Rookie coach Jerod Mayo gets to call some plays
The Patriots don’t have a coach with the title of defensive coordinator, which isn’t necessarily new.
And while the expectation is that coach Bill Belichick will call the defense himself (as he’s done in the past), he’s at least letting some others get some experience.
Via Jeff Howe of TheAthletic.com, rookie assistant coach Jerod Mayo had the chance to call the defense during minicamp earlier this week.
That’s a sign of the trust they have in the longtime linebacker, as well as the potential Belichick could see in him as a coach.
“The same stuff [Mayo] carried when he was a player, he’s definitely still got it,” linebacker Dont’a Hightower said. “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.”
It’s just a practice, and Mayo was calling the plays for the reserves, but the practice was still valuable as Mayo transitions to his new job. He was their play-caller on the field as a player, and was a team captain seven of his eight seasons.
Brian Flores called the Patriots defense last year, without a coordinator title. Flores took cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer with him to Miami, and defensive line coach Brendan Daly left for Kansas City. The Patriots hired Greg Schiano to serve as defensive coordinator, but he resigned in March for personal reasons, leaving the staff in flux.
Belichick has been willing to give assistants such opportunities in training camp and the preseason, but it’s interesting to see Mayo get such responsibility so early in his coaching career.