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Transcript: Head Coach Jerod Mayo Press Conference 6/4

Read the full transcript from Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo's press conference on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

HEAD COACH JEROD MAYO

PRESS CONFERENCE
June 4, 2024

JM: Hello friends, family. I'm excited to be back out here, excited to have some good weather as well. I could do without the pollen, but I hear Thursday is going to rain, so if I sound a little nasally, it's the pollen. Fire away.

JM: No questions? Perfect!

Q: We've been asking you a lot about Drake [Maye] in the time you've been here, just because there's so much interest in his progression. As you stack the days together, what have you observed from his progression?

JM: He's doing well. He's headed in the right direction. A lot of times people think it's this longitudinal, just straight line up to the top, and realistically, it's up and down, up and down, up and down. But hopefully, you end up still – from left to right – going in the right direction. So, he's doing well. You guys, I'm sure, will evaluate him today at practice.

Q: What, if anything, has impressed you about Joe Milton?

JM: I think the easy thing to say is his cannon of an arm. But just his energy. He has a natural leadership skill as well. He's been great for the run.

Q: Jerod, at left tackle, you've got Chuks [Chukwuma Okorafor] and you've got Caedan [Wallace], kind of both in a similar transition from one side to the other. How much do you see them working with each other, and are they kind of on a similar track right now?

JM: Yeah, they're on a similar track. Those guys are out there competing, and I would say the one where we look at those guys is versatility. Obviously, we look at Big Mike [Mike Onwenu], saying he has the right side locked down, but these guys are all competing. They're able to slide to different spots. They're working out of a sense of abundance where those guys are working together, trying to get better. Once training camp gets here, we'll see what happens.

Q: Do you feel good about those two at left tackle, or do you kind of maybe want to keep your eye on anyone else?

JM: I mean, I think, look, we're always trying to bring in good players. Those guys are doing well. We'll see what happens as the roster continues to play out. Realistically, we're still early in the process, and training camp will reveal a lot.

Q: With Drake, I'm sure you don't want to throw everything in the book at him right now. Is there a certain thing you want him to take away from this spring? Maybe if there's one big thing you want him to learn, sort of, in OTAs?

JM: I think the biggest thing – and this has been the goal not only for Drake, but for everyone – is to learn, have a basic understanding of the fundamentals and the X's and O's, build camaraderie and get out of here healthy. That's the goal for the spring.

Q: Jerod, how would you describe how Alex [Van Pelt], Ben [McAdoo], and T.C. [McCartney] deal with the quarterbacks? Is there a pecking order? Is there someone who has more of a heavier hand?

JM: It's 100% AVP [Alex Van Pelt], and this is common around the league with offensive coordinators. Usually, offensive coordinators coach the starting quarterback. With that being said, AVP and those guys are doing a good job of making sure the message is the same. But when it's all said and done, AVP, that's the heavier hand, to use your words.

Q: I want to go back to what you said about Mike Onwenu on that right side. You said everyone sees him as having it locked down, but that's not necessarily true. Are you talking more in terms of the competition for that spot, or in terms of him possibly moving to the left side?

JM: Yeah, just more of the competition. One thing about Big Mike, remember he came in here as a guard. So, being able to play guard and tackle is definitely something that gets you paid, and Mike got paid. But it's more about his versatility.

Q: Is there any interest in playing with the left side, or is he primarily staying on the right side?

JM: To be transparent, not right now, no.

Q: With Joe Milton, obviously you don't have to work on arm strength. What do you hope he gets out of the spring? What are you specifically working with him on?

JM: The number one trait with any quarterback, in my eyes – this is, I guess, a philosophical thing – it's just decision-making. It's nice to have a big arm, but if you can't make the right decision, I mean, you'll be throwing cannonballs to the other side, to the other team. Accuracy, competitiveness, all that stuff is definitely important.

Q: Coach, we've noticed that the veterans have kind of been, it seems like, at the top of the depth chart in these practices. Is that more about making sure the young guys kind of earn their spot, or is it more about making sure practices run smoothly?

JM: I think it's a combination of the two. I will say this, there are no starters. I mean, it's easy for us right now with no pads on to say, "Well, this guy probably can do X, Y and Z based on what he's done in the past." We're trying to move forward from the past. It's not a, "What have you done for me? What have you done in the past?" It's, "What have you done for me lately?" and that's why we're trying to continue to build that competitive nature amongst the team. But, there are no depth charts. Seriously, if you look out here today, you'll see people that we consider starters rolling with a different group. So, I wouldn't look too much into that.

Q: How happy are you, Jerod, with how efficient are you guys on the field here? New staff, just in terms of not a lot of wasted time, making sure you're checking off what you need to check off.

JM: It's been great, not only out here as far as from a scheduling purpose, but even inside. So, when we're in the classrooms, everything's been running pretty smoothly. Once again, though, we're 0-0. Everyone's still trying to find their way. This isn't the last iteration of our team this year.

Q: Hey, Jerod, along those lines, with the size of the staff, how are you finding the process of making sure your resources and the coaching staff are allocated so that everybody's involved and playing a role out here?

JM: Yeah, I've had one-on-one conversations with all of our staff members just to make sure that we're on the same page not only this year, but also from a developmental standpoint of where they want to go. Look, we have staff meetings each and every day, and once again, we're continuing to gel every day. Hopefully, by the time we get to the season, we're ready to rock.

