Mayo: Pats passing on pass rusher says a lot


Mayo: Pats passing on pass rusher says a lot

By Tom E. Curran 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."

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Patriots bolster receiver depth by adding Brown to practice squad


Patriots bolster receiver depth by adding Brown to practice squad

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have added some receiver depth to their locker room by signing Da'Ron Brown to their practice squad. 

Brown, 25, was a seventh-round pick of the Chiefs in 2015 and spent his rookie season on the Kansas City practice squad. At Northern Illinois, the 6-foot, 199-pounder caught 155 passes in four years, accumulating 2,295 yards and scoring 19 touchdowns. He also rushed for two scores in his career. As a senior in 2014, he caught 68 passes for 1,065 yards. 

With the signing, the Patriots have filled out their practice squad. The team has had an opening on its 10-man unit since the Colts signed away receiver Devin Street for their 53-man roster.

With just four receivers on the Patriots roster, not including special teams ace Matthew Slater, they've loaded up on receiver depth through their practice squad with Brown, Devin Lucien and DeAndrew White.

Brissett, Garoppolo both practicing for Patriots on Tuesday


Brissett, Garoppolo both practicing for Patriots on Tuesday

FOXBORO -- The Patriots had both of their qurterbacks on the field and suited up for Tuesday's shells-and-sweats practice on the fields behind Gillette Stadium. 

Both Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (thumb) are dealing with injuries, but both were present for the session, as were the rest of their teammates on the 53-man roster. 

Brissett was spotted in the Patriots locker room before practice with no brace or wrap of any kind on his thumb, but he did have his right thumb taped when out on the field. 

Patriots tight end AJ Derby was the lone player in a black practice jersey, indicating that he has been named practice player of the week. Running low on quarterbacks, Derby may have served as the scout-team quarterback as the Patriots defense prepared for the Texans. He played the position at Iowa and Arkansas before changing positions.

The Patriots have four practices scheduled this week, and the team will release injury reports, as usual, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.