There’s nothing like the fresh scent of a new coaching search in the morning. On Wednesday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport wafted out the name of a Super Bowl champion and top assistant for the New England Patriots.
Jerod Mayo has served as inside linebackers coach for the Patriots since March 2019 following an eight-year NFL career. The inexperienced 34-year-old has never held a coordinator position at any level, although he is considered a rising star in coaching circles. Mayo “plays a key role in New England’s defense,” per Rapoport, and “they used to call him Jerod Belichick.” High praise indeed.
He made two Pro Bowls under Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, including first-team All-Pro honors in 2010 and NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2008. The former first-round pick (10th overall) out of Tennessee retired after the 2015 season with 802 total tackles, 11 sacks, eight forced fumbles, and three interceptions. Known as a leader on the field, Mayo earned the respect of his teammates.
“(He’s) probably one of the best leaders that I’ve ever been around in my life,” Patriots safety Duron Harmon told MassLive in 2019. “Just how he could command a room, how he could command a team, how he could command a defense. It was so unique.”
From @GMFB: The #Jets are still meeting with #49ers DC Robert Saleh this morning, as he’s a favorite in their coaching search, while the #Eagles will interview #Patriots ILBs coach Jerod Mayo for their HC opening. They used to call him Jerod Belichick in NE. pic.twitter.com/lf71HMmmuB
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 13, 2021
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Belichick: ‘Good Perspective in the Room’
If Mayo is on his way to becoming the next Belichick — and that’s a big jump that nobody’s making yet — then stealing away a highly-regarded assistant from New England could be a coup for Philly. The man known as “The Hoodie” complimented Mayo for picking up the defensive calls and adjusting on the fly.
“Jerod’s done a great job,” Belichick told CBS Boston. “His experience as a player in our system is very valuable. We can talk about calls that we can make on the field or identifications and so forth and his perspective of, ‘Yeah, that’s no problem. That’d be easy. That’s easy for us to do,’ or ‘That’s a lot harder because the player is thinking about ‘this’, he’s thinking about ‘that’ and so forth.’ It makes us re-think and have that perspective of how easy it is or isn’t for a player in certain situations. He’s done it and he’s done it under pressure and dealt with a lot of things we currently deal with, and so that’s a good perspective to have in the room. We don’t have that from anybody else defensively.”
Inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo wears a headset during games and seems to be taking on a leading coordinator-type role. Asked if he is calling plays, Mayo said, “Sorry, that’s one of those questions you have to ask Coach (Belichick). I’m not talking about that.” pic.twitter.com/rNA2hQPuie
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) August 26, 2019
At one point in 2019 it was rumored that Mayo was the one calling the defensive plays for the Patriots. It was never confirmed, but the inside linebackers coach never denied it. That New England team went on to win the Super Bowl.
Recapping the Coaching Candidates for Eagles
In addition to Mayo, the Eagles have reportedly reached out to San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley, Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.
The team also plans to interview in-house candidate Duce Staley while waiting to talk to Kansas City Chiefs quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka. The Eagles cannot request permission for an interview until after he has been eliminated from the playoffs. Or, if the Chiefs advance to the Super Bowl, it can take place the week after the AFC Championship Game.
The search is underway.#FlyEaglesFly
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) January 12, 2021
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