Bill Belichick Assistant Among ‘Names to Watch’ After Latest NFL Firing

Bill Belichick Patriots

Getty Patriots assistant coach Jerod Mayo could interview for the Broncos head coaching vacancy.

The New England Patriots could see one of their top assistant coaches emerge as one of the top head coaching candidates.

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo will be one of several top candidates the Denver Broncos pursue for their head coaching vacancy.

“The #Broncos become the third team with a head coach vacancy, and it’s an attractive one, with #Cowboys DC Dan Quinn, #Patriots ILB coach Jerod Mayo and #Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett among names to watch,” says Pelissero.

Despite being just 35 years of age with only three years of coaching experience — all as an inside linebackers coach — the former Patriots linebacker has been floated as a possible head coaching name for job openings over the past year.

While addressing the topic back in November, Mayo was candid regarding his desire to become a head coach.

“It’s definitely an honor. I definitely aspire to be a head coach in this league,” he said. “At the same time, I would say I’m really focused on this season. We’ll see what happens at the end of the year.”

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Broncos Coaching Vacancy is Appealing

The Broncos’ head coaching vacancy is an interesting one. Denver finished the season ranked third in the league in defense. They became the first team since the 1993 Chicago Bears to miss the postseason while ranking in the top three in defense.

Unlike other head coaching vacancies, this team isn’t in rebuild mode — they’re literally a quarterback away from contending.

That makes the allure of leaving the Patriots for a team on the verge of contending an intriguing one for Mayo.

Mayo is helping lead a Patriots defensive unit that ranks second in the NFL in points allowed per game (17.8 points). Pelissero previously mentioned Mayo’s name as one of the NFL’s “young coaches to watch.”

“Still in just his third year in coaching, Mayo already has been on the radar for a couple of years as a legitimate candidate,” says Pelissero. “The Eagles interviewed him for their head coaching job in January and came away impressed with his rare leadership traits. Before going into coaching, Mayo played eight seasons for Bill Belichick in New England, running the defense and relaying the signals for most of that time, including as a rookie to the veteran likes of Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi and Vince Wilfork. He now serves as the de facto coordinator of the NFL’s No. 2-ranked scoring defense. His pedigree and makeup are intriguing.”

Mac Jones on Pats Loss: ‘Super Embarrassing’

As the Patriots ended their regular season with a dud performance in a 33-24 loss to the Miami Dolphins, Mac Jones didn’t hold anything back.

The rookie quarterback was spectacularly unspectacular as he committed two of the Patriots’ three turnovers. Jones’ turnover-prone play was one of the key reasons for New England’s surprising sweep at the hands of the Dolphins.

“We just need to execute better and that starts with me, just in practice, in the game,” Jones said after the game. “You have to go out there and do much better than we did today. It’s super embarrassing, honestly, just from my point, just how I played. It wasn’t good enough, and I can do better. It starts with me, I’m the quarterback. That’s my job, to make people around me have success, and it starts with me.

“We’ll get it fixed,” Jones continued. “You have to watch the film, learn from it and realize how embarrassing it is to play that way. But, at the same time, we have a great opportunity next week and that’s all you can ask for.”

The good news for the Patriots is they’ll face a short week. They’ll have a chance at redemption when they play the Buffalo Bills for the third time in their first playoff game on Saturday night.

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