3 Offseason Moves That Could Backfire on Patriots

Jan 17, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo (L) and owner Robert
Jan 17, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo (L) and owner Robert / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
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1. Head Coaching Search

Let me preface this: Jerod Mayo can very well be the right choice as head coach for the New England Patriots, and he could be a great coach in this league for a long time. That being said, New England's lack of a robust head-coaching search was pure negligence.

In January 2023, the Patriots extended then-linebackers coach Jerod Mayo amidst reports that Mayo would be interviewing with the Carolina Panthers for their head coaching position. Intent on keeping Mayo in New England, Kraft conceived a transition of power plan. In principle, Kraft's plan would allow Bill Belichick to finish his career with the Patriots by coaching two more seasons, pass Don Shula as the winningest head coach in NFL history, and ride off into the sunset with Jerod Mayo as the heir apparent. Unfortunately for Kraft, that plan didn't quite play out like the fairytale script he had envisioned. Obviously, Kraft likely didn't foresee the 2023 Patriots going 4-13 and having to move on from Bill Belichick so soon, but he and the organization unnecessarily painted themselves into a corner.

If New England went through a comprehensive head coaching interview process and Mayo still came out as their lead candidate, so be it. For once, the Atlanta Falcons are a franchise that should be applauded, in this particular instance. The Falcons interviewed 14 different candidates for their head coaching vacancy this offseason. Among those 14 were notable names such as Jim Harbaugh and Bill Belichick, and ultimately the Falcons moved forward with Raheem Morris. That exhaustive approach is how New England should have tackled their own head coaching search.

Kraft's rationale for the lack of a robust search? His "instincts". Kraft's instincts would feel significantly more reliable if he had actually entertained a single other candidate.

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