Bill Belichick may have a method for his madness — at least when it comes to hiring young and relatively inexperienced assistant coaches.
Jerod Mayo was a guest this week on the “Pats of the past » podcast, and he spent part of the episode talking about his training philosophy. The 2008 first-round pick, who joined the Patriots staff as linebackers coach in 2019, said he’s not afraid to disagree with Belichick.
“I tell Bill what it is. I don’t sit there and agree with everything he has to say, and he doesn’t agree with everything I have to say,” Mayo said. “There is a mutual respect there. I see things a little differently. »
Mayo had eight seasons with the Patriots, recording over 100 tackles four times. With that kind of resume, it’s no surprise that Belichick listens to him, even when he disagrees.
But what about the others? The Patriots have an influx of green coaches, including Steve Belichick, who would share defensive coordinator responsibilities with Mayo (Brian Belichick is also on staff as a safeties coach). Nick Caley, the tight ends coach, is one of the most experienced assistants on staff. He has been with the organization for seven seasons.
Mayo says Belichick also listens to their voices and appreciates the rapport they have with the players.
“You talk about diversity, most of the time people just talk about black and white and skin color, but there’s also a diversity of thought,” Mayo explained. “There is a generational diversity. I think these things often go unnoticed when people talk about diversity. I think Bill has done a good job gathering people around him who can relate more to the players.
Belichick has been criticized for surrounding himself with his own children and other indebted followers. Placing Matt Patricia and Joe Judge in prominent roles only further fuels this perception.
But Mayo gives the impression that there are more differences between members of the coaching staff than you might think. There seems to be a youth movement going on in Foxborough.
This extends to the linebacking corps. The Patriots did not re-sign veterans Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower this offseason, opting instead to rely on a mix of second-, third- and fourth-year players.
Mayo says it’s valuable for young players to learn the game alongside their direct peers. “That’s the exciting part – the unknown,” he said. “We are going to go there as a unit, we are going to go there together. And, I would say, even right now not having some of these older guys in the room is good for the younger guys, because the older guys would be bored to death with some of the stuff that we’re talking about. At the same time, it forces young people to really take that step forward, to really grow and develop without being hampered by the experience of other guys.
Even though Mayo retired in 2015, he says he’s still learning too.
“I’m not a guy stuck in my habits. I am not static. I’m always looking for ways to grow,” he said. “Even when I’m talking to these college kids virtually, I’m like, ‘What did you call that?’ I’m trying to listen to these guys and I’m also trying to pick up some nuggets I’m not sitting here saying I have all the answers I know I don’t Or that even Bill has all the answers, and even he knows he doesn’t have all the answers, which is a good thing.Learning from other people outside of this building is always beneficial.
The whole podcast is worth it and features Mayo telling entertaining stories from his playing days (he says there was “icy silence” for two minutes when he met the Patriots at the NFL Combine). After listening, it’s easy to see why Mayo is being discussed as a future head coach. He is a bright and curious man, two qualities that every good coach should have.