New England Patriots

Jerod Mayo has spoken before about his ambition to be a head coach in the National Football League some day. He only further expressed that in an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand on Wednesday.

Mayo’s current title is Inside Linebackers Coach, but already has a major hand in the overall defense. He could certainly become a defensive coordinator in the near future, whether in New England or elsewhere. But his real desire is to be at the helm of the whole operation.

“I know I can lead people,” Mayo said. “I know I can set a vision; come to a shared vision between different stakeholders, and we can all go after a common goal. This goes back to the skill sets. So when people ask me, ‘Is your goal to be a defensive coordinator?’ My goal is not to be a defensive coordinator. My goal is to be a head coach. My goal is to work across the team – offense, defense, special teams. That’s what I enjoy.”

Despite just three seasons as an NFL coach, Mayo has already interviewed for both head coaching and defensive coordinator positions. He recently interviewed with the Denver Broncos, who ultimately named former Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett their new head coach.

The NFL’s controversial “Rooney Rule” has come into focus in recent weeks, after former Dolphins and Patriots coach Brian Flores filed a high-profile lawsuit accusing the Giants of flouting the Rooney Rule as a form of racial discrimination. The rule requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and GM positions, aiming to “foster and provide opportunity to diverse leadership throughout the NFL.”

Unfortunately, the rule has led to lame-duck interviews with minority candidates who have no real chance of being hired. Those practices are at the heart of Flores’ lawsuit, which accuses the Giants of conducting a “sham” head coach interview with Flores after already deciding to hire Brian Daboll.

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - JANUARY 09: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo talk on the sidelines in the fourth quarter of the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – JANUARY 09: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo talk on the sidelines in the fourth quarter of the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

“Honestly, the Rooney Rule – great thought behind it, poor implementation,” Mayo said. “From my perspective, I never wanted to get a job because I was Black. I wanted to get a job because I was confident, because I care about the guys. But what you do want is a fair shot; you want a fair shot at an interview process.”

Mayo remains disappointed in the lack of minority head coaches and execs across the league, but does have optimism for the future, due to other programs being implemented independent of the Rooney Rule.

“So I look at all this stuff for me right now, a young coach, a young Black coach, the opportunities I have right now, and I look for opportunities for growth,” Mayo said. “Now, I do see the frustration from these other coaches’ side. I do. I absolutely do. It is frustrating that 70 percent of the league is made up of Black players. Now when you look at the funnel – you look at the bottom of the funnel, I think that’s working.

“The bottom of the funnel – those are the minority coaching programs, where you bring in these minorities to coach for a little bit, and then they can either get a job or go back to their respective teams. We’ve kept a lot of those guys on their staff. You’ll see those guys continue to elevate here in New England.”

Mayo is ostensibly referring to the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, which allows young minority coaches to participate in NFL training camps with the possibility of being hired later. Patriots receivers/kick returners coach Troy Brown, defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington, and assistant offensive line coach Billy Yates all previously participated in the program.

Could they one day be assistant coaches under Patriots head coach … Jerod Mayo?

“That would be great, put my name out there, let Bill know,” Mayo said. Perhaps only half-joking? Listen above for the full interview with Zolak & Bertrand.

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A look at the Patriots' options to potentially replace Josh McDaniels

  • ATLANTA, GEORGIA – NOVEMBER 18: Josh McDaniels of the New England Patriots stands on the field prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 18, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    McDaniels has been the Patriots’ offensive coordinator for the last 10 and 14 of the last 17 seasons. Replacing him will be no small task. Who might the Patriots look to to lead the rebuilt offense and rookie quarterback Mac Jones into its second season if McDaniels is no longer in the building?

    The Patriots tend to favor not just in-house candidates, but those in some way connected to the organization. Of the eight candidates laid out here, seven have direct ties to the Patriots, and the eighth a common indirect link.

    Let’s get started with the in-house candidates…

    Nick Caley

    Excluding McDaniels and running backs coach Ivan Fears who has hinted at retirement, Caley is the longest tenured offensive assistant currently on the Patriots’ coaching staff. He joined the team as a general offensive assistant in 2015, then was promoted to his current role two years later.

