New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

Jan 4, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on the field before their playoff game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Among the questions that come with the New England Patriots hiring Jerod Mayo to be their next head coach, few if any are bigger than what his offensive approach will be. A former linebacker and linebackers coach, Mayo has never worked on the offensive side of the ball so it’s impossible to say from the outside looking in whether he’ll continue the Patriots’ current offensive system, or take that side of the ball in another direction.

That question extends to personnel. Mayo will need to build out his coaching staff, and will have the option to retain current offensive coaches or replace them.


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The first and most well-known coach Mayo will have to make a decision about in that regard is offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. O’Brien was hired by the Patriots at this time last year to try to turn around an offense that became stagnant in the Matt Patricia era, but O’Brien’s unit ended up ranking 31st in the NFL averaging 13.9 points per game.

O’Brien had a prior relationship with Bill Belichick prior to last year’s hiring – he worked for the Patriots previously from 2007-2011 holding the OC title that final year. However, it sounds like Mayo could target a different former Patriots’ offensive coordinator for that job.

On Saturday afternoon NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo was discussing Mayo building out his staff. He both added context to O’Brien’s situation, as well as giving a candidate to take over if O’Brien doesn’t remain with the team.

“Bill O’Brien is currently under contract, but if he and the Patriots go their separate ways expect a familiar face – Josh McDaniels – to be at the top of the list for Jerod Mayo’s next offensive coordinator,” Garafolo said.

  • McDaniels has had multiple extensive stints as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator in the past. The first was from 2006-2008 (he joined the organization in 2001), and then again from 2012-2021.

    In his last year in New England the team had the sixth-ranked offense in the NFL, scoring 27.2 points per game during quarterback Mac Jones’ rookie season. That performance led to him getting hired as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, a job he held for a year and a half before being fired this past fall.

    There are some clear potential upsides to hiring McDaniels as Mayo’s OC. He’s proven to be capable at developing quarterbacks, something the Patriots will need next year whether it be for Jones, Bailey Zappe, or – most likely – a draft pick. He’d also provide a veteran coaching presence and significant offensive experience to the staff led by a first-time, defensive head coach.

    For McDaniels, there could be some draw as well. He could return to both an organization and area he knows and he and his family are familiar with.

    The question is, will McDaniels have any other interest around the league? Specifically, from another familiar face. Wherever Belichick ends up, he’ll need an offensive coordinator. It stands to reason he’d target the man who did that job for him longer than any other, and was in that position for his three most recent Super Bowl wins. Could we see a situation where Belichick and the Patriots end up bidding against each other for McDaniels’ services?

    That, of course, is all contingent on Mayo and the Patriots moving on from O’Brien. How that plays out will be one of the biggest stories to watch in the coming week.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

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