Doug Benc/Getty Images
Patriots coach Bill Belichick offered praise for linebacker Gary Guyton.FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick said the team would reevaluate the health of injured linebacker Jerod Mayo on Wednesday and wouldn't offer a potential timetable for his absence during his press conference Monday at Gillette Stadium.
"I'm not sure exactly where things are at, we’ll see where we are on Wednesday," said Belichick. Pressed on a potential timetable, he added, "I’m not going to make a guess."
According to multiple reports, Mayo hurt the MCL in his left knee in the Patriots' 31-19 victory over the Raiders and could miss about a month. Mayo suffered the injury midway through the second quarter, needing attention on the field before being aided off the field by two trainers. He was unable to walk off the field with his teammates at halftime and was instead carted from the field.
Much of Belichick's confab with the media Monday centered around the inside linebacker position with a focus on Gary Guyton and Dane Fletcher, two players behind Mayo at that spot. Belichick did note that Guyton handled most of Mayo's responsibilities Sunday and noted the bond between those two linebackers aided Guyton's ability to step right in.
"Gary basically replaced Jerod in the regular defense -- we had some other guys in sub defenses and we had some different packages, but it wasn’t a Ferris Wheel of guys, there was actually was a plan there, believe it or not" said Belichick.
Asked about Guyton and Mayo's relationship, he added: "Gary and Jerod came in together, they're very close, personally and playing next to each other in there. They have great communication and both guys kind of can do what the other one does. They flip assignments and positions regularly on the defense just to change up the looks, just to have a different guy doing it -- within the structure of the defense, having different guys doing it to make the offense read it differently and so forth. I think Gary has good experience and he knows all the positions -- any inside linebacker part of the defense, regardless of what our front is and so forth, he’s pretty adept and he’s a real sharp guy."
Belichick also noted that Dane Fletcher had made a "big jump" from where he was when he arrived in New England, having settled in at the middle linebacker spot. Belichick later keyed in on Fletcher while discussing why he's emerged as fullback on short-yardage situations, noting that a fullback operates under a similar mindset to that of a linebacker in terms of seeing the holes in the line and attacking certain spots.
"I think Dane has taken a big jump from where he was last year," said Belichick. "Last year, he came in really as a converted defensive lineman. [He] made an impact for us in the kicking game. At other points in the year, [he] did some things situationally on defense. This year, he came in and played inside linebacker right from the beginning of the year. He’s way ahead of where he was last year. There’s just really no comparison. He got a good year of experience and he definitely built on that. He’s a smart guy, works hard, he’s in good condition, he’s a good athlete, runs well [and] he’s physical."