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Jerod Mayo: New Patriots regime isn't taking shots at Bill Belichick

Sports Final: Jerod Mayo's staff is introduced and what the Patriots will be looking for at NFL Comb
Sports Final: Jerod Mayo's staff is introduced and what the Patriots will be looking for at NFL Comb 06:54

BOSTON -- It's a new era in Foxboro. That has been made abundantly clear over the last six weeks, with Jerod Mayo taking over for Bill Belichick as head coach, and with Eliot Wolf taking over as the leader of the front office.

Both Mayo and Wolf -- as well as numerous members of the coaching staff and front office -- knew Belichick's system and process well, and they all benefited from it in various ways over the years. Yet whenever speaking publicly about the direction of the franchise for the present and future, the leaders have spoken of new approaches and philosophies that have not been applied in New England for a very long time.

More bluntly, as Wolf said Tuesday, they're going for "less of a hard-ass vibe."

Understandably, some observers have taken such comments as direct criticisms being lobbed against Belichick. And while the ending for Belichick was not good (29-38 over the past four years, several first-round busts, no playoff wins for five years), we know that the greatest run in NFL history preceded it. As such, some comments could have been interpreted as a repudiation of Belichick's method of operating.

On Wednesday morning, while again stressing the team's new direction, Mayo made sure to make it clear that he isn't taking swipes at his former boss.

"It's going to be different, but at the same time, I would say Bill did a great job for a long period of time. I don't want you guys to take this as, because we're changing, that's shots towards the previous regime," Mayo said, per MassLive's Chris Mason. "In saying that, we will do it differently and it'll feel different. But at the end of the day, we would like to replicate the success that the prior regime has had. So I learned a lot from Bill and also his staff, but now we'll see what this chapter looks like."

Mayo also said this: "Look, honestly, the way I think about this stuff, it's been done at a high level for what, 20 years? I would also say there's more than one way to skin a cat. It worked for a coach. We'll see what works with Eliot and myself."

Looking back at some members of the Belichick coaching tree who didn't pan out as head coaches -- Josh McDaniels, Eric Mangini, Joe Judge, Matt Patricia, to name some -- one of their biggest problems was seemingly their misguided efforts to emulate Belichick. Belichick was uniquely Belichick for his Hall of Fame career, and though some tried to copy his management and coaching style, he was truly inimitable. Trying to imitate him worked out poorly.

In that sense, Mayo is wise to try to be his own person and run the team his own way. As he admitted, he knows that Belichick's way worked, and he's not making promises about his way working. But he has a vision of how he wants his first head coaching stint to go, and he knows that emulating Belichick surely won't help him succeed.

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