Patriots owner Robert Kraft, left, and new head coach Jerod Mayo, right, speak with reporters Wednesday during a news conference, in Foxborough, Mass. Mayo succeeds Bill Belichick as the franchise’s 15th head coach. Steven Senne/Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Minutes before Jerod Mayo was announced as the 15th head coach in team history, Patriots employees began to fill into the G-P Atrium at Gillette Stadium.

The team’s front office was well represented, as was the scouting staff. Two coaches, DeMarcus Covington (defensive line) and Keith Jones (defensive assistant) were also present. It wasn’t long before a handful of players trickled in with linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, cornerback Jonathan Jones, edge rusher Josh Uche and long snapper Joe Cardona.

Also watching was quarterback Mac Jones.

The lone member of the Patriots’ offense in attendance, Jones’ situation – and the current state of the team’s offense – represents a major storyline for Mayo. The first-year head coach wants to get the Patriots back on track and that means fixing his offense.

In Mayo’s first week as the new Patriots head coach, he’ll have to decide if he’s going to hire a new offensive coordinator and what kind of offensive system his team will run.

“Everything is still under consideration,” Mayo said when asked if he’d search for a new offensive playcaller. “Obviously, the staff that I’ve been working with isn’t the staff that I have chosen, but everything is under evaluation.”

Advertisement

Hiring an offensive coordinator will be one of Mayo’s top priorities. He could retain Bill O’Brien, whose experience as a head coach would make for a nice sounding board. Mayo could look to someone like Josh McDaniels, who had Jones and the Patriots’ offense looking above average in 2021.

Of course, Mayo could switch gears. The head coach is expected to make several changes to his staff this offseason. Although the team’s defensive system is expected to stay relatively the same, Mayo could choose a new offensive scheme to run. In the event he wants to run a system closer to the ones in San Francisco under Kyle Shanahan or with the Rams under Sean McVay, Mayo could bring in a new offensive coordinator with experience in those systems.

On Wednesday, Mayo said he wanted to bring in coaches who were relatable to players and focused on developing players.

“One thing I would say with all of my coaches, the number one thing is developing people, and with this generation – back when I first started playing, most of the time Coach would say something and guys would do it,” Mayo said. “I think with this generation, you have to show them that you care about them before you get into competency as far as Xs and Os are concerned.”

Mayo’s staff will also have to figure out the Patriots quarterback position. In 2021, Jones had one of the best seasons for a rookie quarterback in NFL history. The quarterback went backward under Matt Patricia in 2022 and again this past season. With Bill Belichick gone, Jones could stay in New England and get a chance to start anew.

Mayo will have to decide how to fix his quarterback position and whether the team targets veteran free agents or a rookie in the draft this offseason. On top of that, the Patriots also have needs at receiver, tight end and tackle.

Advertisement

When asked about his vision for getting the team’s offense back on track, Mayo said it starts with energy, passion and leaders on that side of the ball.

“I think you have to get that stuff in place,” Mayo said. “… One thing we don’t want to do is have people who are complainers or finger-pointing or things like that. The best teams I’ve really been a part of have been teams that – whether I’m talking about high school, college, or the NFL, teams that are not led by the players, but things are enforced by the players.

“… Once again, I think we have a good foundation. We have a good foundation, and my thing here over the next few weeks is to rebuild some relationships, knock down silos and collaborate. That’s what I’m focused on.”

As Mayo talked about rebuilding relationships, it felt noteworthy with Jones looking on.

OWNER ROBERT Kraft said their front office structure is a work in progress, but acknowledged the team will eventually conduct interviews to determine who will lead their football operations following the departure of Belichick, who was the de facto general manager.

The organization has many critical roster-building decisions to make, including the No. 3 overall pick in April’s  draft, their highest selection in Kraft’s 30 years as owner.

“Well, this is a day we want to celebrate Jerod taking this position,” Kraft said when asked who will have final say on roster decisions.

“What we know, we have a lot of people internally who have had a chance to train and learn under the greatest coach of all time and a man who is a football intellect who’s very special. So, in the short term, we’re looking for collaboration. Our team has a tremendous opportunity to position itself right given our salary cap space and we’ve never drafted, in my 30 years of ownership, we’ve never been drafting as low as we’re drafting.”

When asked if the Patriots intend to hire a general manager, Kraft reiterated there will be a process of evaluating who they have internally and looking for outside voices if needed.

Comments are no longer available on this story