Rob Gronkowski says Patriots have new Tom Brady, just not at quarterback

Netflix Is A Joke Fest's "The Greatest Roast Of All Time: Tom Brady"
Netflix Is A Joke Fest's "The Greatest Roast Of All Time: Tom Brady" / Elyse Jankowski/GettyImages

At the end of the 2023 season, significant changes were needed for the New England Patriots, many of which were long overdue. Although it can be argued that Bill Belichick being let go might not have been the best decision, the hiring of Jerod Mayo was Robert Kraft's clear indicator of a new era in New England.

It had been rumored that the former linebacker was being groomed to succeed Belichick in a few years, as he was moved into a more official role heading into last season. He sat in on coordinator interviews and attended more events, learning as much as he could before filling some big shoes.

But his time came a lot sooner than anyone expected, probably Mayo included, as Belichick was let go earlier this year.

Many have questioned Kraft's decision to promote the 36-year-old since he has only been a position coach and never a coordinator. However, several former and current Patriots players have shared glowing reviews of Mayo as not just a coach but also a man, with the latest being Rob Gronkowski.

Rob Gronkowski says Patriots have new Tom Brady, just not at quarterback

During his latest appearance on Julian Edelman's "Games With Names" podcast, Gronkowski spoke so highly of Mayo that he even labeled him the Tom Brady of the defense.

"Jerod Mayo was the Tom Brady of the defensive side of the ball."

This isn't the first time a player has discussed Mayo's intellect and deep knowledge of the game as a reason for his likely success as a head coach, which Gronkowski described in further detail.

The tight end and linebacker were teammates from 2010 to 2015, when Mayo retired, and Gronkowski got a close-up look at how he was on and off the field. He discussed how Mayo would call out offensive plays before they even happened, and he was always right, making their jobs a lot more difficult on the practice field.

It's just the basis of why he believes Mayo will thrive in his new role.

"Jerod Mayo was just a phenomenon on the football field with lining everyone up, and then also in the meeting rooms as well. He knew where every player needed to be during any situation that occurred on the defensive side of the ball. I mean, he knew how to read offenses. He knew when to call out plays, and he was always correct when he called the play out.

“He was just always alert, and you could always tell that was going to translate into the next phase of his life. So just a huge shout out to Jerod Mayo, just showing his coaching abilities, even when he was playing, but also when he was playing, that’s what made him a better player, too because it’s not all about how physical you are on the field, how talented you are. If you know where to be on the football field, that can make you a better player because you’re already in position to make the play.”

Even though Mayo is still in the early stages of his new career path, the countless positive reviews and optimistic views of what his future holds is music to Patriots fans ears after how poorly the last few years have been in Foxboro.

He's definitely not coming into a desirable situation and it might take a few seasons to rebuild the team and get back to being competitive. However, he has clearly already won over the team and they have made it clear they want to play hard for their new head coach.

Heart and determination can take a team far, even if it doesn't already result in wins. The good thing for Mayo is that the locker room is incredibly supportive and excited for this new era and will (hopefully) perform as such, helping him start his head coaching tenure the right way and live up to the hype he has received this offseason.

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