Patriots

Linebackers coach Jerod Mayo impressing Patriots players at minicamp

Linebackers coach Jerod Mayo impressing Patriots players at minicamp

This offseason, the New England Patriots faced a lot of turmoil on their defensive coaching staff. Once Brian Flores left to take the head coaching job with the Miami Dolphins, the team brought in Greg Schiano to be their defensive coordinator. Schiano had held the role at Ohio State and had previous experience as an NFL head coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

However, Schiano abruptly stepped down shortly after taking the job, and that left the team high and dry at the coordinator position. The Patriots didn't move to immediately fill the void, and it was reported that Bill Belichick would be calling plays for the defense this year.

Belichick did add some coaches to his defensive staff, and one of the biggest ones was Jerod Mayo. The former Patriots linebacker and captain joined the team to coach the inside linebackers. But now, it seems that he could end up with a bigger role at some point in the future.

Mayo was involved with the defense at Patriots minicamp, and he helped Belichick to call plays during the practices. Apparently, he's doing a great job, as many players were complimentary of what the first-year coach brought to the field. 

“The same stuff (Mayo) carried when he was a player, he’s definitely still got it,” linebacker Dont’a Hightower said, per Jeff Howe of The Athletic. “He’s a hell of a coach. Honestly, I wouldn’t expect anything less. He’s got so much knowledge and so much wisdom that he brings – not just as a football player. He’s definitely done it. He’s seen it. He’s played it. The reputation that he has, he’s an all-pro, so it’s great to have a linebacker coach who has been through so much and can relate to a lot.”

“You know, it’s impressive,” said Kyle Van Noy of Mayo's coaching per Albert Breer of the MMQB. “I didn’t get to play with him [as a Patriot]. I missed him by a little bit. But since he’s gotten back in the building, I’ve come to admire how hard he works and the energy he brings each and every day. He’s consistent and his leadership is contagious. He does a really good job.”

Mayo was always regarded as a great leader during his time with the Patriots, so this is far from surprising. It makes sense that he could have a rapid rise through the coaching ranks as a result of that leadership ability.

Belichick getting Mayo involved in the play-calling would seemingly bode well for his future as a potential option at defensive coordinator. That may not happen this year, but either way, Mayo's involvement in the defense will be something to watch.

3 And Out: Which player impressed most at minicamp?>>>

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K.J. Hill's recap of meeting with Patriots included interesting coaching nugget

K.J. Hill's recap of meeting with Patriots included interesting coaching nugget

It's sometimes interesting to hear what players talk about when they meet with teams at the NFL Scouting Combine.

In K.J. Hill's case, what's interesting was who he talked to.

The Ohio State wide receiver prospect recently met with the Patriots and apparently had a productive conversation with the team.

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"It went well," Hill said, via NESN.com's Zack Cox. "Mainly, we were talking about plays. I did a lot of similar things [to] their offense, and they were just trying to pick my brain about what we did. And come to find out, it was mostly the same plays.

" …[We talked about] motioning, seeing if it was man or zone, using option routes — definitely what (Julian) Edelman was doing. I was talking to the receivers coach about that."

According to our Phil Perry, the "receivers coach" Hill referred to was Troy Brown, who's not listed on New England's coaching staff but helped the Patriots' wide receivers in an unofficial capacity last season.

New England has been without a wide receivers coach since Joe Judge took the New York Giants' head coach job, but if Brown is interviewing receiver prospects at the NFL Combine (who think he's the team's receivers coach), does that mean he's in line to succeed Judge?

That's speculation, but Brown seems well-suited for the role. The three-time Super Bowl champion -- who spent his entire 15-year playing career in New England -- was a presence at Patriots training camp last year and worked closely with rookie wideout N'Keal Harry.

Recently-hired assistant Jedd Fisch (whose role is still unclear) also could be a candidate for Patriots wide receivers coach: He worked with the Denver Broncos' wide receivers in 2008 and the Michigan Wolverines' receivers in 2015 and 2016 and most recently served as the Los Angeles Rams' assistant offensive coordinator.

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LSU tight end admits to being 'kinda scared' in meeting with Patriots

LSU tight end admits to being 'kinda scared' in meeting with Patriots

The New England Patriots don't fool around.

They are all about winning and will work harder than anyone else to make sure those objectives are met. These elite levels of dedication and preparation are among the reasons why the Patriots have enjoiyed an unprecedented run of success for the last 20 years, which includes six Super Bowl championships.

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This worth ethic was not lost on LSU tight end Stephen Sullivan, who admitted to being "kinda scared" meeting with the Patriots at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week.

Tight end is among the primary needs for the Patriots, and Sullivan is one of the top 10 players at the position in this draft class. 

Sullivan tallied 12 receptions for 130 yards in six games for the undefeated and national champion Tigers last season. He also impressed at the combine by running the second-fastest 40 time of all the tight ends. 

Sullivan's speed and size (6-foot-5 and 248 pounds) make him an intriguing target for teams in need of a tight end. He's likely to be drafted on Day 3, which is when rounds four through seven take place.

He's not the only tight end who the Patriots made an impression on this week. Vanderbilt tight end Jared Pinkney revealed the Patriots said one of his answers in an interview with the team was a "loser's mentality."

Whether it's Sullivan, Pinkney or someone else, it wouldn't be surprising if the Patriots select at least one tight end in April's draft. They need much better offensive production from their tight ends than what they received in the 2019 season.

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