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    Patriots Legends Compare Jerod Mayo to Tom Brady in Endorsement of Rookie Head Coach

    New England Patriots fans might be unsure of Jerod Mayo, but a pair of notable franchise legends are all in on the first-year head coach.

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    Last modified on July 3, 2024 | 2:05 PM EDT

    Published on July 2, 2024 | 3:02 PM EDT

    Jerod Mayo has much to prove in his first season as head coach of the New England Patriots.

    As Bill Belichick’s successor, he’ll be under immense pressure. But a pair of Patriots legends who played with Mayo believe he’ll excel in the role — largely due to his high football IQ.

    Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman Endorse Jerod Mayo

    Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman both played with Mayo until his retirement in 2015, and Edelman still was with the Patriots for Mayo’s first two seasons as a linebackers coach. So, both are uniquely qualified to speak on Mayo’s qualifications as a head coach.

    Gronkowski, for one, is very high on his former teammate.

    “Jerod Mayo was just a phenomenon on the football field with lining everyone up and also in the meeting rooms as well,” Gronkowski said during the latest episode of Edelman’s “Games with Names” podcast. “He knew where every player needed to be during any situation that occurred on the defensive side of the ball.

    ” … Jerod Mayo was the Tom Brady of the defensive side of the ball, getting everyone lined up.”

    Gronkowski then went into greater detail.

    “He knew how to read offenses,” Gronkowski said. “He knew when to call out plays, and he was always correct when he was calling the play out, or else he was just making the whole defense aware when that play was going to be called that they were looking out for or what type of run was going to be run at the offensive side of the ball.

    “He was just always alert. You could always tell that was going to translate into the next phase of his life. … It’s not all about how physical you are on the field, how talented you are. If you know where to be on the football field, that can make you a better player because you are already in position to make the play.”

    Edelman, who moonlighted as a defensive back early in his Patriots career, shared insight into what is like playing alongside Mayo.

    “I always had to look at Jerod,” Edelman said. “I knew what I had to do, but I would always ask to get the approval from Jerod because if Jerod said that, you knew it was right. He got everyone lined up. He was the man.”

    MORE: 7 Free Agents the Patriots Should Target Ahead of Training Camp

    Of course, being a great player — Mayo made two Pro Bowls — doesn’t mean you’ll be a great coach. There’s a long list of former players who’ve failed as NFL coaches.

    But Mayo is a born leader and has the mental side of the game down pat. That’s a good start.

    What Was Mayo Like During Spring Practices?

    We got our first look at the Mayo-led Patriots during OTAs and mandatory minicamp. And it was an interesting, if incomplete, experience.

    At times, Mayo looked unsure of what to do — which was to be expected. Why would he look like a seasoned head coach during his first spring on the job?

    It’s hard to explain, but Mayo just appeared indecisive on how best to apply his expertise. He bounced around to different position groups without doing much hands-on coaching. He did a ton of spectating and understandably leaned on his experienced assistants, such as offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt and senior offensive assistant Ben McAdoo.

    Mayo spent most of his time with the defense and special teams. And that made sense, as those groups are led by first-year coordinators in DeMarcus Covington and Jeremy Springer, respectively.

    None of this is to say there was anything wrong with Mayo’s approach. And, honestly, it didn’t look too dissimilar from what Belichick did over the last two seasons. We’re just saying we didn’t leave minicamp with a clear picture of Mayo’s coaching style.

    However, it was a different story off the field.

    Compared to Belichick, Mayo was an open book with reporters. He cracked jokes, actually talked about contracts, and gave legitimately revealing answers to questions about quarterbacks.

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    It was a jarring U-turn from what Patriots reporters had grown accustomed to during Belichick’s 24 seasons as head coach. Mayo might dial back the candor once the regular season starts, but he’ll undoubtedly be more media-friendly than Belichick.

    Patriots training camp is scheduled to start July 24, so we don’t have to wait much longer to see how Mayo runs practices of greater importance.

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