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Albert Breer: Would not be surprised if Jerod Mayo is NFL head coach in 2023

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Thanks to their defense, the New England Patriots find themselves in the mix for a playoff spot through the first 11 weeks of the 2022 NFL season. A big reason for the unit’s success is inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo.

Mayo, a two-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Patriots from 2008-15, joined New England’s coaching staff in 2019. While he hasn’t earned the official title of defensive coordinator, he plays a significant role in running things on that side of the ball.

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Mayo’s reputation as a leader during his playing career, combined with his coaching success, made him a strong head-coaching candidate in 2021. He interviewed with the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders last offseason, and the Philadelphia Eagles the year before. Chances are he’ll likely have more interviews lined up after the 2022 campaign.

Before Thursday’s Patriots-Vikings matchup, The MMQB’s Albert Breer discussed the odds of Mayo or Pats outside linebackers coach Steve Belichick landing a head-coaching gig for 2023.

“I’d be stunned if Steve Belichick was a head coach in 2023. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Jerod Mayo is,” Breer said. “I think there are two ways you can look at this. One thing that’s working for Mayo and the other thing that’s working against Mayo.

“What’s working for Mayo right now is the success of other former players. We’re going to see it tonight with Kevin O’Connell in Minnesota. We’ve seen it with Mike Vrabel in Tennessee. If Jeff Saturday continues to acquit himself well in Indianapolis, I think that helps as well. So I think the success of prominent ex-players helps Jerod Mayo.

“What’s working against him is there’s this huge backlog of defensive coaches. And say we have seven, eight, nine openings. It’s hard to see five or six of those going to defensive coaches. How many of those guys are gonna get hired? It’s not that those guys aren’t worthy, it’s just that the trends have been to offensive coaches getting these jobs, and that works against defensive coaches getting these jobs. That’s a huge reason why we have this backlog in the first place, is because you only see two or three of these guys getting plucked a year even if the evidence shows us that offensive assistants aren’t that much more successful when they get those jobs than defensive assistants are.”

Even if Mayo doesn’t land a head-coaching job next season, his future as a coach is undoubtedly bright. And the longer he gets to stay in New England, the longer he’ll get to learn from arguably the greatest head coach in NFL history.