Romo: Patriots defense coming into its own


Romo: Patriots defense coming into its own

By Danny Picard

FOXBORO --Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo talked about thePatriots defense in a conference call on Wednesday, and wasnt buying into thefact that the big plays theyve allowed this season define what they reallyare.

You can tell theyre well-coached, said Romo. They playthe right technique. They played really good ball last week, and when you watchthem, they have a couple big guys up front that can create a problem. Youvejust got to be ready. They do a lot of different stuff.

Its early in the year, added Romo. I think with theoffseason there were some things of that nature that just probably took alittle bit of time, schematically, to get a lot of stuff in. But they playedreally well last week. In stretches, theyve played really good ball. So Idont know that thats who they are. I think, really, theyre a good defensiveunit thats just coming into their own lately. And I think theyre going to bepretty good the rest of the way.

When studying New Englands defense, Romo described the twofaces hes most familiar with from their time in Washington: Andre Carter andAlbert Haynesworth.

Andres got a great motor, said Romo. Hes alwaysfighting. Hes going to go to the whistle. He gets off the ball well. Hes astrong player. He can rush the quarterback good, but he also gets back.

With Albert, hes a tough matchup, said Romo. Hes a goodplayer that you have to account for. Hes got a great history with the way hesplayed over the years, and just a guy that we have to be ready for.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Jerod Mayo: 'Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year'

Jerod Mayo: 'Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year'

Jerod Mayo still has faith in New England Patriots cornerback Cyrus Jones.

The cornerback, who was the Patriots' top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, struggled mightily in his rookie season. He fumbled his way out of a role on special teams, where he served as a returner.

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He then failed to perform at nickel cornerback, and the Patriots traded for Eric Rowe, who pushed Jones down the depth chart and often onto the inactives on game day. Jones' emotional outburst during Week 5 when he got ejected for punching Browns receiver Andrew Hawkins didn't help.

Despite all that, Mayo thinks Jones will turn things around.

"I think Cyrus Jones will probably be most improved this year," Mayo said in the latest edition of "The Ex Pats" podcast. "I want people to remember a rookie [Matthew] Slater. A rookie Matt Slater was terrible. He would sit here on this podcast and tell you he's terrible, and I think Cyrus Jones is more athletic than Matthew Slater. I think -- I know for a fact, because I've seen it time and time again, the biggest leap not only in athleticsm but also in confidence is from year one to year two."

Jones admitted to the Baltimore Sun that his rookie was "hell." He added he felt "embarrassed." The 23-year-old cornerback said he didn't feel like he was a part of New England's Super Bowl LI win.

“Failure is another opportunity to begin again more intelligently,” Jones wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post.

Mayo seems to think Jones has learned his lesson, and will rebound with the help of Bill Belichick. And the Patriots may need Butler to be the most-improved player. Malcolm Butler's future with New England has become uncertain, and the remaining top cornerbacks are over 6-feet.

The Patriots need a slot corner. Jones is the next man up.

"As much as the media has kind of battered this young kid, Bill's going to boost him up this entire offseason," Mayo said. "Bill -- he's the best at putting lowlights up after a game . . . But during the offseason, he kind of -- it's individualized coach. He knows this guy's confidence is in the toilet. He's going to boost him up as much as possible.

"You know [Jones] can play football. He played in the SEC. He played on the top team on the country, and was a standout performer. So this is a confidence issue. This entire thing is a confidence issue, and I think they fix that."

Report: Patriots asked Seahawks about a trade for Richard Sherman

Report: Patriots asked Seahawks about a trade for Richard Sherman

PHOENIX -- The Patriots pulled off what many considered a surprise free-agent signing when they acquired corner Stephon Gilmore. As it turns out, before they picked up the former Bills cover man, they inquried about a separate move that would have been even more eye-opening. 

According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, ahead of coming to a deal with Gilmore, the Patriots were among the teams that spoke to the Seahawks about a potential trade for Richard Sherman.


During the NFC coaches breakfast on Wednesday morning at the Arizona Biltmore, Seattle coach Pete Carroll acknowledged that multiple teams have contacted the Seahawks about Sherman. But, Carroll said, "I don't see anything happening at all."

Sherman, who turns 29 next season, will make $11.431 million for 2017. He's due $11 million in the final year of his contract in 2018.