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.

Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

patriots_bill_belichick_112016.jpg

Ohio State LB on Belichick: 'When you first meet him, you're scared'

Even for some of the nation's top athletes, confident 20-somethings with the rest of their (perhaps very lucrative) lives ahead of them, there's a feeling you just can't shake when Bill Belichick walks into the room. 

"When you first meet him, you're scared," said Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan, per WBZ. "He's quizzing you. It's like a little test. But after you get done with the test, the quiz or whatever, drawing up the defense, it's pretty cool. They're real down to earth people. Really cool."

Belichick was spotted at Ohio State's pro day getting a closer look at McMillan and his teammates on Thursday. He then headed off to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Wolverines showcase Friday.

During various scouting trips across the country, the Patriots appear to be showing significant interest in the incoming class of linebackers. Belichick spent some extra time with Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham -- who's projected to be a first-rounder -- at his pro day. The team reportedly scheduled a meeting with a speedy linebacker from Cincinnati. And Matt Patricia caught up with Notre Dame linebacker James Onwualu once his workouts finished up on Thursday. 

As for McMillan, the 6-2, 240-pounder was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten choice. He's instinctive, but there's some question as to whether or not he has the strength to hold up inside at the next level.

PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

patriots_aaron_hernandez_020315.jpg

PODCAST: Dan Wetzel on the Aaron Hernandez double-murder trial

Tom E. Curran has Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports as a guest to discuss the Aaron Hernandez double homicide trial. Wetzel has been in the courtroom, and wrote this piece about the day Hernandez’s former friend Alexander Bradley testified in court. 

After speaking with Wetzel, Curran has Tim Rohan of MMQB.com on to discuss his day with ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

SUBSCRIBE iTunes | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | AudioBoom

Quick Slants The Podcast is presented by Papa Gino’s.