Second-year linebacker Dont'a Hightower said Wednesday that he will wear the communication device in his helmet and lead the New England Patriots' defensive huddle an important job previously held by linebacker Jerod Mayo who was placed on season-ending injured reserve.

As part of game-planning preparations for Sunday's road game against the New York Jets Hightower has met with defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and linebackers coach Pepper Johnson about the added responsibility.

"I'm looking forward to it. It's definitely something that I knew down the road if something ever happened that I would have to step up and do it" he said. "I'm not nervous about it. It's something I've done before maybe not in the NFL [but] I know everyone is behind me and they support me. That's all I can ask for.”

As for the specifics of the responsibility Hightower said it starts with preparation and knowing "what everyone has to do what position they have to be in.”

"Basically just being the quarterback of the defense" he said later adding that he alone can't fill Mayo's shoes: "That's something I'm not going to be able to do. I can't be Mayo. I'm Hightower. I can only do my job in the ways like I feel I should. There's all kinds of leadership so I'm not going to have to rock the boat and do something that I've never done before. I just have to keep the front-seven guys together and then hopefully those guys have my back on the back end."

Overall Hightower repeated that he still sees plenty of leadership on the defense mentioning players like linebacker Brandon Spikes defensive ends Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones and defensive backs Devin McCourty and Steve Gregory among others.