We all know change is coming for the New England Patriots. Coming off an incredibly disappointing 8-9 season, with seemingly more questions now than at the start of the season, how could it not?
We’ve heard all about the ineptitude of Cam Achord on special teams, and the many candidates for the offensive coordinator position. But there’s a man on the defensive coaching staff who is almost as important as any of those new hires that will be coming in.
Jerod Mayo an incredible asset for New England Patriots
We all remember Jerod Mayo from his playing days. Two Pro Bowls, one First Team All-Pro, and of course one magical Super Bowl. But now, he’s coaching the Pats linebackers, and he’s doing a heck of a job.
Here’s what the Patriots official website says on Mayo:
"Jerod Mayo began his coaching career as inside linebackers coach with the New England Patriots in 2019. Under Mayo’s tutelage in his first coaching season, Dont’a Hightower earned his second career Pro Bowl nod after the eight-year veteran totaled 71 tackles… as part of a defense that finished No. 1 in the NFL in total defense (275.9 yards per game) and scoring (14.1 points allowed per game)."
That’s great stuff, but honestly what he did this year was even more impressive. We knew what Dont’a Hightower, a former first round pick, was before Mayo got here. This year, he turned Ja’Whaun Bentley, previously a perpetually out-of-position liability who could only play on running downs, into the Patriots’ most important linebacker.
That is some true magic, and it wasn’t just Bentley. He also managed to get much more than expected out of Jahlani Tavai, who made several key pass deflections and other plays down the stretch for a defense that was tasked with keeping the New England Patriots in the game week after week.
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Jerod Mayo should be a New England Patriots lifer
A first-round pick in 2008, Mayo only played for the Pats before he retired in 2015. Four years later, he joined the coaching staff in 2019, and has only coached for the Patriots. Seeing him in another team’s colors would really sting. But over the past few years, his name has started to pop up in coaching rumors around the league.
Simply put, the New England Patriots cannot and should not let Mayo leave for a Defensive Coordinator position elsewhere. If a team out there offers him their Head Coach position, good for him, and he should take that. But with the state of the Patriots defensive staff, they can ill afford to lose him to a position that he should already have here.
Let’s look at the defensive staff. Right now, the Pats have as many defensive coaches that played in the NFL (one, Mayo) as in Major League Lacrosse (also one, cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino). Their defensive line coach was a wide receiver in college. And finally, they’ve got more of Bill Belichick’s kids (two) than playoff wins in the last four years. Yikes.
New England Patriots absolutely need Jerod Mayo
Here’s the bottom line. Players love Mayo because he’s played in the league, he isn’t one of Bill’s handpicked nepotistic hires, and he’s a tremendous coach. He’s a breath of fresh air and reality on a staff that is severely lacking that outside of him. That’s the type of guy that teams need to keep around.
This year’s defensive signal caller, Steve Belichick, who admittedly has turned into a good coach himself, isn’t a flight risk. As long as dad is here, he’ll be here. But Mayo has the chance to leave if he wishes.
So Bill needs to do the right thing and do whatever it takes to keep Jerod Mayo around, because on a team that is going to rely on its defense, he’s a key cog on the coaching staff. Whether it’s giving him the Defensive Coordinator title, or simply giving him a pay raise, Bill needs to do it- NOW!