As the Patriots bye week appears on the horizon, more speculation regarding Bill Belichick's position as the team's head coach continues. Because New England will be facing the Colts in their first game in Germany on Sunday, there's some talk about it being the time for Robert Kraft to make a massive move and relieve Belichick of his duties ahead of Week 12.
Although that is possible, some close to Patriots circles don't believe it will happen mid-season. However, conversations about who may eventually become Belichick's replacement have ramped up, with a new name now making the rounds, according to one Patriots reporter.
The latest update on Belichick's job security comes from the Boston Globe's Ben Volin. At first glance, when you hear that name, many Patriots fans may immediately disregard what he has to say because of his questionable past reporting. But given the amount of rumors surrounding the job security of Belichick, it's at least worth considering in the conversation.
Volin alleges that sources have indicated higher-ups within the Patriots organization are all in on Mike Vrabel to be the Belichick replacement. Although he is currently the Titans head coach and signed an extension last year, New England believes they may have the chance "to pry him loose and bring him “home” to Foxborough."
"Two sources close to the Patriots have independently said the same thing: They believe Vrabel, currently the Titans’ coach, is the Krafts’ “home run” choice to succeed Belichick."
It would be an interesting choice to bring back another familiar face as the head coach, but it also calls into question the motives behind ensuring Jerod Mayo didn't sign elsewhere during the offseason earlier this year. The Patriots went above and beyond to keep the linebacker's coach in New England, even giving him a raise and seemingly giving him more duties as a part of the coaching staff this season.
Mayo turned down an interview he had already arranged with the Panthers for their vacant head coaching position to return to the Patriots for the foreseeable future. It was a move the Patriots made public in an uncharacteristic memo released on their website and social media.
Would they really do all of that just to bring in someone else to be Belichick's successor?
Perhaps they don't believe Mayo is the guy for the job at this very moment, as they likely assumed Belichick would be around for more years than being let go during or at the end of this season. But is he so far behind that they feel the need to hire a guy like Vrabel until they believe Mayo is ready?
It feels like an unnecessary controversy that is easily avoidable, especially when it's clear that Kraft truly admires and respects Mayo for all that he's done for the team over the years as a player and coach.
Regardless of what eventually happens, keeping an eye on Vrabel will be added to the list of candidates to watch for. Because the Patriots have historically been a team that tends to hire those familiar with them, it seems almost certain that's what will happen if Belichick is, in fact, let go by season's end.
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