Q: Jerod, I understand that obviously, it's all OTAs –

JM: Sorry, one more thing, and I will say this – no, because, you know, stream of thought – I will say this. There comes a point in time where you have to lean on the experts, and I'm not standing up here like I have all the answers because I don't, whether it's from a head coaching standpoint, a defensive standpoint or an offensive standpoint. So, I'm leaning on those guys to really – they're teaching me at the same time on the offensive side of the ball. So, I think it's important that those guys get those reps.

Q: I just want to ask, what's something you've learned about your offense through the OTA process that you couldn't have known until you saw all the players and coaches on the field?

JM: I would say just the overall intelligence. Look, we have a very competent staff, I would say, on all sides of the ball. But what I will say is the early-down stuff has looked pretty good. And once again, there's only probably three trees to fall off of as far as early-down stuff. Now, today you'll see us working in the red area and third down; that's when you can really see the creativity of offensive coordinators.

Q: We saw Steve Belichick come out here at the last open OTA. What was it like to have him back?

JM: It was great, it was great. You know, Steve and I, we've been through a lot. We're great friends. I'm happy for him; he came out here, and he was happy for me as well. So, there's no problem there. He's like a brother.

Q: How much have you leaned on – you talked about leaning on the experts. How much have you leaned on McAdoo when it comes to some of the head coaching stuff that you're still getting used to?

JM: Yeah, McAdoo's been a great resource. [Matthew] Slater's been a great resource. Evan's [Rothstein] been a great resource. All those guys that have been in the different programs, it's been great to use those guys as sounding boards. And, really, look, I only know one way. I played my entire career here. It's good to hear some of those outside perspectives, whether we're talking about out here on the field, scheduling, all those things, and then AVP and the rest of the coordinators as well having that input.

Q: What is Slater doing with you guys exactly?

JM: Everything. Everything. Like, seriously, he's a catch-all. Remember, we came in together. We're like brothers. He played a lot longer than me, and I've said this before: who knew Slate [Matthew Slater] should be a gold jacket guy? Who knew at that time? We think very much alike. What I will say is at this level, it's hard to find people that tell you the truth, and he's one of those guys that, he'll let me know what it really is.

Q: At the practices we've been at, we haven't seen a ton of Jon [Jonathan] Jones. Where's he at health-wise?

JM: J-Jones [Jonathan Jones], look, J-Jones, he's doing well. He's back and forth. You've got to remember this is voluntary. One thing about J-Jones, he's an ultimate professional. I'm not really worried about him.

Q: What have you seen from some of the younger cornerbacks like Alex Austin, Isaiah Bolden, those guys? It seems like there's a cornerback spot open.

JM: Yeah, absolutely, and those guys are out here competing every day. One thing I will say, this is a non-contact camp, so we really can't get a full eval, but those guys are – every rep that they get, they're putting quality reps out there.

Q: Alex Austin is one. What have you seen from him in that jump from last year to now, having spent more time with the team since he came in halfway through the season?

JM: Yeah, when we finished up last year, he was one of those guys where we're like, "Look, this is an NFL player," and it's good to see him coming back in shape, going out here and making plays. So, it's good to see.

Q: Jerod, I know this falls under the umbrella of being a game-plan team, but Christian Barmore mentioned a couple weeks ago that he might work some more four-down in with this defense. Do you see any advantage to doing that based on the personnel you have? Do you have any thoughts about that?

JM: Yeah, it's game plan, but it is based on personnel. Whether it's three-down or four-down, it really doesn't matter. We're using this time. Look, defensively, we're going to be ahead because we've returned a lot of players, and that was one of the goals coming into the season. So those guys are – we're going to work on some different things now in the spring and also in camp. But, going back to your point, I mean, every game is different.

Q: Jerod, we're looking forward to having Dont'a Hightower on the staff. What have you seen from him so far, and has he met your expectations?

JM: I mean, honestly, with High [Dont'a Hightower], it's been the same. When he came in as a player, he was a sponge. He wanted to learn as much [as he could] before he really took that step. He's doing the same now. Whether he's learning from me or learning from D-Cov [DeMarcus Covington] or any of those coaches, he's kind of absorbing it. At the same time, I think he has a high ceiling as well, as a coach. And he already has the credibility as a player. Now, it's time to really dive into the X's and O's.

Q: Jerod, I saw you talking to Sea Bass [Sebastian Vollmer] on the video. You were talking about being a CEO. I'm just curious, why did you go that route versus seeing other guys call plays themselves or something like that on the sideline?

JM: Yeah, I mean, look, some of the offensive head coaches, they like to call plays. I also kind of see that as a way of protecting their job. For me, I'd rather be the Air Force top-down, full strategy than to call plays defensively. If it gets to that point, which I don't foresee, then I feel comfortable enough being able to do that.

Q: Jerod, how much of your playbooks in offense and defense have you installed? Are you leaving new stuff for minicamp? What's that process in the stats like?

JM: Yeah, so really no game planning. There's no game-planning stuff right now. It's really just about the staples. The fundamentals, the staples, just normal coverages, normal offensive plays, and we'll get into the more complicated stuff later. Thanks, guys.

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