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Why The Patriots Need To Hang On To This Defensive Genius

The Patriots’ season has officially ended with a 35-23 loss to the Bills, and while they aren’t pivoting over to the postseason, they are headed towards a busy offseason. With Jerod Mayo interviewing to be the Browns’ defensive coordinator, the Patriots are facing the realities of the offseason very quickly. Here’s why they should do everything they can to keep Jerod Mayo and how they can do it.

Jerod The Linebacker’s Qualities Translate To Jerod The Coach

Jerod Mayo knows what is required to achieve greatness as a defense for one major reason. He’s been there on the field and has done it, and at an extremely high level. Jerod was never the traditional single-role linebacker. He could play either side or middle, he could run stuff, pass rush, and even cover, and that versatility lends itself very well to defensive coaching, because it gives a wide range of skills and expertises.

The stats speak for themselves for the former all-Pro. He had a whopping 803 tackles, 11 sacks, eight forced fumbles, 19 pass deflections, and three interceptions in a career where he did it all – in just over 100 games. He had four seasons where he accounted for over 100 tackles and one with a league-leading 175. He was an explosive, fundamentally sound hitter with an excellent awareness and anticipation of the play.

His work ethic perfectly matched the Patriot way – he was not just diligent in terms of practices, he was actively engaging with the coaching staff, and displayed his acumen in film analysis. So far, all of this has translated to his coaching, and the Patriots’ linebackers are currently playing at an extremely high level.

The Patriots’ Defense, Especially Linebackers, Can’t Have Their Trajectory Stopped

The fact that the Patriots were within a game of the playoffs absolutely lies on the defense. They were top 10 in the NFL in terms of yards and points per game allowed, and second in the league in takeaways. More importantly, they executed in every dimension. Run stopping, pass coverage, takeaways, pass rush: the Patriots were excellent all around.

Roster-wise, they have depth and talent at every single position, and overall, with a better offense, have a championship-level unit defensively. There is still room for improvement, particularly against dynamic quarterbacks, but the versatile spy-role linebackers they will need to stop a guy like Lamar Jackson or Josh Allen will only be possible if they’re molded into that role by someone with the football sense of Jerod Mayo.

Jerod is one of the most knowledgeable guys in the entire Patriots organization not named Bill Belichick. The team needs to put their faith in him.

How The Pats Can Keep Him

The recipe to keeping Mayo is simple. Name him the defensive coordinator. Mayo’s talent and trajectory are too good to not be a coordinator next season, and the Patriots have already lost a tremendous defensive mind in Brian Flores by not making him a coordinator. They can’t afford to do it again, especially with the other side of the ball also in desperate need of a coordinator.

For his career development and trajectory, no other title makes sense for Mayo, and if he cannot get that in New England, he will pursue it elsewhere. Next year’s Patriots can contend if they have a coordinating team of Jerod Mayo on defense, Bill O’Brien on offense, and Joe Judge on special teams. Steve Belichick does still contribute to the Patriots’ defense, and keeping him around as a defensive assistant would certainly be useful for the Patriots.

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