October 17, 2013

Patriots Beat: Jerod Mayo won’t be easy to replace

Jerod Mayo’s injury will test the Patriots’ defensive depth.

(Continued from page 1)

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New England Patriots outside linebacker Jerod Mayo lies injured during Sunday’s game in Foxborough, Mass. Mayo’s loss is all the more significant because of the leadership he provided on the team.

The Associated Press

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JEROD MAYO

Quarterback Tom Brady was asked about handling the emotions of losing one of the team’s best players. He said, basically, that you can’t get emotional.

“You don’t want to feel sorry for yourself,’’ he said, sporting a bruise on his right cheek from a hit he took Sunday. “What you realize is somebody has to fill in and do the job. As much as you hate to lose guys, there’s nothing you can do about it and the season doesn’t end.

“You have to keep fighting on, just as they would want us to, just like they did when I went out (in 2008 with a knee injury), just like they did when guys like Rodney (Harrison) went out.’’

Brady then added, “Hopefully our execution on offense is better. That would take some pressure off the defense.’’

The Patriots’ offense has also been hindered by injuries. Tight end Rob Gronkowski has yet to play. Wide receiver Danny Amendola missed three games and may miss more after the vicious hit he took Sunday, knocking him out out the game. Running back Shane Vereen is on the short-term IR (which is why the Patriots couldn’t use that designation on Mayo).

But the defense has been hit especially hard lately, with Mayo and Wilfork gone, and cornerback Aqib Talib (perhaps the team’s MVP thus far) hampered by a hip injury he suffered against the Saints. Talib wasn’t present at the start of practice Wednesday.

The defensive injuries have hit the Patriots’ leadership more. Wilfork and Mayo were admired by the younger players for their willingness to teach.

Now the question becomes, who takes their place?

“Only time will tell,’’ said Mankins. “Someone has to.’’

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:mlowe@mainetoday.comTwitter: MikeLowePPH

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