FOXBORO — The Jerod Mayo era is officially underway in New England. Mayo was introduced as the new head coach of the Patriots on Wednesday at a news conference with owner Robert Kraft at Gillette Stadium.
Mayo has the tall task of replacing Bill Belichick, whom the Patriots “” with last week after 24 seasons. But the 37-year-old former player — and Patriots captain under Belichick — made it clear that he is not Bill Belichick. His lengthy answers to every question he fielded Wednesday made that abundantly clear.
While he won’t be bringing any grunts and snorts to the podium, Mayo will certainly borrow some things from the greatest head coach of all time. But Mayo was adamant that he is also going to be his own man and have his own style as a head coach.
“I’m not trying to be Bill. Bill is his own man. If you can’t tell by now, I’m a little different,” Mayo said after being introduced as the 15th head coach of the Patriots franchise. “The more I think about the lessons that I’ve taken from Bill: Hard work works. That’s what we’re all about.”
While Belichick was often referred to as a master chess player during his incredible run with the Patriots, Mayo sees the role as a head coach as more of a gardener. His goal is to develop a team full of leaders.
“I see it as gardening. They don’t grow anything, they just make sure the soil is right, grab the weeds, and water every day. That’s how I approach leadership,” said Mayo. “I want to just water seed. Right now we’re planting seeds and hopefully that will lead to the next dynasty here with the Kraft family.”
Mayo said that he doesn’t like echo chambers, so he’s going to surround himself with people who will question what he does. He also wants those people to help him as “developers” in every facets of the organization.
“I’m a huge believer in developing people, whether it’s on the football field, off the football field, in the media world or in business,” he said. “My calling is to develop people.”
Mayo was drafted by the Patriots 10th overall in 2008, and was a team captain in seven of his eight seasons with New England. Kraft said early on that Mayo was destined to be a head coach.
“I remember him coming up to me and saying ‘Kraft and Mayo, they go together pretty well. Sixteen years later, here we are,” recalled Kraft. “Football is Jerod’s true passion, and I believe coaching was always his destiny. His credentials garner respect and he relates beautifully to the players.”
The Patriots released the following “hype video” ahead of Mayo’s introduction:
Mayo has no head-coaching experience and hasn’t even been a coordinator during his coaching career, which started in 2019 when he was named New England’s inside linebackers coach. Mayo held that position throughout last season, though he was essentially running the Patriots defense along with outside linebackers coach Stephen Belichick.
He said that he is still in the evaluation phase of things, and is hard at work to build out his staff and assessing the team’s roster for 2024. Mayo said that everything is under consideration, and he believes that job titles are important, which was not the case the last 24 years under Belichick.
Mayo said that collaboration will be key as the Patriots look to build themselves back into perennial contenders.
“One thing with collaboration, there are experts in everything, and I believe in leaning on experts in their field. Will we always do what that expert advises us? Absolutely not,” said Mayo. “But I said as a rookie that I wanted to be a sponge and learn as much as I can. We have a lot of people in this building that I can learn from.
“We have a good foundation,” Mayo added. “My thing here over the next few weeks is to rebuild some relationships, knock down silos, and collaborate. That’s what I’m focused on.”
“I think we’re ready to kick butt,” said Kraft.