Not only did the Patriots know it was time to move on Bill Belichick, but New England also knew who it wanted to hand over the keys to.

There was no coaching search in Foxboro, Mass. following Belichick’s exit. Robert Kraft and company followed through with a succession plan for Jerod Mayo, who reportedly was told as far back as two years ago that he likely would be the one to replace Belichick. It was a bold decision, no doubt, as Mayo now is the youngest head coach in the NFL and never even held an official coordinator title at any level before his Patriots promotion.

So, why was New England brass so sure about moving forward with Mayo? Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer shed light on the decision in a column published Monday.

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“The gut feeling on Mayo, I’m told, is about what the Krafts believe is most important in a head coach in today’s NFL — leadership, work ethic, emotional intelligence, overall intellect and, maybe most of all, an ability to communicate, connect with and motivate young guys,” Breer wrote. “The Krafts, again, aren’t guessing on that part. They’ve seen it as Mayo swiftly ascended through the ranks of Belichick’s coaching staff. He’s been the voice leading the defensive meeting room, more or less, since he dived into coaching for the 2019 season.”

Kraft figures to open up about his decision to make Mayo head coach Wednesday when the Patriots formally introduce their 15th coach in franchise history.

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