The loss of Jerod Mayo to season ending surgery on his pectoral muscle is a huge blow to a New England Patriots defense that has played well this year. With Mayo on the sideline, the question becomes who will make the defensive calls for the Patriots in place of the defensive captain.
As ESPNBoston.com reports, that man will be second year LB Dont'a Hightower. Hightower was aware of the possibility of him being tasked with Mayo's duties and he feels prepared.
I'm looking forward to it. It's definitely something that I knew down the road, if something ever happened, that I would have to step up and do it. I'm not nervous about it. It's something I've done before, maybe not in the NFL [but] I know everyone is behind me and they support me. That's all I can ask for.
As for stepping and replacing Mayo, Hightower was very humble and realizes that he won't be able to completely fill the shoes left by Mayo.
That's something I'm not going to be able to do. I can't be Mayo. I'm Hightower. I can only do my job, in the ways like I feel I should. There's all kinds of leadership, so I'm not going to have to rock the boat and do something that I've never done before. I just have to keep the front-seven guys together and then hopefully those guys have my back on the back end.
Hightower will likely be working with some combination of Brandon Spikes, Jamie Collins and Dane Fletcher for the remainder of the season. It will be interesting who replaces Mayo as the weakside linebacker between Collins and Fletcher.
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