When Jerod Mayowas a Tennessee Volunteer a couple of years back, he faced the original Wildcat offense in an SEC game versus the Arkansas Razorbacks.
That team featured a pair of current NFL tailbacks – Oakland's Darren McFaddenand Dallas' **Felix Jones *– who could take the direct snap from center and either run the ball or throw it.
Last season as a rookie, Mayo saw the Miami Dolphins borrow from the Arkansas playbook in their Week-3 burial of the Pats here at Gillette.
"I had seen it before, but at the same time, anytime you have a guy like Ronnie Brownlining up at quarterback, it's difficult," Mayo told reporters Thursday.
This Sunday, he'll see what he believes will be a new and improved version of that same offense, with Brown and fellow running back Ricky Williamsassuming the McFadden-Jones roles.
"Miami has taken it to a new level now with the many formations and many runs," Mayo observed.
Given his college experience against the Wildcat, what can he draw from that to apply to this Sunday's game?
"Nothing at all," he insisted. "The Dolphins have taken the Wildcat to a new level, taking the quarterback out of the game. It's different."
Yet, in New England's second game versus Miami last season, the Pats did a noticeably better job of shutting down the Wildcat. Was patience the key for the Patriots defense?
"I wouldn't say patience, I'd say discipline," Mayo replied. "If everybody does there job, we'll be OK.
"If you watch the first game last year, we had problems tackling. Hopefully, we'll do a better job this time around."
Rookie corners … again
Two games ago, against Tennessee, the Patriots receivers faced two rookie cornerbacks. The result: Randy Moss and Wes Welkercombined for 18 catches, 279 yards, and five touchdowns.
This week, the Dolphins trot out another pair of rookies at the cornerback position. However, Welker cautioned against comparing the two scenarios and expecting the same outcome.
"It's a different situation. The front seven they have and the type of break ability those corners have, it's going to be a challenge for us," he maintained. "They've got a veteran-type team and they're playing good football. We're going to have to bring our best game just to have a chance to win."
Welker praised the skill and performances of Vontae Davis(5-11, 203) and **Sean Smith *(6-3, 214).
"Yeah, they're big guys. The one guy, Smith, is 6-3. Davis is a good-sized guy, athletic. They're guys that are hungry and we'll definitely have our hands full against them.
"If you watch them on film, they've gained a lot of confidence as the year's gone on. They're really starting to understand the defense and what the coaches want them to do. They're doing a great job and we're going to have to play well."
Thursday locker room/practice notes
The Patriots donned shells and sweat pants for Thursday's workout on their training camp fields behind Gillette.
The same six players who weren't on the field Wednesday were again absent today: rookie WR Julian Edelman, RBs Fred Taylorand Sammy Morris, CB Jonathan Wilhite, DL Jarvis Green, and LT Matt Light.
CB Shawn Springs, who wore Wilhite's number 24 jersey at practice on Wednesday, was back in his own 29 jersey today. Asked about the switch in the locker room, Springs offered a vague reply which didn't shed much light on the subject.