Jerod Mayo Confident Patriots Will Learn 4-3 Scheme in Time for 2011, Excited Fellow Tennessee Alum, Albert Haynesworth, Has Joined New England’s Defense

August 22, 2011 – 5:45 am by Steven Cuce

Jerod Mayo, like Tom Brady, is still reeling from the New England Patriots home loss to the New York Jets in last year’s AFC Divisional Round. Bill Belichick has been retooling the defense with younger talent in recent years with an eye on implementing a 4-3 scheme. Despite the lockout and its effect on preparation time this offseason, Belichick is moving forward with the transition. Jerod Mayo, the NFL’s leading tackler in 2010, will still be a centerpiece in the new 4-3 attack. Mayo looks to lead by example for his teammates. Having learned from the likes of Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, and Rodney Harrison, Mayo has absorbed the veterans’ advice about how to lead by example and anchor a championship defense.

Jerod Mayo joined WEEI in Boston to discuss playing outside linebacker in the 4-3 scheme, the New England Patriots defense attacking more in the new 4-3 scheme, being the leader of the Patriots defense this season, his impressions of Albert Haynesworth, and whether the lack of mini-camps and OTAs will keep the Patriots from being fully transitioned to the new defense by the start of the 2011 regular season.

Give us your impressions of the second preseason game and playing in the outside linebacker position in the 4-3 scheme?

“It’s been different for me every day at practice. Coach Belichick has been putting in different things each and every day. We have been just trying to see what works and last night some things worked well for us, so we’ll go back to the drawing board and take those good things out and work on the bad plays and see what happens.”

Do you feel the defense is attacking more after the second preseason game in the new 4-3 scheme?

“All week the coaches have been telling us how fast of a team Tampa Bay was and things like that. We wanted to attack them and try to slow them down and that’s what we did last night. We did a good job doing that.”

Are you more of a leader on this defense now? Are you a more vocal guy or lead by example type?

“I just try to lead by example. I was groomed by Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel and those guys. Rodney Harrison and those guys had tremendous careers. I pretty much tried to become a sponge and learn all I could from them on-and-off the field. Those guys have really helped me in my career. I’m just trying to apply the things they told me to my career today.”

What do you see from being around Albert Haynesworth?

“He’s a great guy. What can I say? He is a Tennessee Vol man. Both of those guys are Tennessee Volunteers [Albert Haynesworth and Shaun Ellis]. It’s always exciting getting a little more orange and white around here in New England, but I’m very excited to have those guys and as soon as they get out on the field lets see how they fit into the defense.”

Do you think there is a good chance this defense will evolve in the learning process and become comfortable before the season starts?

“Oh definitely and thats why we are going out here working hard each and every day in training camp. We are still having these long practices and trying to get everything right. Like you said we didn’t have the OTA’s and didn’t have the off season we normally would have to install these types of things, but at the same time we are all working hard trying to get better. I think the practice will continue.”

Listen to Jerod Mayo on WEEI in Boston here

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