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Jerod Mayo explains philosophy on building larger coaching staff

Mayo shares what made Van Pelt stand out in Pats' offensive coordinator search
Mayo shares what made Van Pelt stand out in Pats' offensive coordinator search 00:35

BOSTON -- Surely, Jerod Mayo won't always be compared with his predecessor in everything he does. Yet with the ousting of Bill Belichick still just six weeks in the past, the comparisons won't be going away any time soon.

And one major difference that Mayo has established in his month-plus on the job as head coach of the Patriots has been the building of a much larger coaching staff. Belichick preferred having one of the smallest coaching staffs in the NFL, while Mayo and the Patriots' front office has spent most of his time as head coach interviewing and hiring assistants.

On Wednesday, when introducing the team's new coordinators, Mayo was asked what led to the high number of hires on the coaching staff thus far.

"One thing we wanted to make sure of was that we weren't duplicating roles. For us, we were thinking about 'what value does this role bring to the team?'" Mayo answered. "Historically, we've always had small staffs. It's hard to get things done that way in today's NFL. We weren't really thinking about the size. We were just thinking about, 'How can we make this staff as good as it can be?'"

Mayo and the Patriots have already hired 17 coaches from outside the organization, including offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, special teams coordinator Jeremy Springer and senior offensive assistant Ben McAdoo. The team also hired Dont'a Hightower, the three-time Super Bowl champion who will be coaching for the first time.

Mayo, whose playing career overlapped with Hightower's by four years, said that the hiring of Hightower has been in the works for some time.

"Hightower, he was my little brother when he got here and one of the smartest players that I've been around. We've been talking about this for a while. I'll be honest with you. We've been talking about it for a while," Mayo said. "Hightower has always really wanted to coach. He was a coach on the field. Obviously, he took the torch and ran with it. As far as the championships and the leadership skills that he has, it was very important, but it wasn't like a yesterday, 'Hey man, you want to be my linebacker coach?' This was an extensive search."

Having made the transition from player to coach in Foxboro himself, Mayo suggested that Hightower follow the same path to become the best coach he can be.

"Just to be a sponge, the same way he was when he came in as a player. Just try to learn from as many people as possible," Mayo said of his advice for Hightower. "When I got here, I could talk about my journey. You have a guy like DeMarcus Covington, who really started off on offense, moved over to defense, quality control, then all of a sudden, he's coaching the linebackers without the linebacker tag. He's going to the front, but he had an extensive knowledge of different position groups. Also, I would say [Covington] really helped me with the behind-the-scenes stuff – the drawing of the cards and setting up practice and things like that. Steve [Belichick] helped me as well, but I spent a lot of time with DC and am confident in what he's taught me. So, with Hightower, he should do the same thing."

Mayo also explained why having McAdoo on staff will be helpful for a first-year head coach.

"It was very important for me to have someone that I could bounce questions off of that has actually sat in that seat," Mayo said of McAdoo, who was head coach of the Giants in 2016 and 2017. "It's been great."

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