Jonathan Jones agrees with frequent Bill Belichick criticism

New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers
New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Despite the overwhelming number of changes the Patriots are undergoing this offseason, the fans and the team are very excited as they look to the season ahead with more optimism than they have over the last few years.

It's an unexpected reaction after losing legendary head coach Bill Belichick, but this seems like the right year for significant changes to the historic franchise, with Jerod Mayo building an entirely new staff and hopefully a roster, as well.

That may be partly why there is a different feeling surrounding the 2024 team, which would typically not be so exciting after finishing the season with just three wins. Yet, Mayo's early decisions and immediate moves are things Belichick was strongly criticized in recent years for not making. So, they've inevitably added a new vibe to this traditionally considered "un-fun team."

Jonathan Jones has been one of the more vocal players regarding the head coach's departure and Mayo's promotion, sharing his outlook for the upcoming season. As someone who has experienced the highest of highs with the Patriots and now the lowest of lows, the cornerback is well in tune with New England and what the team needs moving forward.

He spoke about this offseason during an appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Zolak and Bertrand" last week. When asked about the new style that Mayo will bring as the head coach compared to what the Patriots became known for under Belichick, he didn't shy away from Belichick's potentially outdated approach that younger players don't relate to anymore.

Jones reiterated what has been said about the 71-year-old this offseason, mainly because he was unsuccessful in landing a job with another team, and he believes Mayo will be the right guy for the job at the right time because of his different attitude and relatability to those he's coaching.

“I think they want to be related to. I think when I came in it was, ‘Show up, do your job.’ And that worked. That worked for a while. That worked for a very, very long time, but this generation, I don’t think that works for them. So I think (Jerod) Mayo is in a space where he can connect with guys — this younger generation — but at the same time, he’s a leader. When he’s in a room, guys listen to him.”

Discussing the age difference between Belichick and Mayo as a factor that may help younger coaches in today's league is a valid point and seems like an honest assessment of what newer players would prefer. But at the same time, Belichick's no-nonsense has brought the Patriots so much success, separating him from the various "players coaches" over the last two decades.

There is certainly a way to go about things that make you liked yet respected in the locker room, and it seems like Mayo has established that already with the defensive players he's coached over the years. It will be a new test for him as the head coach, though, while hoping to sign players in free agency.

It will genuinely be a trait that could benefit the Patriots for years or be the reason for their demise. Let's hope his relatability and New England background will be the perfect pairing as the new era begins.

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