Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jerod Mayo should return

GROUNDED: Pats trainers tend to...
By Ian R. Rapoport

FOXBORO - The knee injury suffered by Patriots [team stats] linebacker Jerod Mayo is not believed to be season-ending, coach Bill Belichick said yesterday.

Belichick did not provide additional details, but according to a league source, Mayo has a sprained medial collateral ligament. A timetable is not yet clear.

Mayo, the reigning AP defensive rookie of the year, crumpled to the turf Monday night against the Bills with a right knee injury during the first quarter. He walked off, but did not return.

Asked if the injury would end Mayo’s season, Belichick said, “I don’t think that’s what it is. (Today) when we have the (injury) report, I’m going to advise you with the details.”

This would mesh with the account given Monday to the Herald by a teammate, who said Mayo told him it “is nothing serious.”

If Mayo, who was to have an MRI yesterday, cannot go, the Pats likely will adjust in the same way they did Monday and shift Gary Guyton to inside linebacker.

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees said the team always has contingency plans.

“What if? plans,” Pees said. “If somebody goes down, you put the backup in or move somebody over or up and go with it. We certainly could’ve handled some things better, but it is hard when a guy hasn’t practiced that position all week. For the most part they understand what to do, it’s just a matter of recognition.”

Director of player personnel Nick Caserio said, as always, if the situation warrants, the team is open to signing another linebacker.

“You try to address them on an as-needed basis,” Caserio said, “and we’ll evaluate what the alternatives might be.”

Brady honors

Following a much-celebrated return to football after missing most of 2008, Pats quarterback Tom Brady [stats] was named the AFC offensive player of the week.

Brady went 39-of-53 for 378 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the 25-24 win against Buffalo.

And a lot of people watched it happen, too. According to ESPN, the game earned a 10.3 rating, representing an average of 10,224,000 households. It was the largest audience for any program on cable television in 2009.


Receiver Randy Moss revealed the fact Brady told teammates late in the fourth quarter they would complete the 11-point comeback. And thanks to two touchdowns to Benjamin Watson [stats] sandwiched around a forced fumble on special teams, they did.

On WEEI radio, Brady explained.

“When you look in that huddle and you see all those guys and you understand the situational football we’ve worked on for the entire offseason and training camp, you know there is a lot of confidence,” Brady said. “What you have to do is you have to execute. Those last two drives, we were finally executing.”

Brady was confident in his team’s ability to perform in the two-minute offense, and he wasn’t alone. Caserio believed in the team’s preparation.

“The amount of time that we spend on situational football (is often discussed),” Caserio said. “There are a number of repetitions and you do it over and over and over. As a group, you feel confident with that particular situation. When you actually have to go out there in a game situation, there’s some carry over.

“Tom’s confident. The rest of our players are confident.”

No worries

In his first game as a Patriot, veteran receiver Joey Galloway had zero catches. He was only targeted twice in 53 attempts by Brady.

Yet Caserio, a former receivers coach, said Galloway’s time will come.

“Obviously, (Monday), he didn’t have any catches,” Caserio said. “But from an assignment standpoint, he did everything right. He was open. The ball just went other areas. That happens every week. We feel very comfortable with where Joey is at this stage.”


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