Saturday, December 17, 2011
Patriots need to build around Jerod Mayo
By James Walker
The New England Patriots have secured one of their top young defensive players for the long-term. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports New England agreed to a five-year extension with linebacker Jerod Mayo.
It's a smart move by the Patriots, but it’s not nearly enough.
For the Patriots to continue their success, they must spend money, resources and top draft picks on the defensive side of the football. New England has the NFL’s worst-rated defense. But quarterback Tom Brady and the offense are so dominant that New England (10-3) is tied for the best record in the AFC and still has a chance at one of the top two seeds in the conference.
New England’s porous defense could hurt the team in the playoffs, but that remains to be seen. What is a fact is the Patriots need to get younger, deeper, faster and better at all three levels defensively in 2012 -- and it starts in the secondary.
Coach Bill Belichick has struggled drafting defensive backs the past few years. Former first-round pick Devin McCourty is having an awful sophomore slump and young safety Patrick Chung has struggled through injuries and inconsistent play. The NFL is a passing league and opponents will continue to exploit it.
The Mayo signing was a good start for this offense-heavy franchise. He will be a solid player in New England for many years. But the signing won’t matter much in the big picture if New England doesn’t add more talented defensive players around him.