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Patriots’ Jerod Mayo excited about ‘unknown’ of coaching young linebackers


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“I think we have some guys in the Pats Nation that they probably haven’t even heard of.”

Jerod Mayo in a Patriots-Dolphins game in 2022. AP Photo/Doug Murray

After the Patriots’ 2021 season ended and attention turned to the team’s priorities in the offseason, inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo acknowledged that increasing the speed of the defense was an objective.

“We’re going to be looking to get faster, more explosive and get more playmakers on the pitch,” Mayo told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Zolak & Bertrand” in a February interview. “You always want to go faster, especially in today’s game. It’s in all places.

With the draft now over and most major free agents signed, some Patriots fans might be wondering about the Patriots linebacker squad. Bill Belichick opted out of drafting a linebacker with one of the team’s picks.

Looking at New England’s current options in the positional squad, Mayo remains optimistic, as he noted during a recent interview on the ‘Pats from the Past’ podcast.

“I think this year, thinking about the guys we have in the room, we have guys who can rush and cover,” Mayo explained. “And so, I think we have some Pats Nation guys, who they probably haven’t even heard of.”

With 2021 New England linebackers Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower and Kyle Van Noy – who are each over 30 – all still unsigned as free agents, Mayo offered a potential clue as to what could be the Patriots approach.

“That’s the exciting part: the unknown,” Mayo said when asked about the possibility of young players emerging in 2022. “And we’re going to go there as a unit, we’re going to go there And, I would say, even right now not having some of these older guys in the room is good for the younger guys because the older guys would be bored to death with some of the stuff that we’re talking about.

“At the same time, it forces young people to really take that step forward,” Mayo added, “and really grow and develop without being hindered by another guy’s experience.”

With 2021 draft picks Cameron McGrone and Ronnie Perkins — neither of whom played in their rookie seasons — set to potentially have more impact, Mayo could hint at team strategy. Anfernee Jennings, Raekwon McMillan, Josh Uche and Mack Wilson are all players who could also play a bigger role in the coming season.



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