Mayo quick hits: Struggles helped us

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Some sound-bites from defensive captain Jerod Mayo's Wednesday news conference:

On how the Patriots have changed since losing to the Giants in Week 9: “I think just getting guys back healthy, first and foremost. Getting [Patrick] Chung back, getting [Brandon] Spikes back, and being able to play with the same group of guys for a couple weeks, which is an extended period for this team this year. I think that’s the main thing for us.”

On whether the Patriots’ defensive struggles ultimately made the unit better: “Yeah, it helped develop our mental toughness, all the stories that you guys were writing [laughs]. It helped build our mental toughness and at the same time it helped our versatility, being able to put different players in the game and doing things like that. I think it really helped us.”

On the Giants’ late-season momentum: “Any time you can develop confidence like that it plays a huge role in the outcome of the game. Whether it’s a drive, a single play, or throughout the season, anytime you can get that ball rolling in a positive direction you’re going the right way.”

On whether Bill Belichick has changed at all in Mayo’s four years with the Patriots: “One thing about Coach Belichick, he is who he is. He hasn’t changed one bit. No matter how many games we win or lose, he’s the same guy. And that’s what makes him a great coach, just that consistency.”

On Eli Manning: “He’s playing football as good as anyone right now, so it’s kind of hard to fool him, per say. You just have to try to go out there and limit him, to be honest with you. The way he’s playing right now, he’s on fire. You just have to go out there and try to contain him.”

On full-pad practices, like the Patriots had today: “I love it. I love pads. Football’s meant to be played in pads. I know a lot of guys are like, ‘Ah, I hate pads.’ I like pads.”