FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When it comes to first impressions, rookie linebacker Dont'a Hightower has made a positive one on captain Jerod Mayo.
"Dont'a, he's kind of an old soul, kind of the same thing that they said about me when I came in," Mayo said Monday night at the team's kickoff gala.
One area of note was how Hightower had the communication device in his helmet, leading the huddle in the second preseason game against the Eagles. That reflected Hightower's command of a challenging defensive scheme, which Mayo said he handled well.
Last Friday in Tampa, the Patriots paired Mayo (weakside), Hightower (strongside) and Brandon Spikes (middle) as their top linebacker trio for the duration of the first half, and into the second half. That looks like a strong group for the defense, possibly one that could eventually rival some of the great linebacker corps of Patriots past.
"I love it, those guys flying around, making plays, and it's just fun, when we're healthy, when we have all those guys out there and playing well," Mayo said. "Hopefully that continues throughout the season.
"Everyone brings their own strength to the game. Brandon, he has the hard head, and Hightower can do a little bit of everything, and so can I. They bring energy to the game and you can't ask for anything more."