Tag:Jerod Mayo
Posted on: January 13, 2011 1:24 am
Edited on: January 13, 2011 12:29 pm
 

Patriots vs. Jets: 7-Point Divisional Preview

Posted by Andy Benoit



CBSSports.com's patented and award-winning 7-point preview gets you ready for each and every playoff game. As an added bonus, check out our playoff podcast preview:



1. New York Jets (No. 6, AFC, 12-5) @ New England Patriots (No. 1, AFC, 14-2)

The regular season’s undisputed champion begins the final chapter for a fourth Lombardi Trophy by hosting the preseason’s self-proclaimed undisputed champion. The Jets are responsible for one of the Patriots’ two losses on the season (Week 2 at the New Meadowlands), though revenge was already administered by the Pats in that 45-3 November Monday night thumping.

Still, you can bet the Patriots will come out focused and hungry (or with something to prove or with a chip on their shoulder or whatever hollow cliché you prefer). These AFC East foes both know their opponent and, after the Jets stifled the Colt offense by refusing to blitz Peyton Manning, are capable of debuting a freshly-minted, never-before-seen gameplan for this decisive rubber match.

2. PLAYOFFS?! Watchability Ranking



On the field, the Patriots are the most interesting team in football once again. Off the field, the Jets are, so it's a near-miss Five Mora Face ranking.

3. Key Matchup to Watch: Jets run offense vs. Patriots run defense

In that Monday night thrashing, Tom Brady carved up the Jets by exploiting their iffy nickel and dime backs (Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery). Confident and fond of his defense as he may be, Rex Ryan knows that the best way to slow Brady this time will be to keep him off the field (just like the Jets did during the second half against Manning).

You control the ball by running. The Jets stayed on the ground 38 times for 169 yards at Indianapolis. Of course, there is a considerable difference between running against the undersized Colts front seven and running against the oversized unit of the Patriots. Normally, the Patriots prefer to align Vince Wilfork in the opponent’s favorite run gap. Against the Jets, that would mean putting the “325-pounder” at left defensive end. Of course, the Jets may be less inclined to follow their usual “run to the right” formula now that tackle Damien Woody is on IR.

For matchup purposes, Bill Belichick may be tempted to put Wilfork outside so as to capitalize on the mismatch against Woody’s replacement, Wayne Hunter. Hunter is a superb athlete but he hasn’t always shown consistent raw power. However, Mike Wright and Ron Brace’s trips to injured reserve depleted New England’s depth up front. Veteran end Gerard Warren has been a decent starter alongside rotating rookies Brandon Deaderick (seventh-round pick), Kyle Love (undrafted) and Landon Cohen (undrafted), but with these men starting, the Patriots have been less variegated with their front-three looks.

If Wilfork remains at nose tackle, expect the Jets to run away from him – i.e. outside. Because tight end Dustin Keller is a glorified slot receiver (not unlike New England’s Aaron Hernandez), Brian Schottenheimer may be inclined to bring Robert Turner off the bench for more six-man offensive line formations. Even if the Jets can win in the trenches, their running backs still must make plays against the athletic Patriot linebackers. Usually Nick Mangold is at the second level to help pave a path, but Wilfork will give him more to deal with than most nose tackles.

Beating New England’s linebackers is a tall order for the Jets runners. LaDainian Tomlinson is coming off his best career playoff game, but neither he nor Shonn Greene has the quickness and elusiveness to make a beast like Jerod Mayo miss.

4. Potentially Relevant Video

For all the denigration of the Jets after the Sal Alosi episode, you might want to take a look at this seven-year old video of Bill Belichick’s crafty sideline ploy against Marvin Harrison.



5. The Jets will win if ...

Mark Sanchez (the franchise’s all-time winningest postseason quarterback, believe it or not) is more accurate than he was last week. That’s not all, of course (not even close). New York must bog down in the red zone (figure they won’t be able to prevent Brady and company from racking up yards between the 20s) and shift field position at least twice (via special teams or a forced turnover).

6. The Patriots will win if ...

Brady gets in his usual rhythm working out of the shotgun spread (a formation that naturally limits the presnap disguises that Ryan’s defense is built around).

7. Prediction: Patriots 31, Jets 20



Posted on: January 11, 2011 4:04 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2011 4:13 pm
 

Belichick puts clamp on Pats players talking?

Posted by Will Brinson



It's Patriots-Jets week, which means plenty of talking. At least from Rex Ryan's crew anyway -- Ryan tried to move the rivalry from the field and into the minds of the respective coaches, citing the "personal" nature of the matchup between he and Bill Belichick. (Of course, he's already said that he came to the Jets to "kick [Belichick's] ass, so there's that too.)

