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Jerod Mayo Introductory Press Conference: “Hard Work Works”



New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, left, and newly-named Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo face reporters Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024, during an NFL football news conference, in Foxborough, Mass. Mayo succeeds Bill Belichick as the franchise's 15th head coach. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Jerod Mayo met the media on Wednesday afternoon, for the first time as the New England Patriots head coach. Chairman/CEO Robert Kraft sat next to Mayo, introducing him as the fifteenth head coach in the history of the franchise. Kraft said the hire was simply a matter of trusting his instincts with a man he clearly holds in high regard.

Robert Kraft Speaks First

The Patriots owner recapped Mayo’s playing career, beginning with the linebacker being drafted by New England with the tenth pick of the 2008 NFL Draft. But more than the quality of his play, Kraft was impressed by Mayo immediately stepping into a leadership role on a veteran-laden squad. By his second season Mayo was already a team captain, a role he would retain for the remainder of his playing career.

Kraft stated that observing Mayo throughout his playing and coaching careers that “dedication, strategic acumen, and ability to inspire players has been evident.” He also stated such a decision was made carefully and with a longterm plan in mind. Kraft pointed out that in the 30 years his family has owned the team, Mayo is only the third head coach hired by the Patriots (joining Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick). During that same period, there have been 244 head coaches hired throughout the NFL.

As for making Jerod Mayo the first minority head coach in New England Patriots history, Kraft said that was not a factor in his decision process. Kraft stated, “He (Mayo) happens to be a man of color, but I chose him because I think he’s best to do the job.”

New England’s First Black Head Coach

While Robert Kraft claimed to be color blind when it came to choosing his new head coach, Jerod Mayo did not share that sentiment.

“Being the first black head coach (of the New England Patriots) means a lot to me.”

Later in his comments, following up on Kraft’s statement, Mayo articulated, “I do see color. Because I believe if you don’t see color, you can’t see racism.”

Mayo said his time in the private sector helped him appreciate the importance of diversity. He hoped to see a diversity of input throughout the organization, in terms of race, age, and other demographics, to help them get a variety of perspectives from which to choose the best ideas.

Developing People

Mayo said he is a huge believer in developing people. “My calling is to be a teacher and to develop people.”

As for the rest of the New England Patriots coaching staff, Mayo again went back to that same terminology, stating “I want to bring in developers.”

The coach stressed the importance of developing people, to give them the ability to develop themselves as professionals and as leaders.

“You have to show them (players) that you care about them before you get into X’s and O’s,” explained Mayo.

“We’re planting seeds. And hopefully that will lead to the next dynasty here with the Kraft family.”

Burden of Replacing Bill Belichick

Mayo was asked about the difficulty in replacing the greatest coach of all-time in Bill Belichick. Obviously, Jerod Mayo is very aware of Bill Belichick, having both played and coached under him during his entire NFL career.

“I’m not trying to be Bill (Belichick),” Mayo explained. “Bill is his own man.”

But it is was clear Jerod Mayo did take some lessons away from his time with Bill Belichick. Cited among these was one that will come as no surprise to New England Patriots followers: “Hard work works.”

Another lesson Mayo took from Belichick is “surround yourself with good people.” The identities of those people should come into clearer view in the coming days, weeks, and months. And he also took a page out of his former coach and boss’s book about knowing who to credit.

“Players win games, coaches lose games.”

Next Steps for Robert Kraft

Both Robert Kraft and Jerod Mayo made it clear the team was currently in an evaluation phase. This includes front office personnel, coaching staff, and players.

Kraft was asked about the search for a general manager in New England, or if one exists. He said, “this is his (Mayo’s) day” but then said they will be looking for collaboration in the short-term. He said somebody would be assigned the task of making decisions before key decisions have to be made.

Later, he added more to his front office comments.

“We want to evaluate what we have in house, see what’s out there on the marketplace, and then do what we think is best.”

Mayo’s Coaching Staff

Mayo stressed that everything is still under consideration at this point. But in perhaps a nod to change, he stated, “The staff I’ve been working with isn’t the staff that I’ve chosen.”

He did state he believes titles are important however (“no knock to Coach Belichick, who has been a huge mentor to me”) so expect to have both an official offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator for the 2024 season.

First Order of Business as Head Coach

Jerod Mayo hopes his players in Foxboro plan to work, beginning in the weight room. “No complainers, no finger pointers.”

But in terms of how Mayo plans to get to work, he stressed three points.

“Rebuild relationships, knock down silos, and collaborate.”

Hard not to make a connection to these points of emphasis from Mayo and reports of dysfunction with the 2023 New England Patriots. Speculation indicates the team will look to select a new franchise quarterback in the NFL Draft. Mayo’s message however, left the door open to Mac Jones being given a chance to rebuild both his confidence and career in Foxboro.

It also did not go unnoticed that Mac Jones was among the current and former Patriots players present at Mayo’s introductory press conference. Others in attendance included Joe Cardona, Josh Uche (a free agent), and former stars Devin McCourty and Rob Ninkovich.

Despite having work to do to get things in oder, Mayo was not negative. “We have a good foundation,” declared the head coach.

Optimism Abounds on Day One

As with all new relationships, even ones 16 years in the making as is the case with Robert Kraft and Jerod Mayo, everything sounded rosy on Day One. Mayo has a vision for the staff, roster, and environment inside of the building. Kraft was eager to start the Mayo Era after a quarter century with Bill Belichick at the helm.

“Ready to kick butt,” said the owner, whom Mayo referred to as “Thunder” throughout the press conference.

New England Patriots fans are hoping Jerod Mayo is able to do just that.

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