted to stand pat. "What does it say about the group of guys that rush the passer?" Mayo repeated."It says a lot.
"I always like when Coach Belichick makes decisions like that and goes against what the media thinks we should do, because it shows the trust he has in us. The same thing that happened with the Colts game (in 2009 when Belichick tried for a first down on fourth-and-two deep in his own territory). People were like 'Hey, why didn't Bill punt the ball?' It just shows the trust he has in his system and his players. I take it as a compliment."Belichick's been free with his compliments of Mayo, a player he clearly considers one of the best leaders on this team and an extension of himself on the field. Those relatively little nuggets of praise or the acts that show faith go a long way, Mayo said. "It causes you not to want to fail and not to want to fail Coach Belichick and the compliments he gave you. You want to go out there and live up to his expectations. He set high expectations for us and you want to go out there and work hard to meet them."

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Bart Scott: Falcons have 'the better quarterback' in Super Bowl

Bart Scott: Falcons have 'the better quarterback' in Super Bowl

Former Ravens and Jets linebacker - now an "NFL Today" analyst for CBS - Bart Scott usually "can't wait" to make his disdain for Tom Brady and the Patriots known. 

He was back at it Tuesday in an interview with CBS Radio's Damon Amendolara, in which he said the Falcons have the better quarterback heading into Super Bowl LI.

“We know they’re the better offense, and right now, you could say they got the better quarterback because they have the MVP of the league,” Scott said. Ryan is the favorite to win the NFL MVP, which will be announced the night before the Super Bowl at the "NFL Honors" show.

“Now that’s a debate, but Matt Ryan has earned the right for his name to be put up there with the upper-echelon quarterbacks," Scott said. "He’s always been elite in the regular season, but now he’s taken this show into the postseason and he’s won the hard battles against the elite quarterbacks and now you have to give him his due.”

More from Scott: “I can’t see the Patriots stopping this offense. So, that means that these receivers are going to have to [keep] pace. It’s all going to come down to what it always comes down to. It’s going to come down to who makes the turnovers, who gets up early and puts the pressure on the other team. Matt Ryan and that offense showed me a lot when they went behind [in the divisional round against the Seahawks]. Seattle came and busted them in the face, and [Atlanta] went right back down and answered immediately.

"The Patriots always find a way, but I think it makes it more close of a game than what people think.”