  • Mick Lombardi

    Lombardi was a scouting assistant for the Patriots in 2011 and 2012, then moved on to coach elsewhere before returning as the assistant quarterbacks coach in 2019. He was promoted to wide receivers coach before the 2020 season. Both Caley and Lombardi were floated as potential McDaniels replacements by NFL Network’s Mike Giardi.

  • Troy Brown

    If the Patriots want to go with a former player, Brown would be the most logical choice. He played for the team from 1997-2007, and ranks third in franchise history in receptions and fifth in receiving yards. He got involved with the team unofficially in 2019, then was named running backs and kick returners coach in 2020. Brown was then moved to coaching his former position in 2021.

  • Bill O’Brien

    INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – JANUARY 10: Alabama Crimson Tide Offensive Coordinator Bill O’Brien looks on prior to a game against the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2022 CFP National Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    On to the external options. A number of people including ESPN’s Adam Schefter named O’Brien as a possible replacement for McDaniels shortly after the news of the Raiders requesting the interview with McDaniels. O’Brien was with the Patriots from 2007-2011, serving as the offensive coordinator the final year. He also has a prior relationship with Mac Jones – when O’Brien got to Alabama following the 2020 season, Jones taught him the Crimson Tide’s offense before leaving for the Patriots.

  • Chad O’Shea

    CLEVELAND, OHIO – OCTOBER 31: Cleveland Browns wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea smiles during warmups before a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 31, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

    O’Shea spent a decade with the Patriots as the team’s wide receivers coach, from 2009-2018. He left after the 2018 season, after being hired by Brian Flores as the offensive coordinator in Miami. He lasted just one year in that role, and has spent the last two seasons in his current role in Cleveland.

  • Joe Judge

    EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – JANUARY 09: Head Coach Joe Judge of the New York Giants leaves the field after being defeated by the Washington Football Team 22-7 at MetLife Stadium on January 09, 2022 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

    Joe Judge was most recently the head coach of the New York Giants, until getting let go last week. Before his time in New York, he was with the Patriots from 2012-2019 first as an assistant special teams coach, then special teams coordinator beginning in 2015.

    Given Judge’s special teams background, there was some speculation he could return to New England in that capacity. But, could an OC job be on the table as well. In his final year with the team, he doubled as both the STC and wide receivers coach. Is that exposure to the offensive side of the ball, plus two years as a head coach, enough to make him a viable candidate?

  • Zac Robinson

    Aug 18, 2021; Thousand Oaks, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams assistant quarterbacks coach Zac Robinson looks on during a joint practice against the Las Vegas Raiders. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Closing this list with two longshot candidates, beginning with Robinson. Although he never coached for the Patriots, he was drafted by the team in the seventh round in 2010 and spent a summer in Foxborough before being released at the end of training camp. He never appeared in a regular season game in his four year NFL career. Robinson got into coaching in 2019 as an assistant QB coach for the Rams, switching to wide receivers in 2020 before moving back to the quarterback room in 2021.

    Robinson is one of many former Patriots backup quarterbacks finding success in coaching (Kliff Kingsbury, Kevin O’Connell) and has been viewed as an under-the-radar candidate for an OC job around the league. Would he be a fit in New England? His offensive philosophy is a sizable departure from the Patriots’ current system, but if they’re looking to add modern concepts to the offense, that could be viewed as a positive.

  • Holmon Wiggins

    Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide wide receivers coach Holmon Wiggins against the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Let’s say the Patriots want to go to the Alabama pipeline, but for some reason Bill O’Brien doesn’t work out. In that case, Holmon Wiggins could be a name to know. He’s been working for Nick Saban for three years as the wide receivers coach, and had ‘Assistant Head Coach of the Offense’ added to his title in 2021. In New England, he’d be familiar with Mac Jones and could help develop whatever receivers the Patriots bring in.

    Realistically, Wiggins may be a year or two away from offensive coordinator contention. However, if the Patriots were to promote Lombardi or Brown, or if Bill O’Brien does come from Alabama, he’d be an intriguing candidate to join the staff in a positional coaching role.

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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at