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BOSTON (CBS) – With Jerod Mayo expected to miss up to a month with a sprained MCL, the New England Patriots are looking to their other linebackers to fill the void.
On Sunday, it was Gary Guyton who stepped in for Mayo. Not only did Guyton take his spot in the field, but took Mayo’s play-calling duties as well.
After falling in the depth chart to start the season, the Patriots are ready to have Guyton step up once again in Mayo’s absence.
“Gary has had a big role in our defense over the last three years, and I’m sure he’ll continue to. He’s done a good job and done various things,” said head coach Bill Belchick on Monday. “I think Gary’s got good experience; he knows all the position in the inside linebacker part of the defense.”
Guyton put together a solid 2010 campaign, compiling 63 tackles and three sacks. He recovered a fumble and had two interceptions, on that he returned for a touchdown in New England’s season-opening win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Although he is not the big name or impact player like Mayo, the two share a lot of the same skill sets according Belichick.
“Gary and Jerod came in together, they’re very close personally,” said Belichick. “They play next to each other, had great communication. Both guys can kind of do what the other guy does. They flip assignments and positions regularly to change the looks.”
In addition to Guyton, linebacker Dane Fletcher could see an increase in his responsibilities. The converted defensive lineman has already show the Patriots a big improvement from 2010, and they are hoping that trend can continue.
“Dane has taken a big jump from where he was last year. He came in as a converted defensive lineman… this year he came in and played inside linebacker right from the beginning of the year,” said Belichick. “He’s way ahead from where he was last year.”
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“We have a lot of confidence in Dane, so I’m sure whatever we ask him to do he’ll work hard on that,” said the Patriots coach.
Tune in to the Patriots-Jets game Sunday at 4:15 pm on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV. Tune in to Patriots Gameday at 11:30am on WBZ-TV and The Sports Hub’s pregame coverage, beginning at 1:00 pm. After the game tune in to the Postgame show on 98.5, and to Patriots Fifth Quarter on MY TV38.