Very rarely in the NFL can an entire defense depend so much on a 23-year-old, but in the case of the Patriots and Jerod Mayo, that’s exactly the situation. So much so that Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com said that losing Mayo to injury is similar to another key loss in recent Patriots history.
“When I look at the Patriots’ defense, if you took one player away from that and said, ‘Who would be the equivalent of Tom Brady on the offensive side of the ball?’, I’d pick Jerod Mayo,” Reiss said on Wednesday’s edition of SportsDesk.
Talking with Cole Wright, Reiss said that filling Mayo’s void for the next six to eight weeks won’t be an easy task at all for the Patriots, pointing out that the defense had to switch from a 3-4 to a 4-3 alignment once Mayo left Monday’s game.
“You don’t fill [Mayo’s void] with one player. Really, you have to actually start talking about changing schemes,” Reiss said. “They’re really concerned about their depth at linebacker. They went to the four-man line. Gary Guyton, a second-year linebacker is going to have to play more, as he did against the Bills, and they’re really going to have to shuffle some things around. This is a very significant loss.”
Reiss’ appearance can be seen below, with part two available here.