Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about Thursday's preseason loss to the Giants and the season outlook as the regular-season opener approaches. Mayo said the critics of this Patriots defense only serve to inspire the players.
"You definitely have to use it as motivation," Mayo said. "I try not to get into all the media and the callers and stuff like that. At the same time, you still hear the things. You use it as motivation. They said the same thing last year. They kind of bashed our defense. But we still ended up fifth in scoring defense in the league. Even though we had a couple of bad games — you take away a couple of those bad games last year, we would have been up pretty close to the top. At the same time, we have to go out every week and prove the doubters wrong."
Mayo said one the keys for the defense is to get more pressure on the quarterback. "I think we need to get to the quarterback a little bit more. Put a little more pressure on the quarterback, don't give him as much time to make all his reads back there," Mayo said. "I think we're doing a pretty good job as far as stopping the inside run, even though the ball's bounced out a couple of times. That's another thing we need to improve on, the outside. Overall, I think we're pretty confident in this scheme and ready for Week 1."
Mayo talked about what it's like being a leader of the defense at such a young age. "It's a little awkward going into your third year being a leader," he admitted. "At the same time, I welcome the challenge. A lot of the guys look up to me as far as communication the field, as far as going out there and getting everybody on the right page. It's something I enjoy doing. It's not a problem at all. We still have some good players on the team. We still have some good leaders on the team that have been here longer than I have. Vince Wilfork's been here for a long time. We just want to go out and do our job and get it done."
Fellow linebacker Brandon Spikes made headlines this week when his sex video made its way across the Internet. May discussed how the rookie is dealing with the notoriety. "He came to me, as a matter of fact, before it all came out and talked to me about it and asked me what he should do," Mayo said. "I told him, 'Just handle it like a professional. You're not in college anymore. You're in the NFL. You have to handle these things and take it in stride and get over it. This week we're playing the Cincinnati Bengals. That has to be the only thing on your mind going into the game.' "
Added Mayo: "He definitely was embarrassed about it. He had a whole lot of remorse as far as the whole situation went. But at the end of the day, you can't take it back. Hopefully, he'll get over it and be ready to play.
"It is a lesson. In this day and age, technology is all over the place. There's always a camera phone, there's always a camera or whatever. You have to be careful with things. You never know what's going to happen. Just conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times, especially in the public eye, and you'll be fine."