According to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo isn’t expected to play again this season after tearing his pectoral muscle this past Sunday against the Saints.
Jamie Collins and Dane Fletcher will both have a chance at stepping in for Mayo.
In the Patriots’ base 4-3 defense, Mayo has mostly played the weak side, with Brandon Spikes in the middle and Dont’a Hightower on the strong side. Rookie Jamie Collins, the Patriots’ top draft choice (52nd overall), is a leading candidate to step in for Mayo. Four-year veteran Dane Fletcher, whose primary contributions have come on special teams, is another option.
Donta Hightower is another player that could take over for Mayo in certain situations.
Meanwhile, Hightower is the top choice to lead the huddle on early downs (he did so Sunday after Mayo left with injury), but because he sometimes doesn’t play in sub packages, the Patriots might consider other possibilities for that role.
Update: Mayo has been placed on season ending injured reserve.