Patriots Assistant Could Be Next Head Coach from Bill Belichick’s Tree

Getty Josh Uche

Joe Judge and Matt Patricia got their opportunities to be head coaches after serving as assistants on Bill Belichick’s staff with the New England Patriots. Both are now back with the organization after disastrous stints with the New York Giants and Detroit Lions, respectively. Brian Flores did a solid job with the Miami Dolphins until he was fired this offseason setting off a wave of accusations and an investigation into fishy behavior.

Josh McDaniels is in his second stint as a head coach as the Las Vegas Raiders lured the former Patriots offensive coordinator to Sin City this offseason. He didn’t fare well on his last head-coaching opportunity with the Denver Broncos (11-17 record). Perhaps the second time around, McDaniels will perform better.

Current Patriots assistant and former player Jerod Mayo might be the next guy from Belichick’s much-discussed coaching tree to get his shot at being a head coach in the NFL.

Mayo made The Athletic’s ’40 under 40′ list identifying the most promising young front office and coaching personnel in around the NFL.

Lindsay Jones of The Athletic wrote: “Job titles are nebulous in New England and Bill Belichick is reluctant to share specific details about who does what with the Patriots’ defense. It’s clear, though, that league power brokers view Mayo as a future head coach despite the fact he has been an NFL assistant for just three seasons.”

Mayo has interviewed for head-coaching opportunities each of the last two offseasons, but he has hasn’t secured an offer just yet. However, his playing experience, intelligence and leadership seemingly make him an outstanding candidate.

“Mayo, who played for Belichick for eight years and retired after the 2015 season, interviewed with the Broncos and Raiders for their head coaching vacancies earlier this year,” Jones wrote. “He’ll likely be a popular candidate in future hiring cycles as teams look for coaches similar to Tennessee’s Mike Vrabel — cerebral, strong leaders who relate well to players.”

How Much Longer Will Mayo Have to Wait For His Chance?

It seems it’s only a matter of time before Mayo secures one of the next available jobs in the NFL. McDaniels used the development of rookie quarterback Mac Jones as a means to strengthen his resume. Because the Patriots operate without a conventional defensive coordinator, it may be hard for some to measure Mayo’s impact. However, NFL front offices should be able to evaluate Mayo (who is seen as the Patriots’ defensive playcaller) much like Flores, who came from a similar situation in New England before he landed in Miami.

If the Patriots’ defense ranks in the upper echelon of the NFL in 2022 and we see breakout performances from players like Josh Uche, Kyle Dugger, Christian Barmore and Raekwon McMillan, Mayo stands to receive a good portion of the praise for his work with the unit. If New England’s defense takes a step back in 2022, some of Mayo’s momentum may be slowed.

The Patriots Defense Has Some Uncertainties

A step back on defense is possible considering there are a number of questions in the secondary and at linebacker, but there is also an opportunity to get faster and more athletic. This is a change Mayo called for shortly after the end of the 2021 season.

While Patriots fans might not want to lose Mayo, they will likely be in a good mood if he moves into a head-coaching role after the 2022 campaign. Mayo landing a job after the upcoming season would likely mean his defense has played on an elite level, and that’s great for Patriots football.

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