Patriots owner Robert Kraft officially introduced Jerod Mayo as New England’s new head coach Wednesday, saying he’s confident the team landed the right guy despite not launching a coaching search this year.
“I have that same conviction when I hired Bill Belichick, a decision that many questioned at the time and told me I was making a major error,” Kraft said, according to Jori Epstein of Yahoo Sports.
“I’ve learned to trust my instincts throughout my career, and I trust Jerod is the right person to lead the Patriots back to championship-level contention and long-term success,” he added.
The Patriots and Belichick parted ways after 24 seasons and six Super Bowl titles following a 4-13 season on Jan 11. New England wasted no time in hiring Mayo – its former linebackers coach – to replace Belichick on Jan. 12.
New England didn’t go through the NFL’s lengthy hiring process and was able to promote Mayo quickly after reportedly establishing a contractual succession plan with him in a prior contract.
The 37-year-old Mayo, now the league’s youngest head coach, spent the last five seasons on Belichick’s coaching staff. The former All-Pro linebacker knows he has big shoes to fill but intends to bring a different approach from his predecessor.
“I’m not trying to be Bill. I think Bill is his own man. If you can’t tell by now, I’m a little bit different,” Mayo said Wednesday, according to Epstein. “What I will say is – the more I think about the lessons I’ve taken from Bill, hard work works.”
Under Belichick’s watch, the Patriots didn’t always announce job titles for their offensive and defensive coordinators. With Mayo in the building, that will most likely change.
“I think it’s important. I think titles are important. No knock to Coach Belichick,” Mayo said when asked if he plans to name coordinators in 2024, according to Alex Barth of 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Kraft and Mayo refused to get into specifics about how they will build New England’s roster and coaching staff this year.
“You have to evaluate the culture and how the pieces fit. I don’t want to be in an echo chamber,” Mayo added, per Meredith Gorman of NESN. “I want people to be honest and open and hopefully come together and make a sound decision.”
New England is also looking for a new general manager, a role that Belichick occupied. Kraft said his team will consider options inside and outside the organization.
The Patriots own the third overall pick in the 2024 draft. If New England keeps the No. 3 selection, it’ll be the franchise’s highest draft choice since Drew Bledsoe went first overall in 1993.