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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Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

Ravens safety Weddle was interested in joining Patriots before landing in Baltimore

FOXBORO – Back in March, Eric Weddle batted his eyes longingly at the Patriots. The two-time All-Pro safety’s time was done with the Chargers and he wanted to spend his NFL autumn with a team that had a chance to win it all. 

He didn’t land in New England, but he didn’t too badly, winding up with the usually competitive Ravens.  

On a Thursday conference call with New England media, Weddle confirmed that there was mutual interest expressed. 

“Obviously, I was interested,” he acknowledged. “I have nothing but high regard, respect and admiration – and envy, quite honestly – of the success of the New England Patriots over the years. Obviously, battling them in my career, it’s always been a great game. I love the way they play, love the foundation, love everything about it. It was definitely on my radar. There were talks both ways, it just didn’t end up [working out].”

The numbers massed at the position with Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon played a role in the two sides not being able to reach accord, according to Weddle. 

“I’m good buddies with Patrick Chung,” he said. “I grew up playing with him and Devin [McCourty] is one of the best to play, so I don’t know if it would have worked out personnel-wise. But obviously, I could have seen myself fitting in there seamlessly.”

Weddle’s New England attraction apparently wasn’t love that bloomed late in his career. Toward the end of his conference call, Weddle said, “I’m still wondering why they just didn’t draft me in ’07; I could have been still playing there now.”

As reporters puzzled for a moment trying to recall the 2007 first-rounder, Weddle chipped in with the answer: “[They took] Brandon Meriweather.”

Raiders' loss to Chiefs puts Patriots in AFC driver's seat

Raiders' loss to Chiefs puts Patriots in AFC driver's seat

FOXBORO - The Patriots got a desired outcome Thursday night when the Chiefs handed the Raiders their third loss of the season. 

The 21-13 loss dropped Oakland and KC into a tie atop the AFC West at 10-3 but the Chiefs, by virtue of beating Oakland twice this season, have the divisional tiebreaker. Oakland went from the top seed in the AFC to the fifth spot.

More importantly around here, the Patriots now are in position to win out and claim the AFC’s No. 1 seed. 

Prior to the Raiders loss, Oakland would have been the top seed if both they and the Patriots won out.  Now, the 10-2 Patriots have a leg up on the rest of the conference. The Raiders’ road stays tough. They are at San Diego and Denver and host the Colts. 

The Chiefs have a more favorable close to the season with home games against Tennessee and Denver before their season finale at San Diego. 

The Patriots’ road over the final four is no picnic though, beginning with the Ravens and at Denver before the last two hosting the Jets and traveling to Miami.