Grading the Hire: Jerod Mayo Follows Up Coaching Legend Bill Belichick

Jerod Mayo was the obvious choice for the New England Patriots, even with Mike Vrabel on the market. Did they make the right decision?

The New England Patriots parted ways with Bill Belichick and quickly moved on to Jerod Mayo. Did they do the right thing by remaining in-house and creating a defined succession plan ahead of time?

Moving On From Bill Belichick

New England has always been a snake slithering in the bushes. The Patriots have been reprimanded for cheating multiple times, and they’ve cleverly worded contracts to get exactly what they want.

Nick Caserio couldn’t interview for general manager roles unless they allowed it, according to Albert Breer. Now, they get to skirt around the usual hiring process because of language in Mayo’s extension from a season ago.

It was time. Belichick remains arguably the best defensive coach in the NFL. But the greatest coach of all time was not only the coach but the general manager as well.

He failed miserably in the second half of his duties. Belichick consistently whiffed on the offensive side of the ball in the NFL Draft and free agency.

But there were also issues with his coaching decisions. Mac Jones went from a relatively competent NFL starter to an irredeemable puddle of goo within a year — Belichick is directly at fault for that.

Hiring Matt Patricia is not a bad idea. He’s a respected defensive mind, even if things didn’t work out as a head coach. But Belichick put him in charge of the offense, a side of the ball he hadn’t coached in 15 years. Additionally, Belichick made Joe Judge, a special teams coordinator, the quarterbacks coach.

Belichick and the Patriots are loyal. They let coaches spread their wings like young entrepreneurs and then reassemble the basement apartment setup when their business venture inevitably fails. But they usually end up in a role they’re qualified for.

MORE: Why the New England Patriots Hired Jerod Mayo

That move destroyed Jones and the New England offense. Belichick tried to right the ship with the Bill O’Brien hire, but the damage was irreversible.

It was simply time.

Grade: A

Jerod Mayo Gets the Nod Over MANY Belichick Disciples

Like a quarterback coming into the league, nobody has any idea whether it will work out or not. A player and coach’s situation matters so much to their potential successes and failures. But for Mayo and the Patriots, he could have a saving grace.

Loyalty.

Loyalty got him hired in the first place. Even with Mike Vrabel becoming available in a surprise firing, Robert Kraft never deviated for a second. Mayo was always going to be the hire.

The Patriots aren’t a talented football team. They’re slower than a geriatric sloth on offense, and both tackle spots are a mess. Their defense has continued to thrive, but what impact will Belichick’s departure have on that side of the ball? After all, that unit will be losing all of Belichick and some of Mayo as he’s pulled toward more CEO coaching duties.

The rebuild won’t be immediate. But Kraft’s loyalty will likely extend some grace for a struggling new head coach as the organization tries to retool the roster.

That loyalty goes both ways. The succession plan was written into Mayo’s contract extension, keeping the well-respected coach from taking other coaching interviews during the 2023 offseason cycle.

MORE: 2024 Hiring Cycle

Hiring someone to follow a legend is never easy. Following the best ever is practically impossible. But this swift process proves that Mayo is ready for the task. Casting a wide net is almost always a good idea. But if you know what, or who, you want, what’s the point in the whole charade?

The only knock on Mayo is that he doesn’t have any prior head coaching experience. Then again, neither did DeMeco Ryans, Shane Steichen, or Mike McDaniel.

Grade: B+

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