Unsurprisingly, Belichick didn't take the bait, and he's apparently ordered a bit of a media gag on his players re: sparring verbally with the Jets.

"Definitely," Jerod Mayo said, laughing, when asked if Belichick had warned the Pats players about engaging the Jets. "That's why I'm hoping no one asks me those kinds of questions."

Alge Crumpler pointed to the similarity between the teams and their respective coaches.

"Here we go," Crumpler said about hearing Ryan's initial comments. "I thought we’d get a few days before the banter starts. But it is what it is. Like I said last time, they take after their coach, we take after our coach."

So, yeah, this is how things should be until the Patriots and Jets kickoff on CBS (and random reminder: if you're tweeting about the game, throw the #onCBS hashtag; you might land yourself a special little retweet) at 4:30 PM EST Sunday.

The Jets will talk -- a lot -- and the Patriots won't talk -- a lot. Then they'll play football. The only difference, as usual, is that if the Jets lose, everyone will remind them how much of a bluster they put up beforehand.

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Posted on: November 21, 2010 6:02 pm
 

Collie leaves game with concussion symptoms

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

On the same day he returned to the field from a concussion suffered two weeks ago, Colts WR Austin Collie has left the game with more concussion symptoms.

Collie caught five passes for 60 yards in the first half, but he got jostled a bit by the Patriots defenders, including a head shot from Jerod Mayo, and he started feeling the affects of a head injury. At this point, it’s unclear if he’s suffered another concussion or if his symptoms are the aftereffects of his previous head injury.

For the second half, he’s on the sidelines in street clothes.

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Posted on: October 14, 2010 11:35 am
Edited on: October 14, 2010 12:27 pm
 

Key Matchup Week 6: Ravens O vs. Patriots D

Posted by Andy Benoit

Thanks to the Randy Moss and Deion Branch trades, we’ve read plenty of analysis lately about the Patriots offense. (Quick two cents here: what does Branch give the Pats that Wes Welker and Julian Edelman do not? Also, now that the Pats are ostensibly back to their dink-and-dunk offense, doesn’t the loss of Kevin Faulk look even more significant?)

But what about the other side of the ball? Do the Patriots have a good enough defense to win without an explosive offense? The football gods were kind enough to provide New England with a Week 6 opponent that should provide an immediate bottom line answer to that question: Joe Flacco and the Ravens. Or maybe we should say Ray Rice and the Ravens. Or Anquan Boldin and the Ravens. Or Derrick Mason and the Ravens. Take your pick – that offense is loaded.
R. Rice (US Presswire)
We all remember what happened last time the Ravens visited Foxboro: Ray Rice’s 83-yard touchdown on the game’s opening play proved to be a harbinger of one of the most thorough beatdowns in wild-card history. The Ravens rushed 234 yards on 52 attempts in that 33-14 route.

Let’s start there: can Baltimore dominate New England on the ground again this Sunday? Ray Rice is fully healthy after battling a sore knee in late September. Rice’s compact running style and innate feel for pressing a hole and setting up blocks evokes memories of Emmitt Smith. Like Emmitt, Rice can make lateral cuts without halting his downhill momentum or sacrificing his strength (this latter trait is what separates Rice from an explosive-but-situational player like, say, a Jamaal Charles).

The Patriots have outstanding athletes at inside linebacker. Jerod Mayo, at his best, is as good as any player in the league (ever seen the way he slips and sheds blocks?). And rookie Brandon Spikes, though not fast in terms of 40 time, closes on tackles with tremendous speed. That said, it’s a tall order for any player to match up with Rice.

What’s more, Rice has the benefit of an outstanding supporting cast. The Ravens refer to the classic power run game more than any team in the NFL. They’ll use an overloaded line with versatile Marshal Yanda lined up next to Michael Oher, making tight end Todd Heap the offensive tackle on the weak side of the formation. This is a tactic teams use when they know they’re flat-out stronger than an opponent. Rice is capable of moving a pile, though the Ravens have even better options in Willis McGahee, who has shown far more burst than his numbers indicate, and Le’Ron McClain, who you could argue is the AFC’s version of Brandon Jacobs (the Brandon Jacobs of a few years ago, that is).

The Patriots would have welcomed a power run approach back when they had Richard Seymour, Ty Warren and outside linebackers who could actually set the edge against the run. The secret key to New England’s success in the 3-4 has been having ends that can win the power battles in the trenches. Just how important are the ends in Bill Belichick’s scheme? Important enough for coaches to frequently move the best nose tackle in football, Vince Wilfork, outside this season.

