Last week I wrote about the monumental challenge facing the Patriots: replacing Jerod Mayo. One of Mayo's most pivotal contributions to the defense was wearing the "green dot" on his helmet, indicating that his helmet contains a communication device and he is responsible for the play-calling on field.
|(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images/Via ESPN.com)|
This is a crucial role and one that Mayo had mastered after his many years leading the Patriots defense. When he went down, the dot was passed on to fellow backer Dont'a Hightower, who was responsible for playcalling during the team's loss to the Jets last week.
That game was not Hightower's finest hour. He looked out of place and utterly confused on a number of plays, and the defense as a whole was out of sorts, getting diced up by Geno Smith through the air and on the ground. This week against the Dolphins, the dot was no longer on Hightower's helmet, having been passed along to Steve Gregory.
Whether the change was a result of a poor showing by Hightower, or simply a preference based on the match-up, or both; the defense looked better vs. Miami with Gregory at the helm than it did in the Meadowlands.
Ironically, Gregory is the one who accidentally ended Mayo's season with a hard collision attempting to take down Darren Sproles.
Gregory, who has 32 total tackles on the year, has emerged as a solid veteran player for the team and solidified himself as the starting safety alongside Devin McCourty, downplayed the significance of his new found role (Quote from Masslive.com)
“It was fine, we all know our calls and understand our defense. I just happened to be the guy this game who was communicating it to the guys,” Gregory said. “We did it collectively as a group. It’s not that big of a deal, I don’t think.”
The article also states that Hightower did maintain some playcalling responsibilities. But, at least for the time being, Gregory is the main with the dot.