New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is notoriously averse to social media.
But that doesn't mean his assistants can't hop on Instagram every once in a while.
Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo has done exactly that, frequently posting motivational and thought-provoking messages to his Instagram story throughout his first season as an NFL assistant.
Turns out those posts aren't just for cheap likes. During a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Mayo admitted to our Phil Perry that he uses the messages in part to motivate the Patriots' linebacking corps.
"I read a lot. Sometimes people need those nuggets," Mayo said. "I don’t like to post about just things, material things. I just like to drop little nuggets of wisdom, and I’m hopeful, honestly, that my linebackers see those posts. It definitely helps motivate me."
Whatever Mayo is doing to motivate New England's linebackers, it's working: The "Boogeymen" arguably have been the best linebacking corps in the NFL through nine games, with Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy playing some of the best football of their careers.
That group is being tested amid the Patriots' toughest stretch of the season -- five straight games against NFL playoff hopefuls -- but Mayo hopes his social media messages can play a small part in keeping morale high.
"The season is long. Sometimes you need those words of encouragement," Mayo added. "It’s definitely an up-and-down season, even though we’re sitting here at 8-1. Sometimes you’ve got to take a step back and realize that, and some of those quotes helps with that."
Credit Mayo for utilizing a tool that was much less relevant when he played in New England from 2008 to 2015. Mayo has seen first-hand how social media has changed NFL locker room dynamics -- to an extent.
"I remember when I first came into the league, you think about the room: Junior Seau, Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi -- guys who had flip phones," Mayo said. " ... They weren’t even really thinking about social media. So, when you would go in the locker room, I would say that just the overall vibe, you were in there playing cards and things like that.
"Now, the younger generation, they’re checking their social media and things like that. But I think the players around here do a good job, when they’re in the building, really focusing on football."
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