Mayo: Outside noise has no effect on Patriots


Mayo: Outside noise has no effect on Patriots

You can't pick up a newspaper, surf the Internet, turn on the television, or listen to the radio without hearing it.

"The Patriots are in trouble!" "They can't play defense!" "They're flawed!" etc., etc.

Just how bad is it? Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran started his weekly 'Quick Slants' segment with Jerod Mayo by declaring that the Patriots were "making their run at Andrew Luck and the first overall pick."

Curran was joking, of course, but the point is that people around New England are panicking after the last two games.

Guess who doesn't care?

"I don't pay attention to you, man," Mayo told Curran after the Luck jab. "I don't pay attention to anybody out there except the people in that locker room and my coaches."

That's good, because "out there" isn't the happiest place right now. Gone are the days, at least right now, where Patriots fans go into a game confident they'll cruise to a win. But Mayo says that the only confidence they need is that of the people within the confines of their locker room.

"We have confidence in our teammates, we have confidence in our coaches," Mayo said. "Coach Bill Belichick has won a lot of games, so we have confidence in him especially."

That said, Mayo knows the defense has to get better. Last week was an improvement from the Pittsburgh game, but it was that last Giants drive that will stand out in everyone's minds.

"We're trying to get better each and every week," Mayo said. "We still have a young team but at this point in the season, we're halfway through the season, we have to get better. Hopefully we can continue to build on that success from last week and hopefully finish the game."

That doesn't mean pressing and trying to do too much, though.

"At the end of the day . . . you have to do your job," Mayo said. "Anytime you go out there and try to freelance and things like that you give up more plays than you make. So Coach Belichick has always preached to do your job."

As for the naysayers and doubters, Mayo and the rest of the Patriots aren't listening. You're either with them, or without them.

"It doesn't matter who has confidence in us as long as the guys in that locker room have confidence in each other," Mayo said. That's the mindset we have and if you don't pick us we don't care."

Speed to burn: Cooks, Brady team up to form most productive deep-ball combo


Speed to burn: Cooks, Brady team up to form most productive deep-ball combo

The first came in the second quarter, when Brandin Cooks turned on afterburners to beat a Raiders double team and glide underneath a Tom Brady heave for 52 yards. The second came in the third quarter, on the third play from scrimmage of the second half, when Cooks faked an out-route, jetted past rookie corner Obi Melifonwu, and sped into the end zone to make the score 24-0. 

Both deep completions in New England's 33-8 win over Oakland just added to cumulative effect that Cooks has had on the Patriots offense since arriving before the season to become their top deep threat. 

Paired with Brady, Cooks has actually become the most productive deep threat in the NFL. 


According to Pro Football Focus, Cooks leads all receivers with 431 yards on deep passes (throws that travel 20 yards or more down the field). In second place is Houston's DeAndre Hopkins with 313 yards. 

And Brady, who has long been more effective in the short-to-intermediate range than he has been deep, is now among the league leaders in creating explosive plays from the quarterback position. The Patriots are third in the NFL with 41 pass plays of 20 yards or more, and they are tied for second with nine plays of 40 yards or more. 

"You're always trying to work on that," Brady told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show of his team's deep passing game. "It's not one particular year [you work on it]. I think that's been a concerted effort by our entire offense, trying to make more explosive plays in the pass game. 

"Sometimes your offense is built differently. We actually have some guys now that can really get down the field so that becomes more of a point of emphasis. The way Brandin runs, the way that Chris Hogan runs, the way that Phillip Dorsett runs, they're very fast. You need to be able to take advantage of their skill set . . . 

"When we had David Patten we were throwing it deep. I mean, but David Patten didn't run a lot of short routes. I would say Brandin Cooks, in general, he doesn't run a lot of short routes. Everyone has a different role. If we can get by you, I think that's a good place to throw the ball. if we can't, we gotta figure out ways to throw it underneath and different weeks are going to call for different things based on the strengths of the defenses we're playing, too."

A week before beating the Raiders, against the Broncos and their talented corners, the Patriots had less luck pushing the ball down the field -- though they tried to hit Cooks deep multiple times. In Mexico City, Cooks matched up with a weaker secondary, and he wasn't at all slowed by the altitude, catching six passes in all for 149 yards and a score. 

Per PFF, Cooks has seen almost one third of his targets (30 percent) come on deep passes, which is the ninth-highest rate in the league. He's caught all 11 of his catchable deep passes, three of them accounting for scores.

"Obviously when you're throwing the ball 50-60 yards down the field," Brady said, "your chances of completion go down, but if you hit it, it ends up being a very explosive plays and you can change a lot of field position and get a defense really on their heels if they have to defend every blade of grass on the field." 


Belichick remembers Glenn: 'A good person with good intentions'


Belichick remembers Glenn: 'A good person with good intentions'

Terry Glenn, the Patriots' top draft pick in 1996, died early Monday morning in a one-car accident in Irving, Texas. He was 43. 

Bill Belichick coached Glenn as an assistant with the Patriots during Glenn's rookie season. He was later Glenn's head coach in 2000 and 2001. Belichick traded Glenn to the Packers before the 2002 season after a tumultuous run in New England that involved legal trouble, injuries and clashes with the coaching staff.

During a conference call with reporters soon after the news of Glenn's death was published, Belichick remembered Glenn for his natural physical ability and "a good heart."

"I was pretty close with Terry," Belichick said, "and his rookie season was my first year here in '96, and so I had a lot of interaction with him and other people that were involved in his life and his upbringing separate from the Patriots. Terry's a very smart individual. Had a lot of, obviously, a lot of physical skill and talent. Could do a lot of things on the football field very naturally. And I think he was deep down inside a good person with good intentions and, you know, a good heart. Obviously it's very unfortunate. Very unfortunate passing. I mean, it's a sad day. Sad news."

According to reports, Glenn was with his fiancee at the time of the accident. She's being treated at a local hospital for unspecified injuries.