Just last week, many NFL pundits questioned whether the New England Patriots could win the AFC East with their defense playing so inconsistently. The Patriots’ defense silenced some of their critics by taking it to the Jets in a 37-16 thrashing last Sunday night. The defense’s performance was highlighted by some big defense plays in the second half, including a Rob Ninkovich 12-yard interception return for a touchdown to cap off the game.
New England may have the 32nd ranked defense in terms of opponents passing yards, but none of that matters to Jerod Mayo. The Patriots linebacker is focused on the Kansas City Chiefs for Monday Night Football this week. Mayo and the NE defense will square off against Tyler Palko, who will make his first NFL start on Monday Night Football in place of the injured Matt Cassel, who went down with an injury to his throwing hand in Week 10. Palko has played in the UFL, CFL and now the NFL. One would think Palko comes at the perfect time for New England and they should be able to expose this mismatch. Jerod Mayo joined WEEI in Boston with Mut & Lou to discuss the win over the New York Jets last week being the team’s best defensive effort of the year, his thoughts on the Jets losing to the Denver Broncos last Thursday with Tim Tebow leading the way, how he believed that Tim Tebow would make a good NFL quarterback after playing against him in college, preparing for a quarterback in Tyler Palko who the Patriots defense doesn’t know anything about, what film the Patriots defense has watched on Tyler Palko and the game against the Kansas Chiefs being a “trap” game.
Was the game against the New York Jets the best defensive game you guys have played so far this year?
“I think…yeah complete game. We played well at times. It’s a work in progress. We try to get better each-and-every week and anytime you have new faces you have to get use to playing with those guys. As soon as we get some continuity we’ll be fine.”
Did you catch the Jets-Broncos game on Thursday night? Are you caught up in the Tim Tebow mania being an SEC guy?
“I didn’t even get a chance to watch a lot of the game last night. Actually I was focused on the Chiefs and studying that film, but Tim Tebow is doing good. He’s a great quarterback and they are winning games, so I am focused on the Chiefs right now. I gotta worry about that.”
Did you catch Tim Tebow your last year at Tennessee?
“Yeah I played him twice. [Host: When you played against Tim Tebow in college did you think I am watching a guy that is going to be a quarterback in the NFL?] He’s a winner. No matter if he throws the ball one time a game – if he can win you the game. As he proved in college he is a valuable asset. “
With Matt Cassel going down how hard is it to be prepared for Tyler Palko? Palko has 13 attempts in his NFL career. How difficult is it preparing for a quarterback that you just don’t know much about?
“It’s difficult, but at the same time his skill sets are pretty comparable to Matt Cassel. They do the same type of things. He can run. He can throw the ball, so like you said it is a little difficult not having as much film on him, but at the same time the schemes won’t change because they are pretty similar style.”
Have you guys watched film on Tyler Palko from the UFL and other places he had to play to get ready for this game?
“We have just been watching a lot of preseason film and we know he is a lefty, so like I said they have pretty comparable skill sets.”
After showing the New York Jets they aren’t the beasts of the AFC East last week do you view this game against the Kansas City Chiefs as a “trap” game after the big game against the Jets?
“I don’t think so. I think the coaches have done an excellent job all week making sure we are prepared and focused on this upcoming game. We are through with the Jets. We were through with the Jets the day after. We’re on to Kansas City and I think that is the right mindset to have.”