Wilfork’s de facto position change reveals just how desperate the Patriots are at defensive end. The starter opposite Wilfork is Ron Brace, a second-year player who was inactive for most of 2009. The other option is Gerard Warren, a journeyman veteran who has spent his entire career as a 4-3 defensive tackle.

With four games in the books, the Patriots rank 20th against the run. The Ravens rank 14th in rush offense, but there isn’t a soul out there who believes they’ll be outside the top 10 come season’s end.

The difference between this Ravens offense and the one that demolished the Patriots back in January is that this Ravens offense can consistently throw. The additions of Anquan Boldin, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and rookie tight end Ed Dickson have accelerated the already-steady development of Joe Flacco.

The Ravens, in a good way, are still trying to figure out roles for all their receivers. The Patriots, in a bad way, are still trying to figure out roles for all their defensive backs. New England’s No. 2 cornerback slot has been a revolving door. Undrafted second-year player Kyle Arrington has been the most recent guinea pig there. Before him, it was Darius Butler. Jonathan Wilhite and Terrence Wheatley have also been considered before. The No. 1 corner job is held by Devin McCourty, a first-round rookie who has had natural ups and downs thus far.

The Patriot corners have all struggled in press coverage. And, thanks to surprisingly inconsistent safety play – because of freelancing, Brandon Meriweather has gone from Pro Bowler to nickel defender – the entire secondary has been vulnerable in Cover 3, one of the Belichick’s favorite zones.

The conventional thinking would be that New England needs to pressure Flacco. But when your outside linebackers are Rob Ninkovich and Jermaine Cunningham (who captured a starting job because Tully Banta-Cain is a major liability as a playside run defender), the only way you pressure a quarterback is by blitzing.

A blitz would quickly define the read for Flacco and allow him to fall back on his arm strength. The Patriots may be better off taking their chances with rushing three and dropping eight. This would force Flacco to think and make decisions. The Patriots also want Flacco to have to make throws down the middle of the field, where he occasionally tends to misread coverages.

Of course, all this is based on the assumption that the Patriots can force the Ravens into third-down-and-long situations. And everything we know about the run matchup in this game suggests that third-and-long won’t happen often.

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Posted on: September 17, 2010 3:59 pm
 

Mayo not buying Revis hamstring soreness

Posted by Andy Benoit

Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo doesn’t believe what he hears about Darrelle Revis’ sore hamstring. It was mentioned to Mayo on the WEEI Dennis and Callahan Show that the Jets cornerback might be faking the hamstring injury.

“When I saw that story, I thought the same thing. Look, he’s healthy, he’s 100 percent healthy. I’m not buying into that,” Mayo said.
Asked if he would want the Jets to know if he was at less than full strength, Mayo said, “I wouldn’t want anybody to know. For him to come out looking like that, it’s just a decoy. So then everybody can be like, even if he goes out and has a great game, everybody will be like, ‘Oh, he’s the greatest, he has a tender hamstring, he’s coming out, running back sticks and stuff like that. I’m not buying into that.”

What went unsaid is that Revis’ last hamstring injury was a negotiating ploy (remember when Revis sat out during minicamp?).

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Posted on: July 7, 2010 12:21 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2010 12:37 pm
 

Position rankings: inside linebackers

P. Willis celebrates (US Presswire) Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit resume their debate, with today’s focus on inside linebackers.

Josh Katzowitz’s top five

5. Jonathan Vilma, Saints

4. London Fletcher, Redskins

3. Ray Lewis, Ravens

2. Brian Urlacher, Bears

1. Patrick Willis, 49ers


Unlike our 3-4 and 4-3 outside linebackers list – which, frankly, weren’t easy to put together, because there just aren’t many stars at those positions – we’ve hit a motherload of talent at the inside linebackers spot. 

Willis seems pretty clear cut to me. He has the phenomenal statistics, he’s proven he can play the run and the pass equally well, and he’s still only 25. He’s going to be a dominant linebacker years into the future. It’s hard to believe Urlacher has been in the league since 2000. His 2008 season was unimpressive (by his standards), and he didn’t play most of last year. But is he still a top-two ILB? Yes.

Lewis is still very, very good. But he’s lost a step, and he’s not quite as feared by offensive coordinators as he once was. Notice the “not quite.” He can still rush a passer, and he still clogs up the middle of the Ravens defense, but he’s not a machine anymore and he has a tougher time in pass coverage. Though Fletcher is 35, he’s coming off one of his better seasons and he finally made his first Pro Bowl last year. Vilma racks up the statistics, in part because he’s easily the best LB on the team. But without him, the Saints might not have won the Super Bowl.

