One of the most noteworthy developments of the New England Patriots’ mandatory minicamp in early June was seeing assistant coach Jerod Mayo work as defensive signal caller for the second- and third-string units. Mayo, of course, joined the Patriots’ staff this offseason to help fill the void created by the departures of de facto coordinator Brian Flores and other assistants on the defensive side of the ball.
Even though his new gig is his first ever as a coach, it seems as if Mayo is already enjoying head coach Bill Belichick’s trust — just like he did during his playing days with the Patriots. Seeing the 33-year-old calling the shots on defense during minicamp is therefore certainly an encouraging development, and one possibly predicting Mayo’s responsibilities to grow beyond ‘only’ coaching New England’s inside linebackers.
However, it appears as if this growth will not be happening just yet. According to a report by The Atheltic’s Jeff Howe, the Patriots’ plan is still for Belichick to serve as defensive play caller this season — as was expected after Flores’ designated heir, Greg Schiano, stepped down in late March to “spend more time on [his] faith and family” given his vast knowledge of football and the overall experience on the defensive staff.
Looking ahead, though, it appears as if Mayo is on the inside track to one day earn signal-calling duties for the Patriots — and why wouldn’t he? After all, he appeared in a combined 111 regular season and playoff games for New England between the club making him a first-round draft selection in 2008 and his retirement in early 2016; Mayo certainly knows a thing or two about the Patriots’ defense and its schematic build.
Preseason will be the next big step for Mayo on this journey: the regular play callers — Josh McDaniels on offense and now Belichick on defense — oftentimes let their understudies call the shots during the exhibition games, and Mayo projects to be one of them (the other also is unclear following the offseason departure of former wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea). Needless to say that a close eye will be kept on the former Pro-Bowl linebacker.