FOXBOROUGH -- If you think Patriots inside linebacker Jerod Mayo spent the off-season polishing his NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award, you'd be sadly mistaken.
Since the Patriots season ended following a 13-0 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 28, Mayo has been home just once. He has spent the rest of his time in Foxborough working out and watching film.
Just like the Patriots couldn't get Mayo off the field his rookie season, they can't get him out of Gillette Stadium this off-season.
"I don't think I'll ever be satisfied," said Mayo, who led the Patriots in tackles last season, credited by coaches with 139. "I'll always feel like I can get better. I play with a chip on my shoulders and that's how I live my life as well, wanting to prove the doubters wrong. You'll have to force me out of here. Lock the doors or something."
The 23-year-old Mayo is hoping to make an even bigger impact this season than he did as a rookie, when he was a starter at inside linebacker from Day One.
The scary thought for Patriots' opponents is that Mayo said he didn't really fully grasp the Patriots defensive scheme last season. He said he was thinking, not reacting, and using his athleticism to cover up mistakes.
"To be honest, I feel like I can get so much better," Mayo said. "Last year I felt like the season I had was ok, but I felt like I could have made so many more plays, big plays especially. I've just been watching the games from last year and [working] in the weight room, just trying to get better and learn from these vets."
Making more "big plays," is something Mayo seems intent on doing in 2009. He was well aware of the fact that he had only one forced fumble and one fumble recovery last year, as well as no interceptions. With a greater understanding of the Patriots' 3-4 defense, he plans on making more of those game-changing plays this season.
"Yeah, most definitely," he said. "Playing linebacker those are the types of things that you're expected to do -- make interceptions, force fumbles and things like that. That's one aspect of my game that I'm looking forward to improving this year. The expectations I have for myself are to do those things, and that's what I expect to do this year. "
While the outside linebackers in a 3-4 defense are put in position to be pass rushers and not the inside linebackers, Mayo also said he'll be prepared to blitz more this season.
What's he's not prepared to do is rest on his rookie season. It's just not in his DNA.
"I spend most of my time here," said Mayo. "Even in college I did the same thing. They would have to give me, 'Get out of here. Get out of the weight room. Give your body a rest.' It hasn't really changed that much."