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New England Patriots Links 4/25/11 - Patriots Captains Keeping Players Accountable

Mike Reiss catches up with Jerod Mayo recently to discuss a variety of off-season topics.

How much responsibility do you feel to keep everyone together because you're a captain?
"I don’t think it’s more responsibility, but at the same time, you have to keep everyone accountable. I know Vince [Wilfork] is calling guys, and I know Tom [Brady] is e-mailing guys and calling guys. Everybody is holding each other accountable. Right now, it’s what team can beat the lockout. It’s kind of 'you against the lockout.'"

For you personally, what steps would you like to take in 2011?
"Just continuing learning the defense, making more adjustments on the fly, just the overall communication between the young guys and some of the older guys. We have a young defense, and we’re all trying to learn. I think that’s the one thing with the lockout, it kind of hinders you from doing the things you need to do at OTAs [organized team activities] and the minicamps and things like that. At the same time, I’m staying in communication, making sure guys are learning the defense still, and hopefully we’ll be ready to go."

How can this defense get better?
"We lived off turnovers last year. We can’t give up as many yards as we did last year. We have the talent. For me personally, it’s me getting everybody in the right position every play. There can’t be that one play or things like that. We have to be more consistent."

We hear a lot about the first-to-second year jump. How will that affect players like Brandon Spikes, Jermaine Cunningham and others?
"I think it will affect them as much as they let it affect them. They have the film, they have the equipment to get things done, and I know those guys are taking it serious trying to make that second-year leap."

Shalise Manza Young talks with Bill Belichick and notes that the Patriots haven't altered their approach to the Draft even though this year it comes before free agency opens.

"I don’t feel like we’ve ever gone in saying, ‘We have to draft this position, draft that position,’ ’’ said Belichick. "It’s definitely a different process and position to have not signed the six or eight free agents from our team [or] another team at this point. I think it makes your roster look a little bit different, but I think draft-wise, you have to get the best players for your team."

"If there’s value there, that’s great, but if you try to force players into positions you end up having to look for the same players the next year. We’ll go through the same process and try to draft the players that we think will help our team the most. But it is different in that free agency hasn’t happened yet.’’