Mayo says self-sufficiency will help Patriots

191543.jpg

Mayo says self-sufficiency will help Patriots

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
When the lockout ends, the teams that were best able to self-start during the 2011 offseason will have a significant advantage.

Jerod Mayo thinks the Patriots will be in that group.

Asked Tuesday on WEEI's Big Show about the team's ability to be self-sufficient, Mayo told me, "I think we're close to the top, to be honest with you. Coach Belichick really instills that work ethic when you're a rookie coming in. You have to learn the Patriot way and the Patriot way is do the right thing when no one's looking. You have to have that mental toughness and I think for the most part this team has that."

Since March, Mayo's been the lead organizer of workouts in Foxboro with trainer Brian McDonough. This is an off-week for the group but Mayo says the "dozen or so" players taking part will continue to do so until the start of training camp.

"After keeping in contact with the rest of my teammates, I think guys have been working hard. But at the end of the day, you won't know the kind of shape guys are in until they get to Foxboro. When the deal does get done, you have to take a look and see the kind of shape they're in and proceed from that."

And Mayo points out that the incoming rookies will have a mountain to climb inlimited time.

"It sets them back a little bit," Mayo said when asked how the lockout will impact the young players who haven't had contact with the coaches. "I learned a lot coming in as a rookie just being around the older guys. Not only being with (linebackers coach Matt Patricia) but being with (Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel). Just being around them Ilearned how to play football, how to be a professional on and off the field. How to watch film, watching the previous year -- even though you're a rookie you still watch the previous year -- doing things like that you learn a lot about the system, you learn a lot about your teammates and just the overall camaraderie is missing right now. It's going to be a crash course when they get here. Itkind of puts them behind the 8-ball a little bit."

In contrast, Mayo said he's expecting a big jump from guys entering their second year at the linebacker spot: Brandon Spikes, Jermaine Cunningham and Dane Fletcher.

Mayo, like the rest of us, remains in a football holding pattern as the two sides try and hammer out an agreement.

"I'm basically assuming that everything gets worked out," he explained. "These guys have these deadlines and hopefully something gets done before the deadline comes and we start training camp on time. I was living and dying with it but it was like an emotional roller coaster. Now I'm just waiting for the big news. I'm not a diehard watcher right now. I'm drained from the roller coaster ride we've had along the way."

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

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

President-elect Donald Trump made sure to thank a few of his supporters from New England -- particularly those at 1 Patriot Place -- during a speech on the eve of his inauguration to the nation's highest office. 

Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady all earned shout-outs from Trump. Kraft was one of many Trump donors present for a dinner at Washington, DC's Union Station, where he was singled out by the soon-to-be-president. 

"In the audience we have somebody that's under no pressure whatsoever because he's got a great quarterback named Tom Brady and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft," Trump said. "Good luck, Bob.

"Your friend Tom Brady just called. He feels good. He called to congratulate us. He feels good. Good luck. You're going to do great."

Trump gave one extra nod to Belichick, who he says taught him to out-work his competition. 

"I out-worked everybody," Trump said. "I think I out-worked anyone who ever ran for office. I learned that from Belichick."

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have signed free-agent tight end Rob Housler to a future contract. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound target last played for the Bears but was released at the end of training camp.

Housler won't be eligible to participate with the Patriots during the postseason, but he will be available for the offseason program and training camp leading up to the 2017 campaign. 

Housler taken in the third round by the Cardinals with the 69th overall selection in 2011. In 65 career games, he has 109 catches for 1,166 yards and one touchdown. 

The Patriots may have been intrigued by Housler's skill set last summer when he caught one pass for 52 yards -- making two Patriots defenders miss in the process -- during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots and Bears held joint training camp practices in August that would have given Patriots coaches and scouts a closer look at everything Housler has to offer as a player. 

Housler was one of the better athletes at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2011, running a 4.55-second 40-yard dash (fastest among tight ends), posting a 6.9-second three-cone drill, and recording a 37-inch vertical leap.

Bill Belichick and his staff hit big on a future-contract signing two years ago when a running back with a significant injury history was available to scoop up at the behest of then-assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi. Since then, the Patriots still have never lost with Dion Lewis in uniform.