FOXBORO — Wearing a darkish swimsuit and understanding grin, Jerod Mayo folded into his seat atop a stage set for 2 Wednesday and gazed on the crowd earlier than him.
He noticed his household, a former highschool coach, ex-teammates and members of the final Patriots workforce gathered in a big, sunlit atrium at Gillette Stadium. Overhead, a slideshow looped on a big projector display carrying photos of his taking part in days. Now seated subsequent to Mayo, Patriots proprietor Robert Kraft started studying from an announcement to kick off his new coach’s introductory press convention.
But earlier than Kraft may start celebrating Mayo because the fifteenth head coach, and first Black head coach, in franchise historical past, he mispronounced the identify of certainly one of Mayo’s brothers. Mayo softly corrected his boss, paused after which interjected in a manner that unofficially introduced a brand new period had dawned in New England greater than any formal press launch may.
“It’s alright. It’s one of those Black names,” Mayo cracked. “I’ll help you with that.”
Together, Kraft and the 37-year-old Mayo spoke comfortably for a lot of the subsequent half-hour, every beginning with an announcement and answering roughly 20 questions from assembled reporters. During that point, Mayo referred to Kraft by a nickname — “Thunder” — nearly a dozen occasions. Mayo additionally cut up from his predecessor, Bill Belichick, in quite a lot of areas, whereas saying he intends to construct on the muse Belichick left behind after 24 years and 6 Super Bowl titles.
For starters, Mayo needs a extra collaborative surroundings, and mentioned his objectives over the following few weeks are to knock down silos and rebuild relationships inside soccer operations.
“I’m not trying to be Bill (Belichick). Bill is his own man. If you can’t tell by now, I’m a little bit different,” Mayo mentioned. “But what I will say is, the more I think about lessons I’ve taken from Bill, hard work works. And that’s what we’re all about.”
Mayo didn’t specify how he intends to remake the teaching workers Belichick left him, a course of which will turn into difficult if Belichick takes a head-coaching job elsewhere within the league. Earlier this week, reviews said Mayo had began trying to find the Patriots’ subsequent defensive coordinator and particular groups coordinator. Mayo didn’t shut the door on hiring a brand new offensive coordinator when requested — Bill O’Brien stays below contract — however mentioned he would weigh a search.
“Everything is still under consideration,” Mayo mentioned. “Obviously, the staff that I’ve been working with isn’t the staff that I have chosen. But everything is under evaluation.”
Mayo additionally indicated the Patriots would manage their workers in a different way below his management. Under Belichick, the Patriots haven’t named a defensive coordinator since 2017 and didn’t identify an offensive coordinator in 2022. Belichick repeatedly mentioned he doesn’t consider titles are essential, although establishing coordinator positions does have an effect on hiring practices and media availability for these coaches.
“I think titles are important,” Mayo mentioned.
As for his teaching philosophy, Mayo repeated themes of improvement and collaboration all through the afternoon.
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“One thing I would say with all of my coaches, the number one thing is developing people,” Mayo said. “And with this generation — back when I first started playing, most of the time coach (Belichick) would say something, and guys would do it. I think with this generation, you have to show them that you care about them before you get into competency, as far as Xs and Os are concerned.”
He later added: “We’ve always been a game-plan team, whether you’re talking about offense, defense, or special teams. Our philosophy has to be flexible. We’re talking about on-the-field philosophy, but there’s also a philosophy in the building; like (what) you want out of the people who are really leading the team.”
Kraft defined his determination to rent Mayo with out conducting a training search by saying he trusted his instincts in the identical manner he employed Belichick in 2000. Kraft believes Mayo is somebody able to reaching the youthful technology of gamers. He relayed a narrative about visiting Israel with Mayo and others in 2019 that sparked a perception Mayo would turn into a profitable head coach in the future.
Kraft described himself as “colorblind” within the hiring course of, saying he solely wished the perfect individual for the job. Last January, the Patriots wrote a succession plan into Mayo’s contract that allowed him to interchange Belichick with out first operating a training search. As for turning into the primary Black coach in workforce historical past, Mayo mentioned it meant loads and rapidly cut up from Kraft on the notion of being colorblind.
“I do see color because I believe if you don’t see color, you can’t see racism,” Mayo mentioned.
Mayo briefly mirrored on the 4 years he spent working on the well being providers firm Optum, between the tip of his taking part in days and return to the group as an assistant in 2019. Mayo ultimately grew to become a vp of enterprise improvement at Optum, and mentioned Wednesday he got here to worth inclusion and variety of thought throughout that point interval. He additionally joked he “needed a break from Bill,” whereas presumably hinting at one other distinction between the period that was and shortly will probably be in Foxboro.
“One factor you’ll discover about me in our interplay, as we proceed to go, is I don’t like echo chambers. I need individuals round me which might be going to query my concepts or query the best way we have now accomplished issues previously,” Mayo said. “Because realistically, this sport’s loads completely different than after I was drafted in 2008. At the identical time, that’s why I attempt to spend a lot time in creating younger males and younger ladies.
“So they know, I don’t wish to educate them what to suppose. I wish to educate them suppose. Once we get to that time, I believe we will get again to the place we should be on the high. And I’m an open e book. I’m honored, able to go. And I’m excited to be the following head coach of the Patriots.”