Jerod Mayo quickly made a name for himself in New England as a highly skilled, intelligent linebacker.
Years later, the 2008 first-round pick is generating buzz once again, just in a different capacity.
The Patriots back in March brought Mayo, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, on as a linebackers coach. It took Bill Belichick no time to enlist trust in Mayo, as the 33-year-old has been in charge of New England’s defensive playcalling in training camp practices. Mayo also appeared to be calling the shots in the Patriots’ preseason-opening win against the Detroit Lions, who only managed to put up three points.
Mayo will have big shoes to fill on New England’s staff, which has featured some of the league’s sharpest defensive minds in recent years. But as seventh-year safety Duron Harmon explained Monday on WEEI’s “Dale and Keefe,” Mayo’s roots as a player might give him a leg-up as a first-year coach.
“He is always asking us and coming up to us, ‘This is what I am thinking for this drive. … What are you guys thinking?'” Harmon said, as transcribed by WEEI. “He is trying to get the input obviously of the older guys, but I think the thing that makes Mayo so unique in this situation is not only was he a great football player, but he was just a smart football player as well. Always knew where to be. Always was smart enough to get other people aligned as well. So when you have a guy like that, who is that smart and a great leader, it is so easy for people to follow him. It is so easy.”
We’ll have to wait and see just how expansive Mayo’s role is once the regular season rolls around. Regardless, the Patriots will need all hands on deck in the 2019 campaign which will pit them against some of the league’s top offenses, including the upstart Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs.