It's only been a few weeks since Jerod Mayo was named Head Coach by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Kraft has not exactly been on a roll with good decisions over the past few years, and that's an understatement. The most egregious gaffes were allowing the rift between Bill Belichick and Tom Brady to go unresolved and then sanctioning Brady's departure.
Yet, it already looks like promoting Jerod Mayo may be one Kraft got right. The question can be legitimately raised: how can it be alleged that Mayo's hiring was good when he hasn't even coached a practice, never mind a game? That's a fair question.
But there are clear signs that the future could be very bright for the Patriots in the post-Belichick era with Jerod Mayo at the helm of on-field operations. The off-field front office issue is a horse of a different color and requires a separate evaluation. But so far, all seems very good from Mayo, and here's why.
Jerod Mayo's s internal hiring was a really good one
As someone critical of Bill Belichick's insular nature in coaching selections and front office hiring, how can it be said that hiring a coach from the inside was a good thing? Again, that's a legitimate question. The coach in mind is Demarcus Covington, the new Patriots' defensive coordinator. Here's why it's a great hire.
For starters, Mayo is a defensive coach first and foremost. All of his coaching experience is on that side of the ball. So why Covington? The reason Covington's a great hire is that they've worked well together in the past. He shares Mayo's defensive football philosophy, and they will continue to fit together nicely on the side of the ball that is in good shape and can perhaps get even better.
Maintaining continuity on defense, the team's best aspect, in this case, by retaining a good coach and providing him with a great opportunity, is an astute move by Jerod Mayo. They say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it. " Mayo and Covington together will ensure that Mayo's ideas on defensive football remain intact and be augmented by the youthful Covington. It's a top hire that makes perfect sense.
Pats' defensive lineman Dietrich Wise Jr. had this to say about Covington, as reported by patspulpit.com, in a very positive comment,
“DeMarcus Covington is a very intelligent coach,” the veteran defensive lineman told MassLive. “Being able to read offenses and he’s always been able to break down other teams to be prepared for them. He’s a very intelligent coach. Very passionate coach. Loves to give speeches to the team and get everybody fired up.”
Mayo's offensive coaching hires hit paydirt and demonstrate a critical characteristic
Mayo's decision to go outside the comfortable Belichick "tree" for his offensive hires also makes perfect sense. The offense was a disaster in 2023. Nothing worked. Making a clean break there was exactly what was required, and Mayo hasn't hesitated to do what had to be done to bring in new coaches with fresh ideas.
The two crucial new outside hires, Alex Van Pelt as the Offensive Coordinator and Ben McAdoo as an offensive assistant bring years of experience and a wealth of knowledge about players and systems. That will be of immense value to the rookie Head Coach. It's exactly what was called for.
Whether you agree with the people hired or not, Mayo's going outside demonstrates an ability and willingness to improvise and make changes when and where they are necessary. In this case, it's on offense. A whole new regimen and approach on offense were as essential as the new players who'll be drafted and signed to implement them. Here, Mayo astutely demonstrated he's adaptable and willing to make must-have changes to his inherited dysfunctional situation.
And finally, all of the above signifies a critical factor that is evident in Jerod Mayo's assumption of the reigns of the New England Patriots' on-field operations. That is, he's his own man. Mayo is making his own decisions and is not tied to the past for the past's sake. Those days are in the rearview mirror for Mayo, and that's precisely where they should be.
Staying inside for the defensive coordinator, going outside for the offensive coaches (and special teams), and making key decisions expeditiously yet thoughtfully are all very positive steps. They signal confident and decisive decision-making in Foxborough by Head Coach Jerod Mayo.
One thing also has to be echoed: the general manager, whether named or de facto, will have a monumental impact on Jerod Mayo's tenure as Head Coach. He'll either deliver the good players Mayo will need or not. Yet, that's another issue altogether.
For now, though, one thing is clear: Jerod Mayo "gets it," and the beginning of his tenure as New England Patriots Head Coach has been off-the-charts impressive. Getting off to a good start was important, and Jerod Mayo gets an A+++ grade here. He's aced his first important coaching decisions, and the future is undoubtedly looking up in Foxborough.