Curran: What Judge’s ‘assistant head coach’ title means for Mayo originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
News from Albert Breer that Joe Judge was going from quarterbacks coach in 2022 to assistant head coach/personnel man/special teams advisor in 2023 was an eyebrow-lifter. Kind of seems like falling up, especially considering the state of the 2022 Patriots offense and the regression of second-year quarterback Mac Jones under the guidance of Judge and offensive coordinator Matt Patricia.
The seeming promotion also raises the question of why Judge would gain an assistant head coach title while no promotion was announced for linebackers coach Jerod Mayo. The team released a statement January 12 announcing it would begin interviewing offensive coordinator candidates (they’ve since hired Bill O’Brien) and was working to extend the expiring contract for Mayo.
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There’s been no official update to Mayo’s situation since the statement. But he rebuffed defensive coordinator and head coach interviews in Cleveland and Carolina and has agreed to a new deal. A title change, however, may not be in the offing. Ironically, it may be because Mayo subscribes to something head coach Bill Belichick’s espoused. That titles are superfluous.
Suffice to say, if Mayo – who’s made no secret of his aspirations to be a head coach – wasn’t comfortable with his role and immediate future within the organization, he wouldn’t be staying on. Does that mean he’s the heir apparent? It’s impossible to say with certainty, given that things are always fluid when you’re discussing the future. Would he be a pretty good bet to be the successor when Belichick steps aside? As the magic 8-ball would say, signs point to “yes.” Maybe for Judge a title reflective that he’s still involved in the coaching end of things minimizes the sting of being moved away from the offense and into a personnel and special teams support role. In his case, perhaps the title makes a difference.
Given how opaque Belichick’s been about bestowing titles on assistants over his tenure here, official word on what it all means from the head coach’s mouth is unlikely. But the upshot is, if Mayo wasn’t happy with the plan going forward, he wouldn’t still be here. And a title doesn’t change that.