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In New England, The Patriots Are Ready For The Man Following THE Man

The New England Patriots Are At The Next Stage Of Turning Over A Hall Of Fame Duo.

Three Reasons Why Jerod Mayo May Be The Right Man, In The Right Place, At The Right Time.

When it comes to what happens after greatness, the prevailing wisdom is one never wants to be the person coming in after someone that was outstanding, and perhaps even legendary, in the role.  It registers as the ultimate no-win scenario.  The responsibilities are burdened with comparisons, and, often with much less patience offered by all observers.


In New England, phase two of a Hall of Fame level overhaul is just weeks away from training camp.  The Tom Brady torch has already been passed.  (Which has, without much room for debate, been fumbled and passed again.)  Now, Jerod Mayo is moving toward the first season of Patriots football following the departure of Bill Belichick.


The last time an organization faced a dilemma of this sort, San Francisco was enjoying a run of dominance led by Bill Walsh and featuring Joe Montana.  In front of Mayo, there is a legacy built by Belichick and Brady that, arguably, comes close to doubling the accomplishments of Walsh and Montana.


The results of that transition were positive in the short term for the 49ers.  Mayo may have everything right where he wants it.  Here are three reasons why Jerod Mayo might be succeed, despite the additional burdens of following in the shoes of greatness.


Number one – The roster.


A trade or retirement of one player or coach is often just that.  One person moving on.  The rest if the team stays in place, at times with promotions, as if a guarantee of the status quo.


In New England, while the transition is about Brady and Belichick, there are more pieces that have already gone.  Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater are no longer active players.  Mayo has assembled his own staff.  David Andrews is the one player remaining from the last stretch of glory.


Mayo doesn’t need to make speeches, take part in the praise and celebrations, or organize any goodbye fireworks for players wrapping up a glorious career.  He doesn't have a Steve Young or Joe Montana dilemma to resolve. It is, in many ways, a clean slate.  In fact…


Number two – Bill Belichick already handed the job off.  To Bill Belichick.


While New England made the playoffs once after Brady’s departure, the last four seasons have seen more disorganized play and questionable decisions than the full two decades under Belichick that preceded them.  The don’t question Bill Belichick theory was left in shambles by it.  As evidence, while not the only reason, this past offseason concluding without a new coaching job for Belichick demonstrates that there are questions about his recent efforts.


The complaints many of the fans have in New England about the current state of affairs isn’t as much about futility and losses as many reports would suggest.  They matter, of course, but most supporters knew that the league was going to celebrate when the Patriots hit choppy waters.  The majority of followers were actually able to enjoy and appreciate what was happening as it happened, while understanding what was to come when it ended.


Instead, one of the biggest problems of the past few seasons has been that the team bordered on impossible to enjoy.  It hasn’t been fun.  Anyone who believes it has falls into one of two categories: (1) Cheerleaders for the choppy waters.  Or, (2) lacking understanding of the stories behind and excitement generated by a Matt Patricia offense.


Number three – While the lights will be bright, the organizational leadership is likely to be patient.


There is no doubt the accomplishments of Mayo will be analyzed and critiqued.  The examination of his roster, including the first-round selection of quarterback Drake Maye, picked up speed with the post-draft offseason activities and workouts.  Still, the Kraft family isn’t likely to react emotionally or suddenly as the process continues.


There are reasons laughter is heard when discussing teams where the total number of head coaches or starting quarterbacks is well in excess of the number of seasons played.  It’s usually a reflection of difficulties that start at the top.  The Carolina Panthers have had six head coaches since Ron Rivera left in 2019.  The Cleveland Browns have had just shy of forty starting quarterbacks since the team’s return 1999.  In addition to paying out the remaining years on contracts, another thing these teams have in common is a lot of seasons with no playoff appearances or even winning records.


Three or four losses in a row won’t be probable cause for a coaching change in New England without significantly more taking place.  Mayo will have room to experience growing pains and develop.  Stability and time matters.


Not measuring up to a predecessor is so expected that history tends to drown out the truth.  Success has happened in Boston before.  The Red Sox history of left field included Hall of Fame play for more than forty consecutive years.  Ted Williams to Carl Yastrzemski to Jim Rice.  For football, the handoff at quarterback didn’t work out so well.  The spotlight is now on the head coach, and the setup suggests that process will go better.


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