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Friday, October 14, 2011
Mayo still vocal in locker room

By Chris Forsberg

Jerome Davis/Icon SMIJerod Mayo's impact is still being felt inside the Patriots' locker room.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo might have disappeared from the public eye after suffering a left knee injury in a Week 4 victory over the Raiders, but his impact is still being felt inside the New England locker room, where teammates suggested the recuperating captain remains the voice of the defense.

"Mayo continues to be the leader he’s been since I got here -- helping guys out, doing all the little things he can do and I think he’ll continue to do that as a captain of this team," said defensive cocaptain and cornerback Devin McCourty. "Just talking to guys and his being there, having his presence."

Before stepping into a larger role in Mayo's absence, linebacker Gary Guyton noted last week that he hoped to sit down and talk strategy with Mayo, believing his advice would aid the ability to fill his shoes. Being able to lean on Mayo right up until kickoff is crucial for the Patriots, but safety Patrick Chung noted it's on the field where the team misses his voice the most, particularly in terms of defensive communication (Mayo wears the green dot and calls the defensive plays).

But Mayo's absence caused others to elevate their game -- and their voices -- last week. In that first full game without Mayo, the Patriots produced their best defensive effort of the season, limiting the New York Jets to 255 total yards in a 30-21 triumph last Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

"Not having a guy like Mayo on the field hurts your defense, but I think we did a good job [versus the Jets]," said linebacker Rob Ninkovich. "Everyone is stepping up, knowing that, without him, everybody has to step up. I think we've done that well."