Earlier this week, there was some buzz that the New England Patriots might see their long-time offensive coordinator join the Philadelphia Eagles. Josh McDaniels was regarded as the frontrunner to fill the team’s vacant head coaching position following his all-day interview, but eventually did not end up getting the position: Philadelphia hired his Indianapolis Colts counterpart, Nick Sirianni, on Thursday.
McDaniels was not the only Patriots assistant to talk to the Eagles about their head coaching gig, though. Despite having just two years of experience, inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo was also invited for an interview. However, he too is slated to stay in New England following Sirianni’s hiring.
This is obviously good news for the organization, and there are four obvious reasons why.
Reason No. 1: Stability of the coaching staff
The Patriots already saw one member of their coaching staff depart recently: quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch accepted the head coaching position at the University of Arizona in December, prompting McDaniels to take over his former role on top of his coordinator duties. While that one position will have to be filled one way or the other, the coaching staff as a whole will stay largely intact with both him and Mayo not leaving to take the Eagles job.
On top of that, the Patriots also will not have to worry about any additional turnover or departures created by one of the two assembling their staff in Philadelphia.
Reason No. 2: Lack of a clear succession plan
While this might not have been that much of a problem when it came to Mayo’s role on the staff — the Patriots could just have given outside linebackers coach Steve Belichick the entire position group to work with — McDaniels’ departure would have created an enormous hole on the offensive side of the ball. There is, after all, no indication that one of his assistants is on his way to become the clear-cut successor in case the 44-year-old takes his talents elsewhere.
Reason No. 3: Rebuilding the offense
There were more than just one reason for the Patriots’ offensive struggles during the 2020 season, but one of the biggest was the team’s below-average personnel at the quarterback and skill positions. New England will therefore have to rebuild its offense, starting under center: while there is a chance that Cam Newton is brought back in free agency, the former league MVP does not appear to be a long-term solution. As a result, the Patriots are in the market for a young developmental passer as well.
Having a veteran coach like McDaniels around to groom that new QB, and also build the supporting cast alongside him, cannot be understated. Him likely staying in place can only be beneficial when it comes to the development of the outside talent that is expected to be added to the roster this offseason.
Reason No. 4: Development of the young linebackers
New England already invested considerable resources in its linebacker position over the past two years. The team added Chase Winovich in the third round of the 2019 draft, and selected Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings in Rounds Two and Three last spring. The trio will be at the core of the Patriots’ front seven rebuild, especially if veteran Dont’a Hightower decides not to return after opting out of the 2020 season.
As the team’s inside linebackers coach and a former player himself, Mayo plays an integral role in getting Uche, Jennings and — if the team opts to use him that way — Winovich ready for an increased workload moving forward. Keeping the up-and-coming coach for another year certainly can be considered a win from the team’s perspective.