Andy Benoit’s top five

5. DeMeco Ryans, Texans

4. London Fletcher, Redskins

3. Ray Lewis, Ravens

2. Brian Urlacher, Bears

1. Patrick Willis, 49ers


I figure our editors wouldn’t appreciate me responding to your top five with a simple “ditto," but what more can be said? I’d love to debate you about Urlacher – I’m sure more than a few readers will disagree with us – but I think his instincts are second to none. I’ve heard of a few players around the league privately criticizing Urlacher’s toughness – word is he’d would rather side-step a lead blocker than attack him square on – but I simply haven’t seen that on film.

I have no problem with Vilma being top five. I chose to go with Ryans because I thought he finally made more tackles near the line of scrimmage last season. Of course, I realize Ryans had better players around him and didn’t lead his defense to the postseason.

What’s most impressive about Willis is the way he’s improved in coverage. That was a weakness for him as a rookie. He also made more big plays in the backfield last year.

Fletcher and Lewis are machines. It’s remarkable the way they make their teammates better.

Since we’re in agreement here, want to expand to top eight? My next three ILB’s are: 6. Jerod Mayo (struggled with injuries last season but was, in my opinion, the best inside linebacker in all of football as a rookie in ’08) 7. Bart Scott (arguably the most versatile inside ‘backer in the game) and 8. David Harris (a thumper against the run). I’d put Vilma at 10, though again, tell me he’s five and you won’t get a very passionate debate.

Josh’s rebuttal

I really don’t see how one can argue at this point that Urlacher is better than Willis. Urlacher is on the downside while Willis continues to climb. The only question I have: will Willis consistently reach the level at which Ray Lewis has played for so many years as one of the best middle linebackers of all time? Time will tell. I accept your top eight challenge. 6. Ryans (I like him too, especially because his physical tools aren’t that great – he’s not big, and he’s not all that fast. He just makes plays). 7. Barrett Ruud (he disrupts plays in the middle of the field and has consecutive 135-plus tackle seasons). No. 8 Curtis Lofton (He has a chance to be a star, and the foundation for the Falcons defense. He hits hard and does well vs. the run and the pass.) I’ll reserve judgment for Mayo until after this season, but I agree that he’s a top-10 guy.

Andy’s final word

Okay good, we’ll get a debate here after all. I’m sick of everyone cramming Barrett Ruud down our throats. Ruud is nothing more than an average player (and I hesitate to even honor him with that distinction). He isn’t physical at the point of contact, he lacks ideal speed and agility, and his instincts are good but not great. I don’t understand how the middle linebacker for the league’s worst run defense (Tampa Bay allowed 158.2 yards per game on the ground last year) can get so much love. Yes, Ruud makes tackles, but most of them are miles downfield. There’s a reason the Bucs haven’t given him a long-term contract.

Feel free to argue back (we got away with going past the “final word” in the 3-4 outside linebackers debate, we can push the envelope again). I’m curious what kind of specifics a Ruud supporter can drum up.

Josh’s rebuttal to the final word


Your criticism of Ruud not doing much more than tackling runners downfield is not a new one. Ruud hears it as well. From a recent St. Petersburg Times story: "I read that I make all of my tackles seven yards downfield. But a lot of times, a tackle seven yards downfield is a great tackle, because you can keep a guy from going 60 yards. When I evaluate the great linebackers of the NFL, I see a lot of guys making tackles seven yards down the field. They're making a great play when a guy looks like he's about to break it outside.''

You might say that’s a cop-out, but he tells the truth there. Sometimes, it’s not about making the fabulous play that will get you on a highlight show. Sometimes, it’s about stopping the other guy from doing so.

The argument of not giving him a long-term deal holds no water with me, because of the impending lockout and the fact that hardly anybody is getting long-term deals this year. And now that the Buccaneers have made a commitment to their defense by drafting DT Gerald McCoy and Brian Price, that only will help Ruud – who, as I said, does a nice job causing havoc in the middle of the field even without the help of a defensive line who can disrupt a play up front. Plus, coach Raheem Morris calls him “The General.” That’s a pretty sweet nickname.

Andy’s final, final word

If Ruud is “The General”, he’s a lot more McChrystal than Petraeus. The Bucs denied Ruud’s contract request last year, even though they were well under the salary cap and focusing on securing young building blocks. Sure, a tackle downfield is certainly better than no tackle at all. But the reality is this topic never comes up with the Ray Lewis’s, Brian Urlachers, Patrick Willis’s and perhaps even James Farriors of the world. Again, the Buc run defense that Ruud spearheaded last season ranked dead last.

(Other positions: Safety | Cornerback | 3-4 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Punter  | Kicker | 4-3 Scheme Outside Linebacker )

--Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit

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